We recently got in touch with Raphael Cohen to discuss his New York City based gallery “space”, Juicys. Juicys “capitalizes on the affordability and ubiquity of the self-storage industry to create temporary gallery situations in high visibility neighborhoods”. Check out what Raph has to say below!
What is Juicys? What prompted you to start the “space”?
Juicys Gallery is a pop up exhibition platform based in New York. Currently, I rent small self-storage units on month-to-month leases and use the space as a gallery. When the show is done, I clean up and move to a different storage facility. Right now I am programming one month solo exhibitions, mostly featuring friends whose work I admire. The smaller space, which I initially thought would be a restriction of the storage unit, has actually presented a boon for most of the artists. It’s difficult but exciting to have to parse such a harsh industrial space that is so small. The trick is that these spaces are in nice, highly developed neighborhoods with lots of foot traffic and often by other galleries. For example, our show this month is on the same block as Paula Cooper, Gladstone and Gagosian in Chelsea. This kind of exposure is fun! and I like that it accords young and emerging artists a visible platform with which to display their work while still maintaining the raw feel of an alternative space.
We love the name. Where did it come from?
There have been so many different names and iterations (this project has been on my mind for a while) but Juicys won out. My friends and I put on a series of shows while we were in school titled ‘Juicy’. There were three of them- Juicy I, Juicy II and Juicy III so Juicys seems to have come out of that a little bit. And the ‘s’ on the end carries no apostrophe, which is a grammatical error borrowed from the English translation of an anime series called “Fruits Basket”. There’s something I find very intriguing about this seemingly naive mistake, leaving the word awkwardly wrong but still understandable. Thanks to various colloquialisms and slang, every context changes ‘Juicys’ slightly. Sometimes it reads as silly surfer argot, other times it means “sexy” or maybe it’s just a name. I like this ambiguity. A malleable word for a malleable world.
You’ve had two exhibitions already. Both artists seem to have a RI connection. What is your connection to Providence/RI?
I went to school at RISD so a lot of my friends who make art stem from that network. I moved to New York after I graduated, but Providence is still a place near and dear to me.
What kind of things/music/stuff inspires you?
Ok, a few things I will happily plug: Rock & Rose is a zine from Baltimore put out by Chloe Maratta featuring writing and art from a menagerie of Baltimore artists and beyond. I love it. Eola is a musician based in Brooklyn (also one half of the band Tonstartssbandht with a voice of gold. Listen to it. Love it. Live it. @AstroPistachio is a very good tweeter that everyone who loves to smile should follow. Neil Bromhall has an excellent YouTube channel featuring beautiful time-lapse videos of flowers blooming. I especially like watching these in the morning. But the best advice I received this week is apropos - “Open your eyes, and then the whole world inspires!”
As an artist, do you have any tips for other artists interested in running spaces?
Yeah, best advice I can give is just do it. For Juicys, things started to click after I put on the first show, because there was no longer time to put anything off. I think it’s best to be a little headstrong in these things and the inevitable contradictions will work themselves out over time.
What’s next for Juicys?
Right now we have an exhibition of work by Flannery Silva, which I’m very excited about. That runs through July 10th (by appointment only). After that Liz Englander will be showing a new body of work created while in residence at CAMAC in France. That show opens mid-July. And then I think I’m going to take August off and try to get a group show together for September.
Gossip Girl or The OC?
I own The OC series box set which is actually a beautiful object itself, and I watch it on repeat in my studio. There are certain episodes that are heartrending (the end of Season 3) and others that are just terrible television (all of Season 4), but I love the nostalgia that The OC offers. And of course, there’s that soundtrack that just melts my heart :_)
Sunsets or “real” art?
Oh! To me they are the same! She doesn’t like to sign them at the bottom but all the sunsets are painted by Mother Nature.
Providence or NYC?
I love living in New York. It’s big and fast and fun. But there will always be a special place in my heart for Providence.