Friday, April 2, 2010

Cliches threaten to implode Collective Hardware

There are likely some cool things going on at the Collective Hardware at 169 Bowery, though you wouldn't know it by reading today's Post, who reduces the whole place to painful cliches.

The piece begins:

The Bowery has played host to CBGB, homeless bums and, more recently, upscale museums, hotels and bars. But now there’s an underground art scene straight out of the debauched ’60s era of Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Collective Hardware, housed in a rundown building between Broome and Delancey streets that used to be Weiss Hardware, has nothing to do with wrenches. Instead, it’s a five-floor party-studio-gallery-music space filled with a never-ending parade of pretty people, downtown artists and hangers-on.

Oh, just read the whole thing:

Last Thursday, at a launch party for the nonprofit Fund Art Now, jazz floated through the first-floor gallery from a rented Steinway. On the second floor, members of the cool set were lounging, either getting a trim from the Astor Place haircutters while sipping a no-brand cocktail from a makeshift bar or participating in a séance — there’s an oversized hand-painted Ouija board on the floor.

“I can give an unknown artist an opportunity to show in a place that consistently attracts tastemakers and patrons of the arts,” says Stuart Braunstein, a self-proclaimed “urban instigator” and deejay who launched the space with his business partner, Rony Rivellini, in 2007. The buzz about their venture has grown ever since.

“Where else can you meet MIT think-tank guys, Astor Place haircutters, beautiful models/actors and high-profile gallerists?”

Warhol’s Factory, the art studio where the pop artist made silk-screens from 1962 to 1968, drew all sorts of artists, actors and celebrities (from Dylan to Factory-made “Superstars” such as Edie Sedgwick), who made music and movies among the druggy scene.

Braunstein never met Warhol but was inspired to create a similar environment by Factory alumnus, artist and friend Ronny Cutrone.

The building’s top three floors (which house offices, artist studios and plenty of hard-partying scenesters) are off-limits unless you’re invited. Now Braunstein has a newly minted liquor license, and says he’s negotiating to open a rooftop restaurant.

Andy Warhol, welcome to 2010.

Perhaps things have changed... But, as Eater reported, the CB3 approved a full liquor license in December for Andy Yang, who is opening a Rhong Tiam on the second floor. (This news is on the Collective Hardware Web site.)
Nation’s Restaurant News, who first reported on Yang's arrival to 169 Bowery last November, also mentions that a rooftop bar is in the works.

The Post also gave Braunstein a new hairdoo...

...and the real Stuart...

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York has the history of 169 Bowery here.

[Braunstein image via; 169 image via.]


Launch Stalker said...

Worst ... writing ... ever. The Post's, not yours, obvs. NY Post just took a big metaphorical crap all over whatever kind of cool factor that place had going for it.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame The Warhol Factory is the only reference point for a place with artists. Frankly, I feel Collective Hardware has nothing to do with "The Factory", but I'll take the compliment.
The building is starting to become a living organism, come by again soon.
Stuart Braunstein

christopher said...

On Collective Hardware closing.
Of course there were also other adventures too- the supposed opening of 4 star cafes but how could you begin to do that when the beauty salon you had created sat empty 6 days out of seven? Never mind the broken windows on the third floor which 5 months after the fire were still never tended to?
What ever happened to clever marketing and making proper use of your resources? What ever happened to the money you made subletting the first and second floors out as a party venues? Whatever happened to the initial investors who originally supported you? Why weren’t they now coming through? Why aren’t they coming through now?

Anonymous said...

Blaming everyone else for the consequences of their shortcuts and shoddy work...They used and abused creative people and then discarded them. There is justice in their being tossed out.