M A R T I N E Z
 

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P. O. Box 169    New York,  New York  10002     t 212 619 2149  staff@martinezgallery.com
 

PRESS RELEASE
GRAFFITI 207: ART, MEDICINE & DESIGN 

THROUGH JANUARY 29   

 

New York - The Martinez Gallery, in collaboration with Pediatrics 2000, is pleased to present GRAFFITI 207, a unique new approach to art and architecture opening on November 4. 

GRAFFITI 207 is an innovative project that completely rethinks a quotidian and utilitarian environment, turning the neutral surroundings of a pediatrics clinic into a vibrant space uniting art gallery and doctor’s office, conjugating them with disperse and varied disciplines of design, architecture, graphic design, construction and visual art.

The project was born of a prototype made in the South Bronx in 2001 by much the same team that worked on GRAFFITI 207: designers Marleen Kaptein and Stijn Roodnat, curator Antonio Zaya and graphic designer Melanie Van Haaren. Here they were joined by the galleries' graffiti artists Case 2, CoCo 144, Giz, Ghost, KEZ 5, Mösco, Nato, Noxer, Rate, SkufTracy 168 and VFR. After much hard work and collaboration, GRAFFITI 207, will soon be open to the public, a functional primary pediatrics clinic that is more than a clinic; an art gallery that is more than that.

Guided by the sense that “the meaning of the building is more important than to design a nice look,” designers Kaptein Roodnat worked to create a space fundamentally oriented to children, yet unconstrained by common, “adult,” conceptions of what such spaces should be like. Inspired by traditional Dutch canal-side row houses, they designed a kind of vertical playground, flooded with light through windows on the roof and along staircases.

The gallery itself is found on the second floor, at the same level as the elevated subway lines outside. The clattering cars inspired a first, ongoing exhibition: “the Eternal Trains,” artworks depicting the elevated subway line that passes by, each done by a different graffiti artist in a kind of tribute to the moving canvases that launched the graffiti movement. 

For Hugo Martinez, director of the formerly Brooklyn-based Martinez Gallery, GRAFFITI 207 is a realization of his belief that “a gallery can be mobile and active and include social activism as an elemental function.” GRAFFITI 207 is, then, an attempt to create a functional response to a real set of ethical challenges, questioning the traditional bonds of physical space, the roles played by gallerist, doctors, artists and, most importantly, children. In this gallery and clinic the frontiers between all these formalized parts can begin to be transgressed.

In order to develop such a context, the four walls of GRAFFITI 207’s home had to be negotiated between the artists, designers, curator, doctors and others whose experience, voice and vision would shape the final product, creating, ultimately a kind of creative equilibrium.

Together, they have created a new space that surpasses the restrictions of real estate, traditional art galleries, sterile doctor’s offices, street-based graffiti art, and sacred architectural tenets, a bolt of color, graffiti tags and doctor’s charts, in the beating depths of the city.

The project also debuts a special coloring book that will be available to children who visit the clinic. The graffiti-themed book, written by artists Cay 161 and Kez 5, incorporates drawings by 12 graffiti writers.

GRAFFITI 207 is funded and sponsored by Pediatrics 2000, a primary pediatrics group with existing clinics in Manhattan and the Bronx. It is located at 515 West 207th Street, half a block from the 1 train. The Pediatrics 2000 clinic will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and can be reached at 212-544-7777.

 

For questions about GRAFFITI 207, please contact Martinez Gallery at 212-619-2149.