Stephen and George Laundry Line
Address: (private residence) in a backyard in Queens, NY
Contact: Jessica Langley
Open Hours: by appointment only
How is the project operated?
How long has it been in existence?
Since May 2015.
What was your motivation?
I believe that as a member of an art community, I should be generous to other artists. I wanted to start something using whatever means I had, which isn’t a lot. But, I have been thinking of the laundry line as a place which is both private and public, and how it is a shared viewing space for all of my neighbors. The backyards in this neighborhood are all treated so differently, depending on whatever arbitrary rules the landlords have given or if the tenants are the owners, etc. Most larger apartment building do not allow tenants to use the backyards and likely these places are neglected. But there are some that are very active spaces. For example, from my window I can see a batting cage and a very well manicured garden.
The laundry-line-turned-exhibition space was born out of the idea that this space could be a site to share with my neighbors what interests me, and to not ignore the fact that we share this space. I wanted to curate a space that could activate this site.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
1, but I get a lot of help and support from my partner, Ben Kinsley.
How are programs funded?
Self-funded, low/no budget.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Average duration: 4 weeks
Number per year: 9-10
What kind of events are usually organized?
I usually host private receptions that are a combined group of friends of the artist and people I think/hope would be interested in seeing it. Out of respect for my neighbors, I don’t host huge parties and I don’t open the doors to the public. But, anyone can contact me to make an appointment!
How is your programming determined?
I talk to other artists and curators to get ideas for artists and artwork that would lend itself to this format, although I am also interested in selecting certain artists who I think would take into account the circumstances, or artists who work site-specifically.
I have to give my parameters when I approach an artist. These are: that it must fit on the line and not impede on my neighbor below me, must stay out rain or shine, and cannot be heavier than a wet load of laundry.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
This setting lends itself to textile based work, which I love, but I am interested in working with artists who can find ways to break out of an assumed format, artists who are interested in working in this context, and artists who are willing to treat their work as non-precious objects.
What’s working? What’s not working?
I have been getting a lot of positive feedback, so something must be working! I think the casualness of the project is its strength. In NYC, where everything is so expensive and artwork is such a commodity, I think its important to remember that good art can happen in a lot of forms, and it can happen in spaces that aren’t expected. I’m glad that I’ve made this primarily available to people who are not the traditional art audience, too. I like that my main IRL audience are people who may not know that this is a thing called “art.” But, I also realize that most of the people who see this are seeing it through social media. This is fun, too because its another way to share.
What’s not working?
While the privacy of the receptions may give an air of exclusivity or mystery, it is really not meant that way. It is truly about being respectful of my neighbors. Also, I have a tree which is asserting itself into my laundry line. We have attempted to hack at the branches, but this is futile.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
In hyper-local terms I want to create beautiful and creative moments for my neighbors that are non verbal (so many different languages are being spoken around here!). In my local art community, I’d like to create an opportunity for people to try out ideas and make new friends.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
I’m excited about a piece with sound! Also, I am looking forward to some international artists!
Images courtesy of Stephen and George Laundry Line.
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