Eight Extraordinary Greens

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
© Courtesy of the artist & Mixed Greens Gallery
Eight Extraordinary Greens

531 W.26th St.
New York, NY
May 3rd, 2012 - June 2nd, 2012
Opening: May 3rd, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Closed as of January 2016
installation, sculpture


Mixed Greens is delighted to announce a solo exhibition
by Jenna Spevack. Using installation, sculpture, and permaculture
design, she will activate the gallery space into a living
urban farm. Her aim: to provide healthy greens to extraordinary
people with ordinary incomes. Through interactions with
gallery visitors, Eight Extraordinary Greens will explore
the value placed on food while simultaneously questioning
the value placed on acts of artistic social practice within
a gallery context.
Spevack started experimenting with apartment-sized
farming by converting her own bookshelf into a mini greenhouse
and designing an efficient, sub-irrigated system for
growing energy-packed plants (microgreens). To suggest a
feeling of domesticity similar to her original experiment,
the gallery will display household objects (such as a suitcase,
a chair, and a kitchen cabinet) modified with planters and
lights to house the “microfarms.” A small farm stand (a desk
and large bookshelf, alive with growing plants) will serve
as a space for the harvest and sale of eight different types
of microgreens.
The installation will also be staged with references to Aesop’s
fable “The Cock and the Jewel,” a riddle about relative value.
In the story, a cockerel searching for food finds a precious
gem but rejects it, wishing for corn instead.
Unlike most exhibitions where an art object is given a retail
value and worth is assessed by the gallery in advance,
visitors will determine the monetary value of the microgreens
and the money will help support local, urban agriculture
groups, such as Added Value and Bed Stuy Campaign
Against Hunger. Participants will have the choice of whether
to take the greens that they’ve purchased or leave them to
be donated to a local food pantry. These transactions will be
recorded in the form of a “receipt”—a print signed by both
the consumer and artist. The consumer will receive one copy
of the receipt and a duplicate will be hung in the gallery to
record the collective value of the exchanges over the course
of the exhibition.
As an urban agricultural design experiment, Spevack
envisions a way to grow food in an anthropogenic landscape
for all strata of citizens. As an art exhibition, she hopes to
facilitate conversations about what we value: creative effort
versus convenience, regenerables versus disposables,
neighbors versus strangers.
Materials and services to realize this exhibition will
be donated, bartered, or salvaged. Special thanks
to the following companies and individuals: Pegasus
Lighting, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Organic
Mechanics Soil Company, Al Attara of 33 Flatbush,
Designer Jeanne Lynch, and all of Spevack’s Kickstarter
backers. If you would like to support this project,
please visit:
Jenna Spevack is an artist living and working in Brooklyn,
New York. She has a BFA from the State University of
New York at Buffalo and an MFA from the Rhode Island
School of Design. Her work has been shown in one-person
and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including
Hendershot Gallery, NYC; Sanlun Yishu, Beijing, China;
Mucius Galéria, Budapest, Hungary; White Columns, NYC;
Art in General, NYC; Artists Space, NYC; Monya Rowe
Gallery, NYC; Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY;
Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Panorama City,
Zurich, Switzerland. She has received numerous grants,
residencies, and fellowships including those from the New
York City Department of Cultural Affairs; I-Park residency
in CT; Platte Clove residency in Catskill, NY; Estonian
Artist’s Association residency in Tallinn; Fine Arts Work
Center in Provincetown, MA; MacDowell Colony in NH;
Blue Mountain Center in NY; Fundacion Valparaiso in
Spain; and PSCCUNY Research Foundation Awards. Her
work has been recognized in publications such as The New
York Times, The Daily News, New York Arts, The Times
Union, Provincetown Magazine, the Providence Journal
Bulletin, and Art New England. She has also been featured
on Monitor Public Radio and WABC News in NYC.