Showing posts with label Bullet Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullet Space. Show all posts

Friday, November 18, 2022

About 'Bomb Pop 2,' an 'ongoing conversation' at Bullet Space

Photos and text by Daniel Efram 

Bullet Space is currently showing "Bomb Pop 2," a group exhibition featuring Fly Orr, Mac McGill, Andrew Chan, John Farris, Michael A. Gonzales, Andrew Wilhelm and Maggie Wrigley (above), who's serving as the curator. 

The original "Bomb Pop" took place in 2012, and this 2022 edition is dedicated to honoring the late poet and illustrator John Farris

This is a group of NY artists with roots in the Lower East Side squatter community. The gallery itself is a former squatted space. "Bomb Pop 2," revisited on the 10th anniversary of the original show, continues the ongoing conversation between these artists and their work that started a decade ago.
"Michael Gonzales and I curated the first show. We have been collaborating for years — my photos and his words," Wrigley said. "These are fragments of a story that he wrote. It's an afro-futurist dystopian story inspired by Sun Ra, and my photos are fragments of the past East Village, which was pretty dystopian, too, so it's a kind of time-travel connection. Being movie buffs, we call it 'Prevues of Coming Attractions.'"

Regarding Wrigley's photography, Gonzales stated, "She captures the various beauties of the city: the ugly beauty, the concrete beauty, the sad beauty and joyful beauty. As a writer of noir short fiction, I'm attracted to that dark/light sensibility in her images."
Fly Orr, a teacher at the Lower East Side Girls Club, is perhaps better known for her squatter zines and "PEOPs, Portrait & Stories" project. For this show, she installed stencils, using a language of symbols as a different way to communicate her love of the community. (See above.)

Mac McGill is a native New Yorker and former squatter, now a tenant owner of his former squat.
"He makes incredibly detailed and moving pen and ink drawings," Wrigley said. "His work has addressed housing and environmental issues of the neighborhood for decades."
Sculpture artist Andrew Wilhelm has been helping to nourish next-generation artists through his work with Pratt and Cooper Union. The flowing, smooth lines of his pieces in the gallery's garden [seen behind Wrigley in the above photo] feel like his sculptures are an extension of nature. His work in the gallery employs a Renaissance-era technique to make plaster simulate stone but with wild colors instead.
Australian artist Andrew Chan makes playfully critical paintings of the United States, his adopted country. Seen above in the portrait titled "The Collector," Chan connects the darkness of consumerism and corporations with the playful idea of assembling them all in a shopping cart headed down the block, conceivably a reference to our own presence in late-stage capitalism.
John Farris lived in Bullet Space for the last 25 years of his life. 

"One of the proudest things we’ve done as a collective was giving this poet a place to live," Wrigley said. 

The back room is dedicated to Farris, who died in 2016. 

 "When John had trouble writing, he started drawing. And he drew and drew and drew. He had piles of work in his apartment. He did a lot of self-portraits and people he met on the street," Wrigley said. "He also made these incredibly soulful head sculptures [above] made out of shopping bags and masking tape." 

East Villagers should make their way to Bullet Space at 292 E. Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D for this inspired group show that speaks to the past and harkens to the future. The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. (Viewings are available by appointment by emailing Wrigley at: The space will not be open on Thanksgiving weekend.

The show's closing party is Sunday, Dec. 18, from 6-8 p.m., and includes performances by Lorraine Leckie, Puma Perl, Jennifer Blowdryer and Faith NYC.

Top photo: Wrigley with work by Mac McGill

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Saturday night at Bullet Space: The Clothesline Benefit Art Sale

Via the EVG inbox...

The Clothesline Benefit Art Sale
7-10 p.m.

Affordable works on paper: $25 + $50

Our Clothesline Benefit Art Sales are always lots of fun, with plenty of surprising things hanging on the line. Proceeds benefit ABC No Rio in Exile.

