By Karin Nelson
This Avant-Garde Gallery's Anything but Whitewashed
Fashion Wire Daily NY August 13, 2002 - Curator-cum-artist Kenny Schachter couldn't wait for construction to finish on conTEMPorary -- his steel sculpture of a gallery space hidden in the cobblestoned shadow of Richard Meier's new Perry Street residential tower -- before he hosted an all-out opening celebration this past June. But with good reason: Not only had he already aligned a spectacularly unconventional exhibit - one comprised of an array of cutting-edge musicians, fashion designers, architects, and artists presenting work not necessarily corresponding with their fields -- but he'd also almost completed one of the most unique show spaces in all of New York.
"It's the anti-gallery gallery," beams Schachter, eyeing the length of perforated metal that snakes its way -- thanks to sculptor Vito Acconci -- through the ground floor and flips up onto the second. "I wanted to get away from the typical, numbing aesthetic of the Chelsea gallery - the white walls and cubic space. I mean, you wonder why art has become so irrelevant in our society. You see the same stuff everywhere!"
Schachter, a former Wall Street broker and traveling tie salesman, has made a name for himself presenting the works of new and deserving talent in random, itinerant exhibits. And in this, the first space he can call home (literally, as it embodies the back half of his West Village townhouse), Schachter once again proves himself an avant-gardist.
For his first exhibit at conTEMPorary, entitled "Architecture," Schachter's intention is to blur the distinctions of art. To those ends he presents photographs from Imitation of Christ's Tara Subkoff and British photographer Jessica Craig-Martin (the two created portraits of each other with their clothing attached doll-like onto the images), a video from AsFour in which they're playing around in their East Village studio, and a series of photos from modern preppy fashion collective United Bamboo, that focuses on the legacy of modernism.
And the guests who braved the torrential downpour to view the works at the gallery's opening made for a similarly eclectic spectacle: film-maker Wes Anderson, actress Chloe Sevigny, comedian Jimmy Fallon, Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey, singing socialite Ilona Rich, designer Nicole Miller, artist Tom Sachs, and electro punk, gallery-groupie band A.R.E Weapons, who performed.
But for those who missed the affair, Schachter has scheduled another opening for September 8th -- this one being the "official" launch, as all the steel is now set squarely into place.