The Times, They Are A-Changing
in 1992, Lisa Schroeder was part of Sauce, a Williamsburg
gallery opened by local artists to show what was happening
here. It concentrated mainly on big group shows and was
very laid-back. "We were the slacker gallery,"
she said. "Everything was very loose."
Tragedy struck in 1996 when one of the curators died and
the space shut down for a while, but reopened in 1997 as
FEED. That gallery concentrated on solo and 2-person shows.
As the pace picked up in the neighborhood, so did business
at FEED. Schroeder needed a partner and in 2001 she found
Sara Jo Romero, who had worked at galleries in Manhattan.
Last fall, the gallery changed its name again and Schroeder-Romero
"We look for conceptual art. No decorative pieces.
We like socio-political content. It should have technical
quality with a deep meaning behind it," said Romero.
"The gallery concentrates on emerging artists and mid-career
artists, and we choose to stick with solo shows so we can
give personal attention to the art and show a whole body
of work, not just a piece."
While showing Brooklyn artists for the most part, Schroeder-Romero
has begun branching out and looks for work both nationally
and internationally. This is, in part, a reaction to the
expanding influence of Williamsburg in the art world and
the attention it receives. "The international appeal
of the neighborhood is crazy. It's good for the scene because
exposure is always beneficial for art," said Schroeder.
"So much has changed since I started here almost 10
years ago," she continued. "The landscape has
changed - more restaurants, bars, stores, clubs - all the
additional activities encourage people to make the trip
here that wouldn't have before. And the numbers of galleries
that have opened provide more choice to the viewer. People
will go to their favorite ones; the ones they respond to."
Asked to compare the present scene from the one in 1992,
Schroeder said then the curating was looser, the art more
experimental, more video and performance art was shown,
and it was like a big party celebrating art. "Everybody
knew everybody else. It was simply about the art, not about
the money. We didn't sell a piece for five years, and we
Now, however, things are different, she said. Artists are
still creating but the explosive energy apparent in 1992
isn't here anymore. "I'm seeing a lot more photography
now, large format art. Which is fine. But back then everyone
was producing "found art," using whatever they
found in the trash, on the street, wherever. It's changed."
But Williamsburg is still Williamsburg. Schroeder lives
in the back of her gallery, and rents 4 studios in the building
to local artists. It is that accessibility her and Romero
prize about the area. "The spaces are still funky here.
They're all different. There's no set style that a gallery
has to look like. Any space can be made into a gallery.
I like that and I think it keeps things fresh. I want it
to stay like that; not become a mini-Chelsea," Romero
"Williamsburg is still growing - it's not the best
it can be yet. Sure, it's not underground anymore, but its
influence on the rest of the art world is undeniable, and
it still has its own distinct flavor you don't find in other
art neighborhoods. Everyone that comes here will find something
to take away," Romero said.
Schoeder-Romero's current show is The Story of M,
a photographic documentation of one man's life by Lynn Cazabon.
It runs from March 29 to April 21. The gallery is also participating
in the Paris/Brooklyn Exchange. Galleries in Paris will
show Williamsburg artists and vice versa. On view at Schroeder-Romero
will be work from Galerie Anne Barrault representing contemporary
photography in Paris. It runs from April 26 to June 8.
The gallery is located at 173A North 3rd St. It is open
Friday through Sunday 12-6 and by appointment. For more
information, please call 718.486.8992 or email [email protected].
-- by Grant Moser