New Space Alert: Underdonk in 1717 Troutman

by Talia Shulze

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Underdonk is a project space located in room #201 of 17-17 Troutman Studios. It is an artist run collective dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging and established artists, as well as providing a platform for realizing creative projects. Their inaugural show, Invincible Host opened on June 8th. JJ Manford, one of the members of Underdonk answered a few questions about the new space for me, and offered some tips for other artists looking to do the same. 

Tell us a little bit about the genesis of Underdonk?

Underdonk is an artist run collective. We founded it as a vehicle for thinking through ideas and promoting the work of the artists we believe in. Many of us have organized a handful of shows in recent years, and enjoyed it enough to want to create a platform for us, and other artists, to do this-indefinitely-into the future.

“Invincible Host” is the inaugural show at Underdonk, featuring the work of Liv Aanrud, Alicia Gibson, and Albeliza Perez.  Underdonk is a recently started collective space comprised of artists Chris Bertholf, Tryn Collins, Nicholas Cueva, Laura Frantz, Osamu Kobayashi, Jaeeun Lee, Nicholas Moenich, Peter Park, Linnea Paskow, David Wilson, Elisa Soliven, and myself (JJ Manford).

What is your favorite aspect of starting a gallery space in Bushwick?

As far as art is concerned, I consider Bushwick as a living and working environment for artists of all ages, and stages of their development, rather than a commercial area. As a result, there is a higher sense of (the potential for) discovery that I am attracted to. The stakes are lower, and therefore more risks can be taken.

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Do you have any advice for other artists who are interested in starting a gallery?

Keep it small. If you want to run a larger space, make sure it’s a collective; running a gallery can be a full time job, and artists need a lot of time to make their own work, as well.

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Albeliza Perez

What projects are on the horizon for Underdonk?

Nick Moenich has proposed a small group show of three or so artists for July. I am really excited about the line-up he has put together for it.  

What are some of your favorite art spaces in Bushwick?

Sardine, Regina Rex, Bull and Ram, Norte Maar, Parallel Art Space, Storefront, TSA, and artists Joy Curtis and Mike Olin’s apartment (formerly named Beta Space and Pioneers of Inspiration).