SC: Could you talk a little about the formation of Ortega y Gasset Projects? How did the members of the collective find each other, and how did you decide on its name?
I think oyg was really the brainchild of Leeza… she may be able to talk about what was the first motivation to suggest it, and rally the folks… I think that some folks knew each other, but for many of us the connection was through Leeza. The name thing is more a thing of myth… I personally liked the idea of it being this somewhat obscure philosopher and how that worked in the context of being this collective space, with a somewhat implied unifying vision. Honestly, I didn’t know his work before joining oyg, and so it made me discover it and I still love Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia.
In a sense, I feel like we are making art in the circumstance of what the world is today, and I love that we are strategizing, reacting and brainstorming around this de-centered vision with a central interface in New York. (Sheilah)
Yes, I really like how Sheilah put it!
I’d only like to add that choosing a name was probably the hardest decision we had to make as a group. In the end Ortega y Gasset suited almost everyone due to its somewhat mysterious allusion and humorous ring. (Leeza)
SC: Does the group have a curatorial focus? What kind of themes or concepts drive the programming at OyG? And how do you find the artists that you decide to show?
I don’t think there is a curatorial focus per se; everyone brings something different; different interests, different expertise, etc. I would say that we are universally engaged with contemporary art, interested in bringing forward lesser known artists and perhaps thinking about the space as a place where things can happen that wouldn’t have a chance to happen in the white cube gallery environment. I am, personally, very interested in what happens when artists get to curate shows. (Sheilah)
I agree with Sheilah, the thread of Ortega Y Gasset programming is artists taking on the role of curator. There is an interesting space there. I curated my first show last March. As anyone that has curated before knows there is months and months of thinking and planning, and then there is the physical work and coordinating everyone together. There was a good 2 months where I was not able to do much of anything in my studio because all of my attention was on the curating. Now that I am back in the full swing of my studio practice I see the influence of thinking as a curator. (Zahar)
Each OyG artist-member who curates a show selects artists that are important and meaningful to his/her practice. This way, even though we don’t show our own work at the gallery, we get to interact with artists who matter to us, expand our network and knowledge of other artists through each show, and provide an alternative platform from the commercial gallery scene. (Leeza)
What has the reception been to your work with OyG? How has the community in Brooklyn responded?
We have been welcomed by the Brooklyn community. OyG has developed a great relationship with other spaces in the area such as Trestle Projects.
What is next for OyG? What types of shows might we expect to see in the coming year?
Ortega y Gasset member Eric Hibit is curating a show “Color Against Color” that opens the simultaneously with Satellite Squared, Migrational Methods & a Romantic Gonzo Gesture. Also opening in our project space is George Rush’s site specific installation “Windows, Curtains, Wall, Painting”. Every month a new show will go up in our space along with other satellite shows. There are some great opportunities coming up for OyG this year. (Zahar)
We are also excited to take part in Gowanus Open Studios and Gowanus BEAT NITE (October 16-18, 2015) (Leeza)