For over a decade, the Ray Smith Studio has been an upscale INS for misplaced persons fleeing famine and rabid art cartels. Compare the infrastructures at RSS vs INS: hours disappear and you fight frostbite in an industrial holding cell; the filing system has its tailored inefficiencies and procedures of negation. Yet the RSS personnel are gregarious and charming, distinguishing themselves with patience, humility and humor, their dynamism a constant source of conversation and collaboration. From the Ray Smith Studio you get a whiff of the Promised Land––or maybe it's just the slow fermentation of the Gowanus Canal.
RSS was a hive of activity surrounding the art of Ray Smith, and yet with his guidance and infrastructural support, every member of the hive flexed and grew, pooling their energies into community efforts and performances. The band Pablo Picasso (now Dinner) practiced daily and performed weekly; the live improvisational art-group Platnumb Hits was born; writers and actors went to work on a play titled Flowers of Washington Square Park.
On display will be ten large drawings and four paintings. The Ray Smith Studio began the table drawings––surrealist, exquisite corpses full of corpses, a practice in consequence and accident not unlike the RSS itself––after a brief collaboration with The Bruce High Quality Foundation. These are the first of their kind to be made at Ray Smith's new studio at 261 Bond Street. The paintings have complimented the later bigger painting projects of Ray Smith – satirical and socialist asides. Back-room chatter from the union hall.