In 2013, a label-making factory near ’s
studio in Carroll Gardens went bankrupt, so the artist decided to finagle a deal with the space to curate a one-night show with fellow artists
and Scott Keightley. Bolstered by a fierce friendship, the three continued to collaborate there, and last year moved into a space, a few blocks away, next to 247365’s former location. Never shying away from the humor and bliss of artmaking, a show last year, “Unalloyed Joy,” featured artist Rob Fischer kidnapping his own sculptures from upstate New York and turning them into bong fountains. Now, following an eviction notice, Violet’s Café is currently on the hunt for a new place to surface their experimental projects.
Artsy: How do you balance your own art practices with running the gallery?
Violet’s Café: Violet’s Café is entangled with all of our individual work as artists. It adds to and distracts from our individual practices. It can be frustrating and complicated but it’s incredible and special. Every show we have reorients and informs our practices, while putting us all in debt.
Artsy: Can you tell us a bit about your exhibition program?
VC: Violet’s Cafe is a monument to friendship, where things can happen under a funky authorship. Our shows often function collaboratively and build on the relationships that they are generated by. Over the course of her solo project “Les Anneles,” Anne Libby went from an acquaintance to a continual collaborator and friend.
Often some theme or joke snowballs…we respond to spaces we access. We made a show about desire and nourishment in a friend’s office overlooking the East River, where we served edible flowers and sushi alongside the work of Michael Assiff,
, Allison Branham, Maliea Croy,
and Harry Finkelstein,
, Heidi Lau, Anne Libby, Alexandria Tarver, and Peter Wilson. The day after the opening,
screwed a sculpture into a block of ice and floated it down the river.
Artsy: In your opinion, what makes a gallery successful?
VC: Violet’s Café can’t fail because it’s an experiment. People needed a place to show their art and to talk about that kind of art. People needed a place to hang out. And their presence makes it successful. We try to complicate and deepen our understanding of art, to create a context that encourages and troubles the work.
Artsy: What’s next for you?
VC: We are getting evicted from our space (which is also Graham’s home and studio) along with the rest of the Donut District (one apartment, four artist-run spaces, and a Dunkin Donuts). Recently, we showed Meena Hasan’s weavey wavey paintings, followed by Club 63, an all-night weird techno rave. We don’t know what we are doing next…