One of a kind art of all media for all ages can be found this week at Public Space One, nestled in the the basement of the Wesley Center on North Dubuque Street in Iowa City.
As part of their Sweet 16 birthday celebration, Public Space One (PS1) opened their gallery doors for public viewing and bidding on Saturday, Jan 18 with an exhibition featuring work by over 80 artists from all over the country. Between prints, paintings, 3D installments and cement rubber ducks, there are pieces to fit most styles and budgets.
Each of the pieces are carefully and thoughtfully arranged in the gallery, which is set up as a sort of sub-room to the larger space. They form a subtle but effective pattern around the outside, alternating two smaller pieces roughly separating each larger one, creating a flow to the varied collection of works. Three-D and functional works are set up on tables or stand alone along the wall, with one mobile island in the middle of the room. For a small space, it manages to comfortably integrate a diverse set of media and style.
Situated in the leftmost corner of the gallery space, behind the standing island, is Codi Josephson’s Quiet Celebration, a paper, watercolor and thread square no larger than a foot per side. At a distance, it looks bare — a white sheet with little thumbprint-shaped depressions scattered over the bottom half of the piece. However, on closer inspection, it’s clear that the little colored pieces are makeshift doors, opened along varied levels to reveal tiny but captivating, colorful patterns, set along even but invisible lines, save the ones the artist has stitched on with white thread.
It’s reminiscent of the way my sister carefully tacks her paper memories on the walls of her room. The balance of colors would fit well with the delightful teenage hodgepodge of passed notes and athletic ribbons, together in a calculated harmony. Quiet Celebration is minimalistic, inviting and an example of the power of contrast.
Also making an appearance was the Iowa City Suitcase Library, hauled and operated by local University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop students Izzy Casey and Toby Altman. The library is a frequent Saturday installment at PS1, and Casey spoke to how the pair “want to bring the workshop to the community through a unique library of contemporary, lesser known books.” It lives in a vintage, medium gray suitcase that holds about 40 books, and is just one example of a hidden Iowa City gem highlighted by PS1.
The Family Folk Machine, a local and multi-generational choir sponsored by the Senior’s Center, took the stage around 1:30 p.m. and sang some familiar and original songs. Community members wandered the gallery or found a place to sit and avoid the cold. The slice of Iowa City that came out to support PS1 was lively and accepting. The event was, in short, incredibly moving.
The pieces pictured, and many more, are available for bidding both online and in the gallery until Saturday, Jan. 26, at which point the gallery will host another action-packed evening. Online bidding ends at 12 p.m. on Jan. 26; in-person bidding ends at 8 p.m. during the event. A gallery walk-through and closing reception begin at 6 p.m., followed by a throwback dance party in the original PS1 space above the Deadwood tavern in Iowa City at 9 p.m.