Bullet Space/292 Gallery
292 E. Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D

ABC No Rio is currently in exile while waiting for their new HQ to be built on Rivington Street. (Previously)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bomb Pop closing party tonight at Bullet Space

Between Avenue C and Avenue D... Costumes are encouraged for the party too.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bomb Pop opens tonight at Bullet Space

New exhibit at Bullet Space opens tonight at 6... (the exhibit is up through Oct. 27).

At 292 E. Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Last chance to see Dear John

You have through Saturday to see the work of John Farris (pictured, above) at Bullet Space, 292 E. Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D... The exhibit (originally set to close this past Sunday) is titled, Dear John -- Reconstructing the Self: Drawings, Cartoons, and Plasticity. It's curated by Andrew Castrucci.

HOURS: Friday 3–6pm, Saturday, 1–6pm. Or by chance.

As Farris wrote in a release announcing the exhibit: "After a spectacularly unsuccessful 50-year career as a poet, fiction writer, and yes -- critic -- I have decided that the visual might be somewhat more expressive of my purview..."

Friday, January 29, 2010

"The Perfect Crime" at Bullet Space

City Room checks in with a piece on "The Perfect Crime,” the exhibit that Andrew Castrucci organized at Bullet Space on East Third Street.

From the article:

The show, up through this weekend and featuring more than 200 artists and 300 works, is part retrospective of the experience of squatting and part history of the building and the people it has housed, including both squatters and unknown inhabitants from previous centuries who left traces of their lives hidden behind walls or buried in the ground outside. Mr. Castrucci said he was motivated in part by a desire to document what had in some ways been a secret existence.


By many measures life is now less arduous, Mr. Castrucci said, but he still relishes the independence and freedom he and others found in the pre-gentrified days of the East Village, when it seemed for a while that the future could be written by anybody bold enough to act.

“We were a mixture of volunteers and dropouts from society” he said. “And I still haven’t figured out what category I was in.”

I've seen the exhibit...and highly recommend it... : “The Perfect Crime,” at Bullet Space, 292 East 3rd Street. Through this weekend. Friday: 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. Suggested donation $10.

Jill wrote about it here.

The Villager profiled it here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bullet Space is the first of the former LES squats to take over ownership of building from city

[Photo of Bullet Space from 1986 by Sebastian Schroder via the Bullet Space site]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trash and treasure at Bullet Space

Through Sunday, you can check out a new exhibit at Bullet Space, the artists' collective and gallery at 292 Third St. between Avenue C and Avenue D. It's open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bullet Space is the first of the former LES squats to take over ownership of building from city

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The New York Post discovers the East Village, squats

The Post has an exclusive cover story today about the city turning over the rights to the former LES squat Bullet Space to its residents.

It's difficult to tell how the paper feels about this.

The article begins:

Sometimes crime does pay.

The exclusive two-page spread includes an opinion piece by Henry Stern, the former city parks commissioner who is president of the nonprofit group New York Civic.

His take?

[G]ving away buildings in lower Manhattan to people who break into them and declare themselves owners should not be considered the new public policy of the city of New York.

Over the years, squatting, like graffiti, has been romanticized as an expression of popular will and an assault on the establishment. That may be true -- but it is not the best way to allocate scarce housing among a large and deserving population.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bullet Space is the first of the former LES squats to take over ownership of building from city

Reader reaction to the New York Post piece on Bullet Space

The best parts of today's exclusive in the Post? The reader comments!

Among them: wrote:
They should have been tear gassed out years ago. These people have stolen from
all of us. While the rest of us pay through our noses, they get off scott free...
5/17/2009 11:15 AM EDT

CJC wrote:
On top of it all, the city gives them a 40 year break from having to pay taxes ...this is nothing short of legalized theft. Gee, I wonder why taxes are so absurd in NY State and City ?
5/17/2009 10:58 AM EDT

gigii wrote:
DISGUSTING - these people are no different than Bernie Madoff - they are stealing that which is not theirs and why would you even print it. They should hang their heads in shame for stealing.
5/17/2009 10:32 AM EDT

ARM wrote:
5/17/2009 10:18 AM EDT

Davis Rose wrote:
cant bloomy think of a way to kick these losers out
5/17/2009 8:57 AM EDT

