arts 04.9.03

White Box

When White Box founder and director Juan Puntes chose the below-street-level location for his not-for-profit exhibition space, it was filled with a furnace and a mound of dirt that the janitor used instead of a ladder when he needed to service the machine. After a renovation (furnace and dirt out, a coat of white paint in), Mr. Puntes opened White Box in 1998. It is not your ordinary spit-and-polish, sky-lit Chelsea gallery.

It shows in the exhibitions. Since they don't sell, the lack of commercial pressure allows for a more personal sense of what goes on display. There is often a focus on something local, while relating to broader, more international situations. Seminars and other events are designed to underscore the connection between contemporary art and aesthetic and ethical issues.

Coming up will be "Code Red", a series of programs looking at sexual workers (especially what happened to the Chelsea prostitutes before the galleries moved in) and "B.Q.E.", which will show artists from Brooklyn and Queens. White Box, 525 W. 26th [10th/11th] 212.714.2347,

Sally-Ann Rowland has spent the past year as the Australian representative in P.S. 1's studio program, producing a seductive and seditious exhibition of carefully embroidered and beaded samplers. They're not your traditional needlework. Each one contains a motto and a flower or plant which, lovely as they are, are all toxic in some way: poison ivy, nightshade and belladonna, and a couple of deadly mushrooms. The phrases range from the passive-aggressive "Just Kidding" to "It Matters To Me" (some of a gunman's final words before a rampage at the University of Arizona). The emotionally distancing, even disturbing, phrases come in ironically appealing colors and glittery beads. Ms. Rowland's work is on view at the Ziehersmith Gallery, 531 W. 25th [10th/11th] 212.255.0202, through May 3. A group show of the P.S. 1 artists will run from May 11-June 16, at P.S. 1, 22-15 Jackson [46th] LIC, 718.784.2084.

We have a little gremlin that's messing up the dates on the articles. Should be fixed soon.

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