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ALIFE and KINZ + TILLOU Fine Art | 197 Rivington Street | New York | NY 10002 | Sept 24 to Nov 8, 2009
INFORMATION: ALIFE PRESENTS and KINZ + TILLOU FINE ART are proud to announce CLAYTON PATTERSON: L.E.S. CAPTURED, a co-produced exhibition that focuses on Patterson's 30-year documentation of the dramatically transitioned Lower East Side neighborhood of New York City. The exhibition features select photographs, a digital showcase of Patterson's Front Door portraits and screening of "The Documentarian", a short from the widely acclaimed recent feature-length documentary, Captured, a film by Ben Solomon, Dan Levin, Jenner Furst.
A documentarian by choice and community activist by circumstance, Patterson's career spans 30 years of dedicated and compulsive photographic capture of the neighborhood and its community. From documenting the 1988 Tompkins Square Park Police Riot—which earned him both jail-time and Oprah airtime—to photographing individuals posed in front of his gallery door on Essex Street, Patterson is the eyes of the Lower East Side.
His massive body of work is akin to an anthropologic visual catalog of record. The pictures are strikingly honest depictions of Lower East Side kids, families, thugs, lovers, drug dealers and users, disenfranchised artists, and others that would otherwise disappear from collective memory. They effectively preserve the rich culture that embodied the neighborhood during a socially and economically depressed period of New York City, and as it experienced rapid gentrification. They show an unedited humanity upfront and close-up. Each picture represents a door to a fascinating story, one that he can annotate with a sharp recollection and sensitive perspective.
In his Front Door book Patterson states: "For me, taking the front door photos was magic. It was like touching someone's soul. We were sharing a moment in time together, in a very intimate and deep way. I always felt a union, a deep connection and respect for my subjects. We were one. We were exploring our inner selves to each other. I was saving a presence, a spirit, the image of a person from the moment, the here and now, for the future. All of us were the Lower East Side."
Born in 1948 in Calgary Canada, Patterson and his companion Elsa Rensaa came to New York City in 1979. Since 1983, they have lived in the building they purchased on Essex Street, which by 1986 also served as the as the home of the Clayton Gallery and Outlaw Museum, showing artists outside the mainstream. An ardent community advocate, Patterson also co-founded the New York Tattoo Society of New York and helped win the fight to legalize tattooing in the City.
The CLAYTON PATTERSON: L.E.S. CAPTURED exhibit is one of a 3-part celebration of Patterson's work and legacy: A book signing and theatre-screening will soon be announced.
Aside from Patterson's striking photographs, also available during the exhibition are: The Front Door Book, published by O.H.W.O.W and featuring a wide collection of Patterson's Front Door portraits, and well as numerous essays written by Patterson narrating his experiences in the Lower East Side; the Captured DVD; and collectible T-shirts and buttons—all in the spirit of the neighborhood's grittier and tumultuous past.
The Artist's opening reception will take place on Thursday September 24, from 7 to 10 PM at ALIFE PRESENTS at 157 Rivington Street; a private reception will be held concurrently in the ALIFE Courtyard at 158 Rivington Street.
ABOUT THE GALLERY: ALIFE is a Lower East Side, New York-based creative workshop and Downtown-lifestyle retailer founded in 1999. Recognized as a worldwide leader in design and promotion of innovative high-quality, culturally-relevant products and projects, Alife has produced numerous collaborative projects with artists and brand partners. Alife has flagship locations in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Tokyo. ALIFE PRESENTS is a gallery space where chosen artists and select brands alike are invited to create and showcase ideas. Via Alife Presents, the ALIFECREATIVE team curates and produces art exhibits, product collaborations and conceptual retail installations.