The Fridge Owner and Gallery Director Alex Goldstein's Solo Exhibit TAXI GANG's Exclamation point.
On Thursday night Owner and Gallery Director Alex Goldstein walked in the door of The Fridge with two rolls of paper. Months of work inhabiting less space than a standard stretched canvas. We laid out layers and layers of paintings, spreading them out on the gallery floor. There was little room left to walk around.
Goldstein uses two images to compose 100 pieces of artwork in his new exhibit at The Fridge, Exclamation point. One, a boy with a hand grenade inspired by the unsettling, iconic Diane Arbus photograph of a child in Central Park, the second, a girl, arms outstretched, two guns blazing, her mouth forming a scream. “These are images of empowerment and rage. I’m a pacifist. I’m terrified of guns, but I’m obsessed with what they represent to our society,” says Goldstein.
Goldstein’s preoccupation with the lasting impact of violent and oppressive acts in America has formed his vision for The Fridge’s exhibitions and programming since opening in 2009. This exhibition is the culmination of that vision, the artist’s attempt to explain, to himself and the public, this part of his life’s work.
The space that Goldstein built has become a platform for street artists to adapt their public work for gallery audiences, a look into a part of life – and the people who comprise, document and bring unapologetic, exaggerated attention to it – lived by communities that are frequently misunderstood. Communities that feel violence or oppressive judgment in their daily lives. Street art can be playful, even hilarious, but it remains a political statement, simply by its presence and by its prevailing message: We will not be ignored.
Goldstein pushed the role of a gallery into new territory, an outlet for communities to use creative expression as a means for healing. The Beltway Slam Poetry Team hosts a slam the last Tuesday of every month at The Fridge. In early 2012, the Fridge exhibited Warhol Through the Eyes of The Children of The Perry Center. Elementary school-age children from the North Capital neighborhood created their own versions of Warhol’s famous works. Goldstein hosts the annual exhibit and fundraiser for DCPS’s Incarcerated Youth Program. These exhibits empower kids that have difficult lives, letting them know that what they do has value, it is celebrated and admired. Goldstein also programs a wide variety of workshops for kids and families, including classes from the public art nonprofit Albus Cavus.
When we finish hanging Goldstein’s work, the exhibit on the walls is a raw look at the psyche of the artist. Images question, expose and assign meaning to years of energy invested in the pursuit of art as a means to communicate stories unheard.
TAXI GANG’s Exclamation point. will be open December 1 – December 30, 2012. The opening reception is Saturday, December 1, 7 – 11pm. Please visit www.thefridgedc.com for details. The Fridge is located at 516 ½ 8th Street SE, Washington, DC, 20003. Eastern Market metro.
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