Free expression: Bushwick gallery is giving art away

Free expression: Bushwick gallery is giving art away
Heather Marie Scholl

This art is priceless!

A Bushwick art space is breaking the chains of capitalism and giving its art away for free this weekend. But the gratis “Free the Art” show at the Living Gallery on Feb. 1 is more than a chance to snag a free painting to hang over the couch, says the gallery’s owner — it is a blow against the idea that monetary value equals artistic value.

“The goal is to erase competitive elements regarding money being a deciding factor in art and liberating artists from equating money with their work,” said Nyssa Frank, who owns the Broadway gallery.

Priceless: Living Gallery owner Nyssa Frank will host a free art show on Feb. 1 in order to liberate artists from associating money with their work.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The art may be free, but the event will not be a free-for-all. Each guest can take home a single piece of art, says Frank, and they must mark the item as “sold” by putting their name next to it.

Frank, who also draws, sculpts, and makes jewelry, conceived the event after hearing friends lament the hefty prices that kept eye-catching pieces out of their reach. The concept also frees artists from a price-driven creative process, which can dictate the type of work they make, she says.

“I know if people are buying things I’ll start making things like that,” she said.

It’s alive!: The Living Gallery in Bushwick regularly hosts exhibitions, talks and classes.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Frank found 40 free spirits willing to contribute art to the show, and each of those emerging and established artists will be at the event.

“It’s really cool because all of the artists will be there and then if you see a piece you really love you’ll be able to talk to the artists,” she said.

Frank says that she runs the Living Gallery by the philosophy “Giving away something for nothing and expecting nothing in return.” The gallery regularly hosts talks and classes, many of them with free or “suggested donation” admission.

Free to be fuzzy: This photo will briefly be on the wall of the LIving Gallery before someone takes it home.
Shaira Chaer

Frank has received an outpouring of support for her one-of-a-kind show, and she is optimistic that it will draw a crowd that appreciates the priceless works on display.

“Hopefully I get art-conscious art lovers who really want to celebrate young art,” she said.

“Free the Art” at the Living Gallery [1094 Broadway at Dodworth Street in Bushwick, (631) 377–1998, www.the-living-gallery.com]. Feb. 1 at 6:30 pm. Free.

Church free: This image of a church key is among the free art on display on Feb. 1.
Weston Ulfig

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill