As I walked the warehouses with the feeling that it was the end of the low-budget era, I asked myself if that would be so bad. Hundreds of poorly climate-controlled cubicles housing hundreds of lackluster artists; I imagined them all washed away on a hurricane of wealthy redevelopment. Priced out of warehouse space, they would be forced to work in their basements or kitchens where they could enjoy their pastime without troubling the rest of us. Would that be a bad thing?
One of the main reasons artists rent warehouse space is to give themselves credibility in their own eyes. I remember my first space, on the top floor of Riverside Mills in Providence, Rhode Island. It was a huge, decrepit timber and stone mill building, shambling along towards the inevitable fire (which luckily happened a few years after I left). The first floor housed a couple of serious businesses making plastic bags and ball bearings, the second floor was honeycombed by little companies making junk jewelry (a mainstay of the Rhode Island economy), and, at the very top, artists' studios.
Elaine Bradford was too busy to set up her CSAW studio, her show having just opened at Lawndale's Mezzanine Gallery. That's her mom deciding where to hang the enormous crochet-encased deer head.
I appreciate the gray background, and the pentimento of a fourth stripe visible just to the right of the visible stripes.
also by Bill Davenport
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