It’s time to say farewell to yet another 14th Street NW fixture this weekend: Irvine Contemporary is leaving the neighborhood after five pretty great years on a busy stretch surrounded by Studio Theatre and Churchkey. But spare them the tears.
The gallery is going out on Saturday with a block party that will feature DJs including Will Eastman and Yoko K, beers from Flying Dog, and art by some its best-known artists. Saturday’s going-away party will begin at 6, with DJs showing up around 7 p.m.; the gallery has been billing the bash ending around the time “the cops come.”
In a way, it’s a fitting goodbye for the gallery, which has brought the neighborhood works by contemporary artists with a definite edge, including DJ Spooky, street art collective Faile, and photographers such as Warhol compatriot Gerard Malanga.
But the departure of Irvine Contemporary from 14th Street NW leaves a gaping hole in our awesome 14th Street Neighborhood Guide. And readers, we want you to help fill it. Vote now to tell us what should replace Irvine on the guide to the best stops on 14th or let us know in the comments, and we’ll add it (we’re also giving a long overdue nod to Churchkey.)
As for the future of Irvine, we caught up with gallery director Lauren Gentile, who chatted with us about coming plans and what will happen to the Shepard Fairey wheatpastings and Gaia murals that adorned the alley behind the gallery.
Those works, she says, will be left behind. “It’s part of street art,” Gentile said. “Pieces will fall off. Additions will be made.”
Gentile said the gallery was thriving despite the economy; in an e-mail, owner Martin Irvine noted that the gallery had cultivated many young, new collectors. But the rent, Gentile explained, had more than doubled.
Gentile will leave the Washington gallery scene, but Irvine isn’t closing for good. The gallery will curate two upcoming shows at the new arts space Montserrat House. A two-week exhibition of fine art photography by musician Moby will open in October, with a public event on Oct. 27; and, in September, Irvine will curate a show of work by the muralist Gaia at the space and participate in the Emerge Art Fair.