Bushwick’s M23/Project Room isn’t your typical art gallery. In fact, it’s not an art gallery at all, according to its owner and curator, Theodore Mauritz.
“We’re a project space,” he says. “We’re driven by artists’ work, not by the market. We’re not about a checklist with prices.” Instead of offering traditional exhibitions, the one-room, 400-square-foot industrial space, which opened this month, will let a different artist take over every six weeks to create an installation of his or her own uncompromised vision.
Mauritz had worked in New York art galleries for more than a decade when he eventually realized that he wanted to showcase up-and-coming artists who perhaps didn’t have traditional representation in NYC’s art scene. He started his first project space in the landmark he calls home, the Chelsea Hotel, and then developed “an itinerant program” of art and artists that traveled around the world to such cities as Berlin, London, and Miami, among other locales.
But Mauritz now considers the Bushwick space a permanent home for his mission. “The small and midsize galleries are being gobbled up and closing,” says Mauritz, who is an art collector himself. “The white-cube megagalleries keep getting bigger. I want to make sure that the voice of young, emerging, unusual artists isn’t being lost because they don’t fit with the vibe of a big commercial gallery.”
For the opening of M23 Projects, Mauritz is featuring Sean Donovan, a young artist whose work has been exhibited at Manhattan’s International Center of Photography. One of his previous installations examined the state of surveillance: He filmed visitors in galleries and simultaneously played the films on the wall in what he called “surveillance paintings.”
Donovan created two sculptural pieces to fill the space: One has an electrified wire, similar to those used to herd livestock; the other is centered on a vintage transformer that delivers a powerful electric shock to the steel around it. “The sound of electricity will reverberate through the space, like feedback,” Mauritz says, “and the audio will react to bodies as they pass by. It’s very overpowering.”
At the end of October, Daniel Klaas Beckwith, who recently earned an M.F.A. from Yale, will have his turn transforming the space. Details are vague at the moment, but expect a narrative and fully immersive experience.
Why You Should Go: To discover and get to know innovative artists in-depth—in one of Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhoods.
209 Morgan Avenue, Bushwick
1–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday