Founded by John Matos aka Crash and Robert Kantor and directed by Anna Matos, WallWorks NY is a wonderful new gallery space at 39 Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx. While visiting its current – and final – unofficial exhibit, Open Gallery, we had the opportunity to speak to Anna.
When did WallWorks NY open?
We had our first “unofficial” opening exhibition, First Taste, on September 12. Its focus was on promoting street art and graffiti as a viable art form within galleries and museums. Among the many local and international artists whose works were featured were: Daze, Futura, Nick Walker, Stash and TATS CRU members: Bio, Nicer and BG 183. This was followed by Point. Focus. Click. featuring photos – that had never been exhibited before — by such photographers as Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Joe Conzo, David Gonzalez, Lisa Kahane, Francisco Reyes II and Ricky Flores.
This current exhibit, Open Gallery, introduces us to many new artists.
Yes. It’s our final show before our official opening next month. Along with works by emerging local artists in Open Gallery, are artworks in various media by artists from around the country – many of whom had never exhibited their works in a gallery setting before.
How have these “unofficial” openings gone?
The response has been great. And the success that we’ve achieved so far is more than we could have imagined!
Why did you choose to open a gallery in the South Bronx?
Why not the South Bronx? Its history is so rich, and hopefully we will encourage people to visit it.
What is WallWork’s NY’s mission?
In the experimental and explorative vein of Fashion MODA, we want to exhibit new and exciting work from both emerging and established artists.
How did this space come to be?
My father, Crash, had dreamed for a long time of opening a gallery, and I loved the idea of directing one. On our trips into the city, we repeatedly passed this empty space on Bruckner Boulevard – that we saw as a potential site for a gallery. After discussing it with an art dealer in Paris last summer, my father said, “Let’s do it!” And then a partnership with entrepreneur Robert Kantor made it possible for my father to realize his dream.
What experiences and skills do you bring to your position as gallery director?
I grew up around art. As a child, I regularly accompanied by father to his studio – where I would sit and draw. For a long time, in fact, I thought I would be an artist. But as a senior in high school, I discovered that I was more interested in the concepts behind the art than in creating art. I then majored in Art History with a double minor of Philosophy and Black Studies at Fairfield University, and after graduating from college, I studied Art Business at FIT. And in addition to several internships, including one as Special Project Manager the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, I served as a liaison for my father, assisting him in everything from creating a strong social media presence to installing and selling art. I see myself as someone who is committed to each artist’s personal development and financial success — as well as to the success of the gallery.
Our official launch takes place on next Saturday, January 10, with Ikonoklasts, featuring never-before-seen works by three legendary NYC artists: A-One, Dondi White and Rammallzee. Following Ikonoklasts will be our first solo show featuring works on canvas by Nicer of TATS CRU.
That sounds wonderful! We are looking forward!
Interview conducted by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky
1. TATS CRU
2. Anna Matos, gallery director
3. Such Styles
6. John Paul O’Grodnick
7. Stephanie Burr
Note: Open Gallery continues until January 7 at 39 Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx.