Space of the Week: Welcome to the Clubhouse

Con Artist Collective, a crew of printmakers, painters, architects, photographers, and fashion designers, has a new home on the Lower East Side. Says architect and Collective member Garner Oh, “We spent hours discussing the design and ultimately came up with the metaphor of a white-box gallery that actually mimics how artists work.” The result is a folding and expanding, 1,200-square-foot, two-story space that Oh conceived with his partner, Tamara Petrovic of 0 to 1. There is also a basement area for art storage and more studio space. Here, a huge chunk of the stud-grade Douglas fir wood has been recycled from the hair salon that inhabited the space before Con Artist took over. Photo: Courtesy of Con Artist Collective

Rich Ordonez, a member of the Collective, spray-painted the wall of the double-decker work area with bright car-enamel paint. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The most challenging part of the three-month construction period, according to Oh, was that none of the builders working with him were professionals”they were members of the Collective. “I was guiding them as we went along,” he explains.” The team worked from Oh’s 3-D computer renderings; he never made a physical model of the space. No matter how snug the working areas get, they are always open to air and light. There is a sense of privacy, but not of being cut off. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The mobile conference box is soundproof and can be used to conceal the entrance to the studio space when there’s an opening in the front gallery. Oh says he had considered building a standard conference room, but that would have entailed cutting off the open studio with conventional walls. Instead, he ended up with a design much more in keeping with the nature of the space and the artists’ needs, adaptable for meetings, installations, and performances. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here, plywood stairs lead to the upper workstations. The Collective offers a four-color silkscreen press, light tables, a photo studio, a power washer and drop sink, and lots of tools located in the basement studio space. Photo: Courtesy of Con Artist Collective

The working surface of the upper level is also painted in high-gloss red. The entrance of Con Artist Collective acts as a gallery space for the artists, where there are socials held every sixteen days. Or as Collective owner Brian Shevlin puts it, “Artists come for the space and stay for the community. There is something to be said for being in the trenches together.” Photo: Courtesy of Con Artist Collective

The basement studio space offers storage space for many of the members while also providing additional work space. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Space of the Week: Welcome to the Clubhouse