art+circuses is a contemporary art gallery in Long Island City, New York. Founded by Julie and Suzi Winson in dedication to their mother, Abbie Winson, and her artworks spanning seventy years, art+circuses opened June 9, 2013.
The gallery’s inaugural show, Rarified Air, is a retrospective of Abbie’s paintings and mixed-media works. The exhibition will run for a year to give her widespread and varied friends and admirers the chance to see her oeuvre in the most complete collection yet assembled. Thereafter, the gallery will be home to innovative exhibitions across a range of media and genres, helping foster the careers of emerging artists while developing long-term representation of a range of international artists.
art+circuses is adjacent to, and allied with, one of the nation’s premier professional circus training facilities, Circus Warehouse, providing the gallery a one-of-a-kind space for large scale performance pieces, experimental works and screenings. It also affords art+circuses a unique perspective on our “society of the spectacle”: a+c overlooks the Circus Warehouse space and its decidedly impassive engagé with spectacle on one side, the Manhattan skyline on the other.
The Warehouse functions as art lab/rehearsal space, as well: it’s where elite gymnast David Durante and company recently evolved and rehearsed their parts for “Gloria,” Allora and Calzadilla’s exhibition representing the U.S. in the 2012 Venice Biennale. And it’s home to Aerial Text Experiments, a uniquely vertical entrant in the yearly global poetry slam/phenomenon known as 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
Then there’s Newtown Creek. a+c and the Warehouse are situated on the “banks” of this crick-cum-Superfund-site dividing Queens and Brooklyn where advocates pursue ongoing detox efforts despite formidable challenges.
As such, art+circuses resides at the intersection of art and spectacle, the physical and cerebral, teeming metropolis and forsaken backwater — directly astride key, dynamic cultural, existential and environmental frontiers and fault lines of our time. (Evacuation zones, too — Superstorm Sandy took a heavy toll on the Warehouse.) Where better to examine and engage with critical countervailing forces and philosophies than somewhere there’s no escaping them? And no desire to.
a+c represents the estate of Abbie Winson. Additional artists will join the a+c roster in 2014.