Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dead Horse Inn

For the past 3 weeks we've been helping Duke Riley re-build the Dead Horse Inn. Guests were dropped off on the edge of the Belt parkway and led through the woods to the tavern to partake in drinks for a nickel, steamed mussels, boxing and the usual hijinx. Below are some snapshots of the build-out and set up. Here is what Duke has to say about it:

This is not an art project. Well…not really.

My birthday is this week and it is also the 5th anniversary of the Dead Horse Inn, which will re-open for one night, this Saturday, June 18th, 2011.

From 1891 to 1907, Plumb Island was occupied by a group of homesteaders who set up a series of shacks and tents that eventually developed into bars and inns. Because the island was outside New York City’s jurisdiction, alcohol and tobacco were tax-free. In 1907, the US army was sent by the city to break up the party and evict the homesteaders. The land was then leased to former judge Winfield Overton, who allowed the homesteaders to return shortly after his arrival. The judge quickly declared himself ruler of the island and began organizing boxing matches, which were also illegal in New York at the time. The US military was then called again to “depose the dictator” they had unwittingly installed.
In the 1930s, Robert Moses evicted the last homesteaders, demolished all of the remaining structures, and connected the island to the mainland by a strip of highway and a bridge now known as Exit 9B on the Belt Parkway, turning it into a run-down rest stop with public bathrooms. In recent years, the island’s parking area has become a regular rendezvous for swingers, and the surrounding woods have become a cruising spot for gay men.

The Dead Horse Inn is a temporary bar that exists for only one night every five years, providing diversion, libation, and fresh crabs for a nickel. It was built from the excavated ruins of the shantytown that actually occupied the island from 1891 to 1935 and reclaimed flotsam from the surrounding area. It is meant to draw a connection between the current lay of the land and the similarly transgressive spirit of its former inhabitants. Plumb Island has always been a place where people socialize in ways otherwise prohibited in New York City. The human condition unfolds outside prescribed social boundaries, reacting and looking for free spaces, creating culture on the fringe of the city, where the land meets the water.

under the overpass.


Matt Crane hauling driftwood

Kitty Joe doing the same.

Dwain Thomas Walters II. Bringing sexy back.

Hans and Tom.

Kitty Joe.

Jess Pinkham, Sully Ross, Annie Evelyn and Miss Joe

The bar.




Jamie from the B61

Manhattan in the way background.

Jude Hughes.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

so long, farewell and goodbye

Well... yesterday I severed the final tie in my relationship with Priska Juschka Fine Art. Kitty Joe and I filled an 18' box truck with my work and distributed it between the drawing studio and a warehouse in Linden, New Jersey. After more than a year of feeling like I didn't fit with her stable of artists and being frustrated with the relationship, I was seriously considering moving on. Then, after I found out about the gallery's situation with Dana Melamed, I realized that I would be an asshole if I didn't leave. Too shady for my blood, not to mention confirmed suspicions. So... here we are, released from the dead weight and ready to try my hand at being a free agent. It's a good feeling.

If you would like to reach me regarding artworks, projects or general questions please contact me directly at:

Jade Townsend
64 Diamond Street #2R
Brooklyn, NY 11222

www.jadetownsend.net (site update coming soon)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diane's Circus.

The always amazing and lovely Diane Dwyer puts on a circus at her apartment in Bed-Stuy.

Beautiful Miss Kitty Joe Ste-Marie.


Diane's performance!