In Dialogue with Henry Klimowicz, founder and director
The Re Institute is an extension of Henry Klimowicz’s studio, a very large 1960s dairy barn outside of Millerton, New York. About 11 years ago sculptor Henry Klimowicz started the gallery as a response to living in the “center of nowhere”, as he puts it. The artist says that the gallery allows him to have extended working relationships with other artists and their work. “I try not to know what a show will be about before it opens and I get to spend the length of the exhibition becoming aware of all of each show’s nuances,” he says about his curatorial process. A normal season at Re Institute includes 4 to 5 shows, which mostly feature 2 to 3 artists showing in the large space upstairs and another person downstairs. “I try to get each artist to have a specific reason for showing in the gallery outside of the possibility of selling work,” he says. This fits his vision of Re Institute as a non-profit institution. It’s important for him that the featured artists will find reasons to use the space uniquely. “There has to be something in the process of showing an artist that brings depth to the artist’s understanding of their own work or the process of exhibiting their work,” he says. These different ways of interacting with each artist have become the most important aspect of the space for him.
Lothar Osterburg’s body of work in the recent show at The Re Institute spans two decades. Tell me about the work
In the last show Lothar Osterberg was able to embed into the walls of the gallery a number of models that he uses to photograph and then make photogravure prints from. We found that when the audience came into the show they would first spend some time with the prints. Then they would find the embedded objects behind the wall. After looking at the objects that are the subjects of the photogravure prints the viewer became more aware of the processes and the beauty of the prints themselves. My hope is that the next time Lothar shows his prints he’ll be able to ask the gallery to install one or two of his models / tools. I imagine a dialogue between Lothar and the dealer where Lothar will have the conviction to ask for this disruption to the gallery space. That’s the kind of learning that I find the gallery can facilitate.
Brenda Zlamany’s show opened in July and runs through September 18th . What is the premise behind it and what will the viewer see?
In the case of Brenda Zlamany’s show, the curation of the 400+ images that are displayed on the walls allowed Brenda to examine 11 years worth of work and then to experience the project in one very large room. This allowed her to see the totality of the process that she’s been undertaking. This show also allowed Brenda to see the changes in the painting style and facility of the past 11 years. Sometimes seeing the past of one’s work allows for new directions to the present way one works.
Brenda Zlamany, view of bird paintings, 2021; photo courtesy of Brenda Zlamany
Together in Isolation is a large-scale outdoors show. What would you like to share about it?
The outdoor show Together in Isolation was a response to Covid and my inability to have an indoor show in the 2020 season. I started by thinking that an outdoor show would be wonderful but that it normally feels as if outdoor shows are limited in their material or scope or inclusion. When I came up with the idea of supplying each artist with a plastic box that I had altered, it allowed anyone to participate.
The show currently has drawings, photographs and sculptural objects outdoors. Each piece is buried in the ground, and has a solar light that illuminates the inside of the box in the evening. The works are arranged in chronological order in the landscape. When the viewer comes to see the show they are forced to walk in the dark and listen to the environment around them. The viewer moves from one pool of light to the next, slowly acquiring the totality of the show. The process of burying and the process of separation between each box mirrored the early intensity of the Covid epidemic. Many of the artists made short videos of themselves with their box. This was an attempt to bring some context of a larger community to the project.
Currently there are approximately 90 participants. Every box that was submitted was accepted and the project will continue until September 18th, when I will take the boxes out of the ground and store them below the floor of the gallery space. The pieces will be in storage for the next 10 to 15 years after which time I will reinstall them outside. I believe that this will produce a unique time capsule of this unique time and the artistic thinking of a cross-section of people. Many of the boxes have unique experiences embedded in them.
For instance, Orestes Gonzalez’s piece made in June of 2020, captures a sense of mortality that was present at the time. Gonzalez faced his own mortality by attempting to hold onto his memories of his mother and her beautiful struggle to provide a life for him and his siblings as she came to America from Cuba. I personally find this quite poignant in that it points to how we as humans can find ourselves worrying more about the memories we have of the people we’ve loved than our own personal mortality.
I think for many of the artists the project allowed to begin the process of making art again. Or at least to have a place to process an extremely difficult time. When I told my mother about the project she said “it will be as If the stars are in the ground.” I think she immediately got the project.
Milwuakee born sculptor Henry Klimowicz is the founder of the independent space Re Institute in Millerton and has been running it for the past eleven years. Henry Klimowicz got his BFA from the University of Wisonsin Milwaukee, and his MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He has been a colonist at Skowhegan School of Art, Millay, Yaddo, and McDowell.
Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She founded Art Spiel as a platform for highlighting the work of contemporary artists, including art reviews, studio visits, interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. For more details contact by Email: email@example.com