By Grant Moser
Louise wanted her own art gallery for a long time. As an
artist, she made "different art," which opened
her eyes - being an artist was hard enough, but being outside
"mainstream art" made it even harder.
"If you only make strange stuff, you feel even more
outside." Dollhaus is Emma's attempt to provide other
artists like her the opportunity to show their "different"
work. Judging from her first exhibition, she succeeded.
The Empire of S.N.A.F.U. Restoration Project is extremely
unique (and while sometimes disturbing), an excruciatingly
fascinating show. It includes numerous dioramas that are
mechanically-operated and individually-oriented. Meticulously
detailed and beautiful, the show immerses the viewer in
the world of a wanderer, designer and collector.
"I like unusual objects. I like skills, talent, a
certain feel in the work I show. Dark, unusual concepts
that's my taste. I chose S.N.A.F.U. because I wanted something
people had never seen before. I like to make people amazed,
scream, and laugh." She plans to stick with these instincts
on how to chose art. "I never want to compromise my
space with bad art [uninteresting or uninspiring]."
Other instincts of hers originally wanted to open the gallery
in New Orleans. However, she had been in Brooklyn for years
and felt after her investment of time and effort here, she
might as well start here. But she still dreams of having
another gallery in New Orleans someday.
Her time here has afforded her the perspective to look
back on how the neighborhood has changed. She notes that
while it is safer and there is more appreciation of local
art, rents have blossomed and a new slew of stores have
changed the vibe. "It's always bad when artists can't
afford a city."
To help her afford the city, Emma also serves tea. Dollhaus
(named after both her passion for dolls and the first mental
institution for women in Germany) is also a teahaus, if
you will. You can come and have tea, sandwiches, and biscuits
while you gaze at the art. She is running a $4 special right
now: a cheddar cheese and branston pickle tea sandwich,
a pot of Earl Grey, and a plate of biscuits.
hopes this entices people to come to her gallery. Emma also
is hoping to start showing 16mm films during the week as
a bonus. Her hours ( 'til midnight on weekdays and 2am on
the weekends) is also designed to facilitate visits. Six
days a week, people can visit the Dollhaus and sit and wile
away the night.
It's another way of shifting the focus of what we're accustomed
to from galleries.
The Empire of S.N.A.F.U. Restoration Project runs through
August 24. Her next show features a Japanese surrealist
who will construct an intricate installation to lead to
his paintings. That opens Friday, September 13.
Dollhaus is located at 37 Broadway, a block down from Diner
towards the water. It is open Tuesday through Thursday from
2pm to midnight, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2pm
to 2am. For more information, call 718.384.6139 or visit