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JCAL gets collaborative with tri−boro art project

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is currently hosting “Metro Poles: Art in Action,” a new exhibit in participation with the Bronx River Art Center and the Asian−American Arts Center and the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space in Manhattan, in which 60 artists will collaboratively create works and successively hand them over to other artists each week.

The premise is that there is a multitude of artists who will work these four galleries as “hubs of creative experimentation.” Within these four galleries there are core artists who will create pieces that reveal their vision of the themes of “nexus, collaboration and social relationships,” as JCAL has described it. The Bronx River Art Center has described themes of “the process of development and renewal, which offers alternatives to individual production, commodity, competition and influence,” pervading the works.

“Connecting spaces at margins is a provoking and challenging activity. I always felt, and I still do, that JCAL is the cutting edge and avant−garde art space of the New York art world in many aspects,” said Heng−Gil Han, curator of JCAL. “Society conventionally associates marginal locations, both in the physical and conceptual sense, with a negative perspective. But the marginal spaces are exactly those arenas where the third genus emerges — the third genus that synthesizes thesis and antithesis, and the third genus that is not permissible in the simplistic logic of contradiction−free way of thinking.”

After the core — or advance guard, if you will — has been spent creatively, the second wave comes in and is given the chance to alter their work through “addition, subtraction, inversion or reposition.” Each week acts as a new opening to a new gallery until the final week, where it serves as the culmination and the actual intended exhibit.

“Very rarely is there an opportunity for this many artists at all stages of their careers to come together in one place and create work collectively,” said artist Chad Stayrook, who was invited by curators Han and Jose Ruiz of the Bronx River Arts Center to participate in JCAL’s part of the collaboration. “I hope to facilitate connections between myself and the other artists by making myself available to help with their projects in any way needed. This could be helping to promote someone else’s work during their work week in the gallery, helping them install, bringing them lunch, etc.”

“Metro Poles: Art in Action” was initiated by Han, who, after having conceived of it, approached Ruiz and eventually realized the idea with help from Robert Lee and Elizabeth Akkerman, curators of the Asian−American Arts Center and the Francis J. Greenburger Collection⁄Time Equities Inc, New York, respectively.

“JCAL, representing Queens, adds the values of diversity and nexus to the project,” Han said of Queens’ role in the three−borough art exhibit. “Queens is a diverse community. This diversity is a huge asset for Queens, although many of us may not know how to use it. I hope Queens will find ways to tap into this diverse human network for artistic and cultural contributions, as Queens is more than the borough where 185 languages are spoken.”

The series opened Oct. 17 with a piece titled “Captain America” by John Powers, commissioned by JCAL and held at the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space in Manhattan.

If You Go

Metro Poles: Art in Action

When: Until Jan. 17

Where: Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, 161−04 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica

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