Nyehaus is pleased to present INDICA. The contemporary art scene is not immune to the harsh commercial realities of today. In London and New York, with galleries opening and closing every week, competition is tough. At the same time, museums and public spaces often give the impression of competing for patrons and sponsorship, sometimes it seems that all our leading lights do is try to stay ahead of the rest and fundraise.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Acknowledged as the first experimental art space in London, John Dunbar’s Indica gallery, in existence from November ‘65 – November ‘67, was born into a far more uncynical time. Open for barely two full years, Indica (from ‘Indications’ – somewhere to go) set the controls for the heart of experimental art in Britain. During its short life, Indica encouraged collaboration and ‘free flow’ rather than competition. With groundbreaking shows by Takis, Mark Boyle, Julio Le Parc, Liliane Lijn, Jesus Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Yoko Ono, Indica was very much ‘of the moment’. A teenage Marc Bolan ran errands, Paul McCartney helped knock in nails. Polanski and Antonioni, Burroughs and Ginsberg hung out. International Times got started in the basement. John met Yoko there.
With Dunbar programming the art and co-founder Barry Miles, ‘Miles’, taking care of the bookshop, Indica was an experiment. An experiment in terms of art itself and, importantly, in how it could be presented and interpreted. All of the gallery’s artists were new, untried and untested. And as for the gallery-goers – some got it, some no doubt missed it, but all remember it.
But what if you took that moment and transplanted it into the complex pick’n’mix world of New York right now? What would it be like to revisit an exhibition space from another era? One gallery becomes another. A shining light of sixties free expression is transported to a harsher, more business-orientated art environment. Then, take a select group of emerging young artists from now who are creating work influenced by artists from Indica then, at the height of ‘free flow’, that optimistic, sparking, pre-hippy time – November ‘66.
How does it look? How does it feel? Does Indica still turn you on?
Your chance to find out. From November 2007, Nyehaus becomes Indica; lock, stock and barrel. Indica descends Tardis-like on Gramercy Park, forty years after it disappeared into thin air. You’ll be able to walk through the exhibits; see, feel and hear how it was then. An antidote to a more cynical world.
It’s not the whole story, for the whole story, like many truly ‘good’ stories are, in part probably too unraveled and tragic to be told, at least not quite yet anyway. So this is a version. The story of a divine name, divine ambition, the blessed partners who made it happen, and of course the magical time in which it lived.
So Indica re-appears at Nyehaus, exhibiting one piece of work by each of the artists shown in the original gallery alongside a selection of responses by London’s and New York’s most adventurous and imaginative young art stars. Nyehaus becomes Indica. Temporarily. A chance to relive, revise and read up almost forty years to the day. The story begins Thursday, November 8th. Don’t miss it this time around. Nyehaus becomes Indica is a Riflemaker London exhibition and is curated by Tot Taylor & Virginia Damtsa.