New Exhibit at Queens Art Collective Focuses on Consumer Debt

A popular gallery for emerging artists in Queens is highlighting some of their work this week in a show called debt positive. Borough Reporter Ruschell Boone has more.

Sarah Beck is working on a Sand Mandala — a Buddhist inspired piece of art that she's making over the course of 30 days. Like the Buddhist tradition, when it's done she will destroy it. Her piece is of a $1000 bill.

"This is something that could never be sold, or purchased or even moved for that matter," Beck said.

The artwork is one of the centerpieces of the exhibit at the Flux Factory called Debt Positive. The exhibit is an artistic look at how people and the United States are being burdened by debt. The show will also include some upcoming performances.

"We were interested in creating an exhibition that really spurred dialogue about debt because it is often something people feel guilty about or shamed about and don't share it openly," said Caitlin Foley, co-curator of the Debt Positive exhibit.

The curators are former residents of Flux Factory — a popular workspace and gallery for emerging artists in Long Island City.  Flux came together in 1993 when a group of student artists began to show each other their work in a Williamsburg warehouse. 

"It just began as a place where friends were sharing a space and initially it kind of started as parties and then over the course of years and kind of different iteration it gradually became formalized," said Nat Rowe, executive director of Flux Factory. "So it became a residency that is administered through an open call process."

Today they are in a four-story building in Long Island City with an international artist residency.

"We support all different kinds of art practices," Rowe said. "So everything from urban gardeners, to painters."

There are 16 studios billed as affordable workspace for artists. Forty of them work here every year and they can participate in the group and solo exhibits.

Debt Positive runs through June 24 and like all the other events here, it's free.  

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