A couple years back, it felt like a new gallery was opening on the Lower East Side or in Chinatown in New York every single weekend. That pace has slowed in recent years, but those overlapping neighborhoods continue to attract upstart art spaces. The latest arrives Sunday, April 29, when a new outfit called Signs and Symbols will open its doors for the first time, with a solo show by the English artist Rachael Garrard.
The gallery, which is located at 102 Forsyth Street, the onetime home of the reggae record store Deadly Dragon Sound, is two doors away from Lyles & King and around the corner from Derek Eller and Simon Preston. “We were doing performances all over the place, and this is our first physical space,” said the space’s director, Mitra Khorasheh, who is also curator for the nonprofit New Water Culture. Her partner in the project, which began two years ago, is Elise Herget, the director of individual giving and special events at the Watermill Center in the Hamptons.
The venue will focus largely on performance, photography, and architecture, with Ulay, Valie Export, and Vito Acconci serving as lodestars for the program, Khorasheh said. As for the unusual name, it comes from the title of a 1948 story by Vladimir Nabokov published in the New Yorker. (It’s a perhaps fittingly playful choice for a space that, in a news release, describes itself as a “curator’s studio,” “a non-gallery gallery,” a “curatorial platform,” and a “multi-disciplinary incubator.”)
Much of the gallery’s first-year programming has been lined up, and among the artists that will be involved are Derrick Adams, Sarah Entwistle, Sharon Louden (working with Hrag Vartanian), JAŠA, Jen DeNike, and many more. Also to come is a project with German artists Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf, who work under the name name Wermke/Leinkauf and who infamously replaced American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge with white flags in 2014. But, because of the potential for legal consequences for that action, Khorasheh said, they are not planning to come to New York for their show.