Good Times Studio’s co-founders Daniel Kuzinez and Alejandro Otaola didn’t wait until the state gave the green light for indoor cultural events to return.
The relatively new creative production company held what co-founders called the first socially distant art show — “Good Times Six Feet Apart” at H0L0, located at 1090 Wyckoff Ave. in Ridgewood — since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the city and state to go on temporary lockdown in March.
The show lasted a week from June 30 to July 6. Attendees had to pre-register, wear face masks and enter the space in groups of no more than five individuals at a time.
Kuzinez and Otaola wanted to showcase pieces of different mediums from fellow artists across New York City, including a recording of a monologue by performing artist Paul James; paintings, illustrations and ceramics by Adela Julevic; a multidisciplinary exhibition by Otaola; and an interactive video installation by Christine Sikking.
While the exhibition didn’t have a theme, even its title suggests a show that explores life’s new reality — one of self-isolation and reflection.
“We just wanted to show people good work,” Otaola said. “Work that we’re passionate about instead of something we wanted to have a conversation about.”
Kuzinez, born in Israel, and Otaola, from Venezuela, both moved to the city years ago to pursue their careers in art. The quarantine put their plans for more exhibitions on pause (or canceled them altogether), but after months of lockdown, they wanted to bring art back.
“The idea came up around March. We wanted a very different format originally, but didn’t expect it to happen,” Kuzinez said. “While we were in quarantine we just kept working. We realized that if we wanted to make it happen, we needed to find a special venue.”
The artists said that unlike other art show openings, there was no mingling. Instead, they designed the ample space at H0L0 to allow them to guide separate groups through the exhibition.
“Instead of having people forget about COVID, we wanted to have the factor of isolation to push it forward,” Otaola said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced museums and other cultural establishments were not part of the phase four reopening last week, leaving those indoor experiences out of the question for at least two more weeks. But in the beginning of July, some small art galleries in the city began to open for appointment-only visits.
Otaola said they were proud to be the first to do it. Kuzinez said they had about 70 people in total from across the city visit the exhibition, some traveling from Uptown Manhattan to see it.
“So many people were saying thanks,” Kuzinez said. “The last couple of months, people only got to see art online. We got a lot of positive feedback.”
Good Times Studio hopes to be back with another exhibit in the near future.
“We want to keep doing shows,” Otaola said. “Our artist friends are coming back later in August and we’re in talks for a studio.”