“The thing about looking back is that you can look back at what happened in that linear way or you can look back at what was digested. Then you decide whether to retell the story or you decide to float forwards on whatever trajectory got you there in the first place. Anyways, the space (179 Canal) is currently a mahjong parlor and the project (179 Canal) is here, with what we’ve always had – a loose but tight commonality, not in the details but in the connections. This is not a look back/look forward, it’s a look here now. What brings us all together is hard to pin down; that’s too easy. Let's just say it's something about letting go and it doesn't have much to do with history. This is a portrait and I’m its arranger and I couldn’t be more grateful. Till later and thanks, M.L., N.Y.C., 2010.”
White Columns is please to present ‘179 Canal / Anyways’ an exhibition organized by Margaret Lee.
Founded by artist Margaret Lee, 179 Canal was an artist-run space located above street level on one of New York’s busiest thoroughfares. Between March 2009 and June 2010 some 14 exhibitions, 15 performances, 1 public project on the building’s exterior, 4 stairwell installations, 2 web projects and a handful of parties took place there.179 Canal took the form of a dialog between Lee and an ever expanding group of artists and collaborators. (More than 75 artists and performers would eventually contribute to 179’s programs.) About this dialog Lee has said: “179 Canal was spurred by an ongoing communication with friends - who participated in making 179 what it became - about the lack of a real artists' space in NYC. I never had to look far for projects since it wasn't about finding something but making sure the conversation remained open and continuous - friend to friend, peer to peer - amongst a group of artists who were tired of art about art, business as usual, and the heavy history of a past that wasn't necessarily ours to reference. The work coming in was always strong but what pulled it all together was that context was put up for grabs and freely exchanged. And with that, the artists, their work and the program were able to find their feet.”
Following 179 Canal’s closure – White Columns invited Margaret Lee to organize an exhibition that took the activity that unfolded at 179 Canal as its departure point. Neither a nostalgic survey nor a retrospective consideration of the space’s programs ‘179 Canal / Anyways’ instead re-structures aspects of the recent past into the form of an exhibition that is decidedly engaged in the present-tense and the ongoing dialog between Lee and many of her 179 co-conspirators.
Margaret Lee is an artist based in New York. In January 2010 she had a White Room exhibition at White Columns that she developed in collaboration with Michele Abeles and Darren Bader. For more visit: www.179Canal.com
Lee would like to thank Griffin Editions/Mike Vorrasi, Electronic Arts Intermix and every artist that exhibited at 179 Canal. “WC # 31,” the zine that accompanies this exhibition was edited by Sameer Kapoor.