99 Cent Store Turned Art Gallery Invokes Confusion, Offense Among Local Artists

November 13, 2014 1 836 Art, News
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If you’ve walked past the 99 Cent Plus store on Wilson Avenue hoping to buy a few cheap frames and a shower curtain liner, you’ve undoubtedly been disappointed to find that it’s nothing more than just another rando art gallery. But it isn’t just would-be patrons of affordable wares who are offended by the gallery–it’s the artists, too.

Exterior of art gallery located at 238 Wilson Avenue

Exterior of art gallery located at 238 Wilson Avenue

When approached to display in the space, many artists were not forewarned by gallery owner Celeste Dupe that their work would be inhabiting, for all intents and purposes, a defunct store that once sold cheap shit. The Burning Bush got a chance to speak to one of the artists, finger painter Ian Morrissey, previously involved in Bushwick Open Studios 2.0, who bemoaned, “There I was thinking this person genuinely thought the world of my work, when, in fact, she obviously sees it as something tawdry. That’s what she must think to ask me to display it in a 99 cent store. That’s what she thinks my work–and the work of other artists–is worth.”

People who thought they were crowding in to buy cheap-o items, but instead got stuck looking at art

People who thought they were crowding in to buy cheap-o items, but instead got stuck looking at art

When The Burning Bush asked Dupe if there was any malicious intent behind her decision to leave the 99 cent sign on the gallery, she insisted, “I thought I was playing into the Bushwick aesthetic. I didn’t know these artists were going to be so touchy about it, Jesus. If it’s that big of a deal to them, I’ll fucking take it down… but if we’re being totally frank, some of the art created in Bushwick is worth less than 99 cents.”

Written by Genna Rivieccio

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