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September 22nd, 2008


by Amelia Bronsworth

Dining took a back seat to a triad of festivities as the MF Gallery and performers DETHRACE ushered in the opening of the ITM Lounge at I Tre Merli in SoHo Saturday evening.

MF Gallery is a unique ode to the goth subculture that features dark themed “underground pop,” often outrageous, satiric, mystic, morbid, apocalyptic, erotic and darkly whimsical. It opened in the East Village on Rivington Street in 2003 by spouses Martina Secondo Russo and Frank Russo after they were inspired by California’s lowbrow art scene and decided to incorporate it into their gallery. Their space is a collection of pop art with influences that range from tattoos, illustrations and toys to horror films and pop culture.

The gallery has attracted a cluster of loyal artists and patrons from around the globe who are loving disciples of the genre. Many of these followers have a deep devotion to MF for housing the works of the social and art world outcasts and scoffing at the critics who scoff at them. However, like death and taxes, East Village rents rise spurring the decision by Frank and Martina to move the gallery to a larger, more fitting space in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

While in transition, I Tre Merli kindly offered MF their brand new space to host the gallery’s annual Halloween Art Show and keep the tradition alive. And alive it was, well depending how you look at it. Zombies, ghouls, and the walking dead ruled the night as guests awed and celebrated amongst costumed friends.

The Halloween themed art was distinctly that, from pumpkins and mummies to more horrifying imagery such as clowns.

Artist Drew Maillard’s ink and watercolor “When The Lights Go Out, The Masks Come Off” features just that. “I don’t really fear clowns, I was trying to draw something nice.”

Drew Maillard, “When The Lights Go Out, The Masks Come Off.”

Artistic inspirations varied. Fernando Carpaneda featured a clay sculpture, “Rodney.” from his collection inspired by ex-boyfriends.

Fernando Carpaneda, “Rodney.”

Good old Charlie Brown inspired Moses Jean’s haunting sculpture “Jacob and the Indian Head.” Taking from the iconic episode where Charlie Brown is asked what he got trick or treating, Jean mimics, “I got rocks, what did you get? I got an Indian head.”

Moses Jean, “Jacob and the Indian Head.”

Later in the evening guests were treated with a performance by death metal and performance art band DETHRACE that according to Martina and Frank “deliver a 666 volt [of] heavy metal performance from outer space.” They were loud and rocking and a sect of art most in SoHo’s community would never claim to understand. In a time where art seldom shocks, DETHRACE was a throwback to the avant garde.


Overall the night was festive and cool, and ushered in the season with a bang.

Artists included Martina and Frank Russo, Elmer Presslee, Chad Savage, Nicoz Balboa, Kevin Klemm, Macchiavello, Drew Maillard, Fernando Carpaneda, Moses Jaen, Death Head, Mike A., James Wrona, Inky Dreadfuls, Ciou, and Joe Simko.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York





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