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TRIBES GALLERY | 285 East Third Street btw C&D | New York | Opening May 5th, 9 -11 pm
Screening of Clayton Patterson's documentary  CAPTURED on May 21st, 9 -11 pm
Poster +++ Review +++ Comment +++ About Tribes


93 'til infinity | invitation

Experience MIRF and the Peter Pan Posse transform legendary Lower East Side gallery, Tribes, into a nineties time capsule. The space will be bombed floor to ceiling by some of New York’s most loved (or hated) graffiti artists. Renowned LES documenter, Clayton Patterson, will display photos from the early nineties as life-sized images mounted on the graffitied walls. Come celebrate the history of the Lower East Side we love and miss with the legends who saw it all, in a gallery that helped make it what it was and continues breathing life into what it is. - Curated by Jessie Mac

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Review by Ray Lemoine
A Word With the 23-Year-Old Curator of ’93 Til Infinity,’ Closing Tonight
in: THE LOCAL EAST VILLAGE | New York | May 31, 2012

Jessie Mac | photo by Clayton PattersonJessie Mac is one of New York’s youngest curators. Tonight at 9 p.m., her third show at Gathering of the Tribes, “’93 Til Infinity,” closes with a party featuring a screening of “Captured,” the 2008 documentary about photographer,  curator, and  local historian Clayton Patterson. The exhibition features Mr. Patterson’s early-90s photos of the Lower East Side amid floor-to-ceiling graffiti work by Mint&Serf of the Peter Pan Posse art collective. Ms. Mac spoke with The Local about working with Steve Cannon, the founder of Tribes who is  fighting to hold onto the space.

Q. How did you wind up as curator of Tribes?
A. I started working at Tribes a year ago as an intern when I met Steve Cannon. We cut a deal: if he taught me to curate I would dedicate my time to Tribes. It’s a non-profit so Steve is always in need of an extra hand. I never thought a blind man would be my artistic mentor, but I honestly would not be a curator without him. He taught me everything I know in the New York art scene. When people ask how he feels about not knowing what’s on the walls in his own space he says I’m his eyes. But I would have no direction without him.

Gallery goers | photo by Clayton PattersonQ. At 23 you are one of the youngest curators downtown. Is there added pressure to produce or does your youth allow you to work with less expectations - or both?
A. Tribes gallery is very different from other spaces. Foremost, we have a seasoned veteran sleeping on the couch greeting attendees upon arrival with Georgi in hand; so off the bat it’s a non-conventional space that breeds non-conventional exhibitions. Steve allows me to go ahead with any ideas I have. This really takes the pressure off. I know without Steve I would not have the opportunity to curate at such a young age. So there is pressure to prove myself, but I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t from experience.

Q. What is the genesis of the current show?
A. The streets of L.E.S. when you were too afraid to walk them - when art was created as an escape from disaster rather than an entrance into Chelsea. The way things were before Steve was getting run out of his building. Clayton has documented the Lower East Side for as long as Steve has had Tribes. And all these graffiti writers are what’s left of it. I wanted to bring all of the aspects of classic L.E.S. into one room. There were a lot of underground legends at the opening, including Steve and Clayton themselves - all hanging out in one historical space. This aspect of the city is being run out. It’s important to hold on to what’s left. This is what Clayton does every day with his camera, and this is what we did with the show. It was classic and that’s what we hoped for.

Do you plan to go into curation as a career now that you’ve graduated?
A. I graduated for philosophy. Every show I do I like to focus on one theory or concept and make the show experiential rather than just an outlet for selling an artist’s work. I would like to take that a step further; continue curating, but go into an outsider-art direction. Schizophrenic art, prison art … or no art at all.

Clayton PattersonYou went through a dark period recently. Can you explain the pathos of that moment and how you came out of it? Did it help or hurt your creativity?
A. This scene cultivates a lot of whiz minds and artistic innovators, all of whom acknowledge that this potential is pretty meaningless in 2012. As Clayton said to me most everyone at the opening was a living legend, but also on the wanted list. There’s a fine line between the two, and most creative people are walking it. It’s opportunities like these that remind us we’re doing the right thing, and that keeps us sane. Clayton, PPP, and Steve Cannon - they all keep it real. They are what make NYC the place to move to. People want to become a part of this dynamic while the OGs and creators are being evicted or getting arrested. This paradox is defeating. But we’ll all keep doing what we do.


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Comment by Clayton Patterson

May 31, 2012 8:41 pm | Jessie blew me away with what she pulled off. The opening was intimate and there was not even a dash of the uber-cool art types, & no Paris Hilton’s, or Lady Gaga’s, but if one has any knowledge of underground legends this night was to get an introduction. As Jessie says: “some are still on the run.” Still keeping it real. A slice of the names I can mention are: COST (yes COST!)- REMO- (, CH (Charlie Hustle)- the Peter Pan Posse- Mint and Serf- and others who I will not name. Of course OG Steve Cannon is the man- no question about that. I have seen a number of shows which has used graffiti covered walls as a backdrop to an exhibition- but what Mint & Serf pulled off is one of the most authentic jobs I have witnessed- I guess the fact that it was all legends who marked the walls is the reason why. No question Jessie made my day- for this I say thanks Jessie- 2 thumbs up.

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About Tribes

A Gathering of the Tribes is an arts and cultural organization dedicated to excellence in the arts from a diverse perspective. Located on the Lower East Side of New York City, Tribes has been in existence since 1991. In that year, Steve Cannon, poet, playwright, novelist, and retired professor from the City University of New York, converted a portion of his apartment into an informal salon. Despite his loss of eyesight to glaucoma, he encouraged the exchange of alternative points of view traditionally overlooked by mainstream media. The ideas raised in the discussions served as inspiration to the pieces later published in A Gathering of the Tribes Magazine.

In 1993, a further transformation of the space by Dora Espinoza, a Peruvian photographer, produced Tribes Gallery. Since then, Tribes has evolved into a performance venue and meeting place for artists and audiences to come together across all artistic disciplines, all levels of complexity, and all definitions of difference. In this pan-disciplinary, multi-cultural environment, artists exchange ideas, create peer relationships and find mentorship. Through Tribes’ publications, readers encounter a unique synthesis of literature, visual art, criticism and interviews with promising artists of all kinds. In an attempt to attract a wider audience for these artists, Tribes additionally organizes an annual outdoor event — The Charlie Parker Festival — to engage members of the community who have seldom, if ever, attended literary or artistic events.

Tribes reflects and celebrates the fluidity and diversity of contemporary society. Tribes’ audience comprises every possible ethnic group, age group, religion and income level. The artists Tribes serves are similarly diverse. Tribes not only serves various communities, it actually creates a community. Artists bring their own audiences to Tribes for their events, where they meet and interact with Tribes’ larger audience.

Tribes Gallery | 285 East Third Street btw C&D | Walk-in Hours 12-5, Tuesday-Friday
Or By Appointment 908 603 7517

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