And Aaron "The Pie Man" Kay checks in:

pieman420 wrote:
i do support my friends the squatters in keeping the gentrifiers from forcing more poor people into "avenue e"-the east river as a way to make the east village into millionaires row!!!never!!!!the east village has ahistory based on disent, immigration and free speech!! let it still be a liberated zomne!!! yippie!!
5/17/2009 9:42 AM EDT

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bullet Space is the first of the former LES squats to take over ownership of building from city

Bullet Space, an artists' collective and gallery on Third Street between Avenue C and Avenue D, is the first of the 11 former LES squats to be turned over to its residents. A source at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), the nonprofit that has acted as a liaison between the tenants and the city throughout the renovation process of the former LES squats, confirmed the transfer yesterday afternoon.

According to the UHAB source: Bullet Space "has officially had its permanent loan closed, and transferred into the name of Bullet Space H.D.F.C."

As the UHAB source explained, "Bullet Space officially owns the building." For the time being, UHAB executives will remain on their board. However, as soon as Bullet Space residents hold their first shareholder meeting and vote in replacement members, they will be the operating owners of their building. "It's at that first vote when we distribute shares, and it's expected they will do that in a week or two," according to the UHAB source.

The Umbrella House on Avenue C is the next former squat expected to be converted to a co-op for the residents in the coming weeks.

The Villager provides some background on what has taken place in recent years with the former squats. In the Dec. 31-Jan. 6, 2009 issue, several residents of the former LES squats expressed their unhappiness over how long it has taken the city to finalize the plans to bring the buildings up to code and turn the units into affordable housing. Some homesteaders are upset that the renovations were financed with what they call unfair loans that have saddled them with debt. According to the article, titled "Former squats are worth lots, but residents can’t cash in":

“We should have closed this three years ago,” the Bullet Space resident said. “So much red tape, so much mismanagement. … Our building regrets cutting a deal with UHAB. We feel we’re being used and abused. We feel we could have done it for one-third the cost.”

For example, he said, UHAB hired a construction manager at a salary of $70,000, but the squatters wound up doing “90 percent of his job.”

Harry Kresky, an attorney representing Bullet Space, declined comment on whether the squat will sue the city and UHAB.

In that same article, Andy Reicher, UHAB’s executive director, said "the former squatters’ complaints about the renovations’ slowness and the mounting debt are 'not totally incorrect.'"

Said Reicher: "It’s been frustrating. … But in the end, what’s going to result is affordable, limited-equity co-ops."

Also, the article noted that under what is known as Article XI, the former squats will not pay property taxes for 40 years. That exemption was always part of the plan, and will save the residents thousands of dollars in taxes, Reicher said.

According to the East Village History Project, squatters moved into the condemned building, which previously housed a baptist church, at 292 E. Third St., in 1985. (I've seen other sources list 1982 and 1986 for the takeover date.) It was originally known as 6 o'clock. The building was once owned by noted slumlord Henry J. Shapolsky, who had the building seized by the city for nonpayment of taxes.

The Bullet Space Web site provides more on the various projects created by the collective through the years...foremost on the list, "The Your House Is Mine" collaboration -- a 19 x 25, 16-pound book.

The following photos and captions are from the Bullet Space site as well:

Photo by Andrew Castrucci, 1990 • 292 East 3rd Street, NYC • "Your House Is Mine" Book and Street Project

Photo by Sebastian Schroder, 1986 • 292 East 3rd Street, NYC • Bullet Space (A.K.A. - 6 o'clock Squat)

Photo from "Hans Haacke: Unfinished Business" • Shapolsky Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, 1971 • 292 East 3rd Street, known as Bullet Space

For further reading on the former LES squats:
What's happening at the Umbrella House? (EV Grieve)

Fire Brings Out "Barn-Raising" Spirit, and Concerns (The New York Times)

In Images, the Lower East Side of Starker Days (The New York Times)

Squatters' rights (City Limits)

A brief history of New York City's Squats (City Limits)

Sweat Equity Pays Off (The Brooklyn Rail)

Squat the world! (Not Bored)