PRESS RELEASE - IMMEDIATE RELEASE --world record and art exhibit


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Two Fingers Gallery proudly presents

Claiming to be the World's Smallest Human-Enterable Art Gallery, Two Fingers Gallery in New York City features its inaugural exhibit, "Give an Inch", until October 1, 2012. The five artists in the show are: Betty Tompkins, whose art is in the permanent collection of Paris' Centre Pompidou; Terry Ward, whose art is the Al Gore collection and also in the selective permanent display collection of the Carter Center; and Peter Reginato, whose creations appeared in “Art in America” and “Architectural Digest”. Also in the show: Adrienne Moumin, whose art recently appeared at the “Architectural Digest” Home Design Show; and Robert Chapman, who participated in "Single Fare 2" at Sloan Fine Art.

Artist Terry Ward organized the exhibit and is a key planner for the unusual venue which has less than two-and-a-quarter square inches of usable floorspace --but which still allows visitors to "enter" the gallery. Whether the official record-keepers at Guinness will validate the record claim remains to be seen. An official record application passed the initial hurdles and was transferred to the Guinness internal system, where further consideration is pending.

The exhibit title, "Give an Inch" refers to the gallery's own tiny size and also to the artist-invitation process in which select image-makers were asked to allow a tiny reproduction of their art (likely only an inch across) to be attached to the gallery walls. Organizer Ward said, “I wanted serious artists of merit who also have a sense of humor; one needs a certain merry outlook to react well when asked to show in a gallery smaller than a lunchbox.” Two Fingers Gallery occupies part of an empty light switch housing which is mounted at a convenient height along the sidewalk. Two of the metal box’s “knockouts” (originally meant for electrical wire conduits) have been punched out to make finger-access holes in the “gallery” floor. A window lets viewers see the art while also “entering” –-putting a fingertip inside. Maximum occupancy: two fingertips. “I considered applying jokingly for tiny building permits and other such, but I doubted I could locate sufficiently whimsical City bureaucrats in time –-but, oh, I did fantasize about getting an official letter saying, ‘maximum occupancy: zero’.”

Artist Betty Tompkins, who is best known for realistic XXX-rated paintings, selected a PG-rated image: a grayscale close-up of a couple kissing. In the exhibit, Tompkins’ kissers are watched uneasily by artist Adrienne Moumin’s image: a black-and-white photo of eyes and a mouth (no other facial features) projected onto a smooth three-lobed sculptural form. Organizer/artist Terry Ward’s multi-panel painting called Series 340 --a swirling blue-green abstract color storm-- fills the back wall. Artist Peter Reginato shows a gushy, funky color-shapes painting. Robert Chapman’s image resembles a painting but actually the red image with scratchy green lines is a close-up color photo of a rusting car fender –a picture from Chapman’s Urban Lament series.

The pictures:

Betty Tompkins [ ] showing a mini image of:
Kiss Painting.
(Original: 2007 acrylic on paper 28"x28".)

Terry Ward [ ] showing a mini image of:
Series 340 (Puppy).
(Original: 2012 mixed media painting on 4 omnidirectional panels each 12"x78" —overall dimensions variable.)

Peter Reginato [ ] showing a mini image of:
(Original: 2012 enamel painting on wood 72"x57".)

Adrienne Moumin [ ] showing a mini image of:
Coo by Tony Oursler at Metro Pictures from Moumin's "Decade in a Day" series.
(Original: 2003 photograph.)

Robert Chapman [ ] showing a mini image of:
Urban Lament #158.
( Original: 2010 photograph.)

Two Fingers Gallery is not the first venue to get notice by being tiny. New York City's Family Business gallery is small indeed at around 120 square feet of floorspace. New York’s short-lived Wrong Gallery was smaller but no longer exists. The "closet" galleries of Paris (and also lately of Amsterdam's red light district) often have only six or seven square feet. But at less than two-and-a-quarter square inches of usable floorspace, Two Fingers Gallery aims to be the World's Smallest Human-Enterable Art Gallery.

Smallness raises a question: when does the space stop being a gallery and instead become a mere container? In theory, one could place a tiny artwork inside an emptied medicine gel-capsule and call it a "gallery" —but is it? Ward contends that the ability for a person to physically enter a gallery space is crucial; since one cannot go inside a capsule-space, it is not a true gallery. (Likewise, putting art inside a thimble would not qualify since one could not view the art while "entering" by inserting a finger.)
However, where does one draw the line about entering a gallery? How much of one's body must get inside in order for there to have been a human "entry"? One could set one foot inside an established full-size gallery and perhaps consider it as having "entered" the interior —even if just barely. Of course one should also be able to see the art while doing so —since seeing the art is the presumed reason for going to a gallery. Putting a foot in the door and peeking through the cracked-open door (or just glancing through a glass door) could certainly count. But why is the human foot the default measure? Is the phrase “setting foot in” a place to be the only standard?

The gallery blog says:
I) The gallery must exhibit art which must be visible to at least one (preferably more than one) viewer at a time.
II) The gallery must be able to be entered by at least one (preferably more than one) viewer at a time; however the phrase "enter" need not mean to enter with the whole body —entry by a body part shall be permissible as long as the person "entering" is still able simultaneously to view some of the art.
III) A body part as small as a finger or a sub-unit thereof shall be permissible —as long as art is still visible to that visitor per II above.

At Two Fingers Gallery, art is viewed from the outside through a window —as if looking through a ground floor gallery's display window. A viewer may simultaneously "enter" the gallery by inserting up to two fingertips through holes in the floor (or two viewers may each look while inserting one fingertip per person —there being two entry holes planned).

Flexible mesh covering the floor's finger-entry holes is meant to keep out wasps and other insects which enjoy nesting in protected small spaces.
Being too small to hold any staff inside, the gallery usually operates in an unattended mode --and therefore will be more vulnerable to vandals than typical galleries. Therefore, rather than installing original art, the venue shows mini reproductions without cash value affixed to the walls and protected with a layer of clear plastic material.

Unless the tiny venues are vandalized or removed before the closing date, "Give an Inch", runs until October 1, 2012. There are two locations showing the same group of images.

Two Fingers Gallery in Chelsea:
SW Corner of 23rd Street & 10th Avenue, NY, NY 10011
Across 23rd Street from Jim Kempner Fine Art; Attached to north guy-pole of second 10th Avenue tree from the corner.
GoogleMap :

Two Fingers Gallery in the Lower East Side:
78 East Houston Street, NY, NY 10012
At the Bowery Mural Wall (NW Corner of Houston & Bowery); Attached to Billy's Antiques and Props / Lot 76 east fencepost.)
(StreetView mural image is not current)

The art is exhibited for entertainment / educational / farcical purposes only; there will no artwork sales. Two Fingers gallery does not "represent" any of the exhibited artists; exhibiting at Two Fingers does not infringe on any existing artist-gallery representation relationships. Those seeking sales or news information may contact the artists through their respective websites or art dealers.