You are currently viewing Throw Your Art in a Barrel and Roll it: On BCC Gallery by M.A. Mamourian

Throw Your Art in a Barrel and Roll it: On BCC Gallery by M.A. Mamourian


“The climate is healthy. Quality space is available and affordable. The systems for success are in place and working well. But even more important, Philadelphia is livable. You can choose from five professional sports teams, a world-class symphony, 100 museums, the largest municipal park system in the country, and a restaurant renaissance the whole world is talking about.”

—Andrea Fraser, “Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk,” October (Summer, 1991)


Like Œdipus gouging out his eyes after becoming aware of his incestuous sins, so does BCC Gallery blind herself after the sins of the art world (there are too many to begin to fathom). The blind copy of the BCC is a secret message—it is for partisans. So is that of BCC Gallery, the new gallery “opened” by artist Matt Voor. It positions itself fundamentally antithetical to downtown gallery openings—the positive cybernetic loop that opened up sometime in the 90s. But there is no way to stop them, no way to close the opened Pandora’s box, packaged by an underpaid intern.


The gallery opening is, and was, supposed to be the original. “This is all fresh work here, picked from the vine of the recently chosen artist in favour.” Yes, this is a new event, so to speak. But—we are all here, again, to see one other. Not the works per se. If you want to see the works, don’t go to the opening. Someone hides in shame, another is belligerent, perhaps the same person. Many come for the booze, one always shows up for booze—that same guy? Where is everyone going after? After the orgy? Nietzsche: Haven’t I had this lived this event eternally before? And why is everyone in New York? Wasn’t this place supposed to sink into Averno? Or was it supposed to be a fire? A flood? (Cf. The Day After Tomorrow, Emmerich, 2004).

Marc Matchak, Still from “An Intellectual Winter,” for BCC Gallery


I want to name a gallery Reena’s Balding (I don’t want to run it—I want nothing to do with it). Or Reena Sprawling. Or whatever. Who is Hito Steyerl and why does it cost so much for her to have projections of lo-fi videos on walls in Berlin? Is it about the internet? It is perhaps time to move to Italy, with naked men on beaches.


Today, the desire to move into a trash can gallery, à la Malouf, is all the more enticing, with narcs pervading the art world like aliens in Carpenter’s They Live (1988). Few are your friends, fewer are your friends. Only now there is no TV station to raid, à la They Live, no home base—the plague is too widespread. One just wants to sit in a trash can, or a large barrel, like Diogenes the Cynic. When Alexander the Great asked the genius, monastic Diogenes if he wanted anything, upon his visit, the dirty dog merely responded: Yes, please get out of my sunshine. To all the narcs—get out of the sunshine. How else will we get Vitamin D? Injections?


There is no avoiding an injection of more emails. When you see BCC Gallery in your inbox, you didn’t miss a show. There was no show. There will never be another gallery opening. BCC is the dis-embodiment of the lived gallery opening, without the façade of novelty. There is no after party, there are no celebrities. BCC lives there in your box, like a dead gerbil you forgot about. It is a throwback to the internet that was supposed to connect people from disparate places to share creative things. The internet that was supposed to do things (no I am not referencing Hito here).



Exclusive BCC Gallery promotional material, courtesy of Matt Voor


There’s no need, nor want, to go on a tirade against the worn-out notion “elitism” in the “art world”—who cares—elitism is fine, if it’s done well (it’s not). BCC was started by Matt Voor, a visual artist from Florida, based in New York. He “combats” the art-industrial-complex by creating a gallery for “bad” (I say this in passing—meaning perhaps non-professional) art that circulates whenever and might get trashed or spammed, which is what art is for anyway.


Marc Matchak, Still from “An Intellectual Winter,” for BCC Gallery


A critique of art-world elitism is never novel, so no one should ever do it. But when new galleries shoot up like maggots on a festering wound of a dying monk, more should think of alternatives. BCC has thus far showed work by Brittney Rothal, Jamie Lynn Klein, and Melisse Sporn, a videographer from LA. Next week, BCC will be showing “An Intellectual Winter” by Marc Matchak, a painter and writer living in Queens, which covers the depths of winter through the .pdf form.



The Hand of an Artist, Courtesy of BCC


Instead of always remaining in the discrete territories of certain x-town cliques, BCC maintains the prospect to connect lesser known artists with more well-known ones. But do not fear, there will be no deterritorializing here.



Exclusive BCC Gallery promotional material, courtesy of Matt Voor


BCC is in many ways just the logical extension of the trend of art galleries to take smaller spaces, even to the point of parody, e.g. The Wrong Gallery (Mathieu Malouf, yes, again). With an ever-increasing sense of complacency amongst artists and institutions, any so-called outsider artist showing requires a sob-story attached about overcoming personal trials to become an artist.


Voor writes that BCC “does the opposite—encourages submissions from strangers and outsiders to the art world, while maintaining a tight and dedicated follower base of people who actually care because they know that we as an institution seriously value their participation.” It’s about the work, not the person or the story behind the person. Voor’s next goal for the gallery is to create a monthly Patreon, though which the artists pick a different cause to donate funds every month.


There is no saving art, because there’s no saving anything (RIP Notre Dame, RIP Earth—maybe Macron will consider putting a Paul McCarthy butt plug sculpture on top of the new spire) but there is always the possibility of a small project shedding little black lights onto the world, casting shadows where there otherwise wouldn’t be, “the shadows in the background of the morgue…”


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