By Danielle Winterton
Featuring paintings, collages, sculptures and photographs by artists who were born and raised in four of the five boroughs, the show not only promises a wide range of subject matter and content, but also represents common experiences shared by those who have lived through the Abraham Beame and Ed Koch administrations and witnessed the vast change the city has undergone in the last three decades.”The fact is that New York is mostly made up of non-New Yorkers,” said curator Justin Waldstein, whose paintings are also featured in the exhibition. We have had so many shows featuring outsiders that we thought, why not do a show for people who actually grew up here?”The show was put together through a network of native artists, Waldstein said, and he commented that a common thread that runs through the exhibition is of brutality: “There's something violent coming out,” he said, “either overt violence or implied,” from the giant paintings of rotting chickens by Alex Bevington, to the photos of Iraqi suicide bombers taken by Newsday photographer Alan Chin.Local Project opened three years ago in April and functions as an open arts and education space, the mission of which is to foster “synergy between art and the public.””We receive projects and portfolios and we try to host as much as we can,” said Carolina Penafiel, contact for shows, arts and exhibitions for the project. “We try to achieve our mission every day with every show and are an open space, artist-wise – we host a wide range of artists, multi-ethnic, multi-gender and try to work as a platform for them and their work.”Local Project achieves its mission, in part, through offering workshops at the Queens Museum of Art and networking, using only a minimal amount of promotional materials. “We work more by word of mouth,” Penafiel said. “If you come here and you like it, that's how you find out about us. We are located in an industrial neighborhood and our space is still used as a carpentry.”Past shows at Local Project have been loosely based on gender and race. While this show is about New Yorkers, other shows have featured exclusively female artists or black American artists, Penafiel said. The project also hosts solo shows and student shows, including one featuring the work of students at the nearby LaGuardia Community College.”We don't charge any percentage on sales,” Penafiel added, “which empowers the artist. It's a platform, the first show and from here the artist can go out and show in Chelsea or anywhere.””Restless Natives” was Waldstein's idea, and “he brought the project all together,” Penafiel said. “He is a great person to work with, very organized, very talented. I can tell by his attitude and energy how the show is going to be Ð it's going to come out really good and I think tons of people will come.””Restless Natives” can be viewed by appointment at Local Project until March 4, when there will be a closing party at 7 p.m. featuring classic sideshow acts including Seth Goodwin, the Pain-Proof Man, who will blow fire, among other tricks of his trade. Located at 21-36 44th Rd. in Long Island City, Local Project is hosting several fund raisers in upcoming weeks. For more information on the exhibition or other classes or events hosted by Local Project, visit www.localproject.org.