Sean Alday talks with Tom Weinrich of Interstate Projects
56B: Tell me about how you arrived here.
T: I moved into the building in 2009 with Brendan, who runs Supreme Digital. We just walked into this building and asked where the super was. We shared the space that he works from now because Hudson furniture, which used to rent the entire first floor, was in the process of moving into the basement so the whole floor was opening up.
Later I moved out of there and into this space that we’re in now. I took the corner space [Interstate’s showing room] in January of this year and expanded my woodworking shop. I opened the gallery on March 4th and we’ve had two group shows and three solo-shows so far.
56B: Having been here for two years, what is your sense of the building?
T: It’s a totally different atmosphere from what it used to be. It was loud, messy, with people running around all day, you know, because of the furniture shop. Now it’s so quiet, clean, and there are no fumes [laughs]. It’s much more conducive to what I’m doing with the gallery and what everyone else is doing here. The changeover has been really rapid and pretty drastic.
56B: How did you get into running your own gallery?
T: I used to work at a gallery in Chelsea for about 3 years.
56B: Was this before 2009?
T: Well, around the same time that I started the gallery I quit that job. Now I do the woodshop fulltime and the gallery fulltime. Essentially I gave up one fulltime job to have two. I didn’t care for working there, they weren’t showing work that I truly believed in. It was good to learn there, but also good to leave it behind.
56B: What has been your guiding principle for this Interstate Projects?
T: My main interest lies in a realm of art that uses technology but doesn’t fetishize it, or the objects used, or even the technique the artist uses. I’m interested in the issues surrounding image making. Right now people are using new tools to make a new kind of art. I don’t actually like using the term new-media, it sort relegates it to that section of the art-speak ghetto and separates it from art practice. But that’s how I look for artists and the artists I’ve shown have that in common, they tend to use new tools and it’s not the primary reason that they make artwork. And the other thing is that the people I show who use the new tools are really good at it. Someone like Justin Berry, who has shown here before in a group show and is doing a solo show for Bushwick Open Studios, is a master digital image maker.
[Tom then points to a piece by Mr. Berry hanging on his shop wall. He explains to me that Mr. Berry digitally removed the identifying information from book jackets, sometimes leaving them blank, sometimes using science-fiction novels which leaves behind Frank Frazetta-esque landscapes.]
He’s someone who is really good at what he does technically, but it’s not about that.
So, that’s a long version of what my guiding principle is [laughs].
Demographically, I am showing people in their 20’s and 30’s, a lot of post-MFA graduates doing their first solo shows.
56B: How old are you?
T: I’m 29.
56B: What has been the most prevailing characteristic that you’ve found in the post-MFA culture, at least for people of your generation?
T: I don’t know if there really is one… I mean, except for debt. I haven’t really noticed just one thing. The communities that build up from schools are sometimes very tight-knit and sometimes, it seems that everyone just goes off on their own path. I think that this is a different time for post-grads compared to even five years ago. There isn’t so much star making, it’s much more realistic. It should be and in fact may be focused on artists whose practice is good and who will continue to develop for a long time.
56B: Where do you see Interstate going?
T: I’d like for it to be a fully functioning commercial space. But I’d also like to build a great roster of artists whose work I really like so I can help further their career and develop their talent. The growth of the gallery will hinge on the growth of the neighborhood and of the building.