Goings On About Town Art “Downtown 21”

Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, February 1, 2021

Downtown New York is the Walt Whitman of places: it contains multitudes and contradicts itself. If you think it begins and ends in lower Manhattan, Sam Gordon wants to open your mind. The artist-curator organized the inspired polyphonic group show “ Downtown 2021” at La Mama Galleria, to propose that the downtown spirit may be best reflected at galleries- many of them artist-run - in Brooklyn and Queens. (The exhibition is on view Fridays and Saturdays, through Fe. 20.). Works by about thirty painters, ceramicists, photographers, choreographers, filmmakers, and installationists advocate for the outer-borough spaces that have shown them, from the nonprofit feminist cooperative A.I.R., established in 1972 and now housed in Dumbo to Zak’s, which the young sculptor-to-watch Zak Kitnick began as a lark in his studio, in 2015. (The show includes a handsome, if gnomic, game table by Kitnick, made of bronze, brass, copper and steel, from the Bushwick gallery Clearing.) Most of the art here is new; a noteworthy exception is the elegant formalism of the established, but under-recognized, Black sculptor Helen Evans Ramsaran, whose 1996 Bronze “ The Seat of Power” (pictured in the foreground above) is a testament to the discerning vision of Bed-Stuy gallery Welancora.

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