The X Initiative is a one-year, not-for-profit center for the art community housed in the former DIA Chelsea building on West 22nd Street. Spearheaded by gallerist Elizabeth Dee with an advisory board consisting of over 50 international art professionals, X "is reaching across traditional boundaries to form a consortium interested in responding quickly to the major philosophical and economic shifts impacting culture" (from X-initiative.org). In an interview with Art Info, Dee states that the idea for X emerged from "conversations that were happening in response to the political climate and economic turmoil." The temporary site will host "durational artist interventions, site-specific projects, historical in-depth exhibitions, one-night performances, lectures and weekly events."
Its premiere opening on March 7th featured work by Christian Holstad, Adrian Piper, Josephine Meckseper, and a terrific retrospective featuring films by the late, great film-maker Derek Jarman. The colorful Dan Flavin lights originally created for the stairwells in the building have been reinstalled for the duration of X's occupancy in the space.
For the summer phase (opening was on July 9th), X presents work by Fritz Haeg, Keren Cytter, Luke Fowler, and Tris Vonna-Michell. Haeg's work, Dome Colony X in the San Gabriels (on the first floor), is an interactive installation consisting of a number of dome-shaped tents surrounding a round, black stage creating a "mountain colony." The tents "function as gathering and meeting spaces" while the stage serves "as an epicenter for events and screenings." On the second floor, Tel Aviv-born/Berlin-based Keren Cytter's films are being shown. The Mysterious Serious features films by Cytter that cross genres from "film noir, melodrama, documentary, and soap opera," and focus on "dysfunctional families and alienated friends on the verge of nervous breakdown."
The third floor is screening films by Scottish artist Luke Fowler. Warriors: Four Films by Luke Fowler 2003-2008, showcases Fowler's unconventional works that mix "historical materials and original recordings, archival footage and new takes..." creating "a personal form of cinematic narrative that follows free associations and idiosyncratic connections." Up on the fourth floor, British artist Tris Vonna-Michell's works are shown from 35-mm slide projectors. Along with using archaic technology, Vonna-Michell explores "the ways in which stories and events are remembered and re-told..." and "creates environments that recall fictional archives in which accelerated monologues and frantic speeches resonate."
Don't forget to head up to the building's awesome and enviable rooftop and see Los Angeles-based INABA's Pool Noodle Rooftop. Jeffrey Inaba and crew took foam pool noodles and "cut and bunched [them] vertically into chaise lounge and ottoman units of varying heights that accommodate up to 150 people." The surprisingly super comfy seating provides cushiony surfaces for weary rear-ends when X hosts screenings and special events up on the roof. For those who can fly or happen to be giants, when viewed from above, the modified floating devices spell out "bububluooopppp" (see my pics below). Also in a small room on the roof is Today and Everyday, a group exhibition that is presented in 3 contexts: first as a group still life photo taken by Margaret Lee; secondly as an installation (featuring work by Olaf Breuning, Carissa Rodriguez, Sam Wilson, Donna Chung, Josh Kline, Anicka Yi, Maggie Peng, and Piet Houtenbos); and lastly as a memento in the form of a zine produced by Used Future. See my pics of Carissa Rodriguez's contributions below.
INABA, Pool Noodle Rooftop