The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Avid Art Collector Opens Uptown Gallery, Where Pieces Aren't For Sale

By Mina Bloom | July 21, 2015 6:16am | Updated on July 21, 2015 10:08am
 Jason Pickleman, 50, explaining the idea behind Maxwell Graham's artwork at his new gallery, 4755 N. Clark St.
Jason Pickleman, 50, explaining the idea behind Maxwell Graham's artwork at his new gallery, 4755 N. Clark St.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

UPTOWN — Don't get too attached to the artwork at an unassuming new gallery, Lawrence & Clark. Unlike most art galleries, the paintings, drawings and sculptures on display at the Uptown space are not for sale.

The pieces belong to graphic designer Jason Pickleman, an avid art collector who was looking for a place to put his personal collection on display and inspire others to engage with it.

"I like the idea of people walking into a storefront where nothing is for sale, but allowing us to engage and have a conversation, using the work as a catalyst for things I'm interested in: abstraction, typography, creative production," he said.

The view of the 500-square-foot gallery from the door. [All photos DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]

Pickleman, 50, who designs for clients such as Richard Gray Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, opened Lawrence & Clark, 4755 N. Clark St., a little over a week ago after driving past the storefront just six weeks ago and imagining its potential.

"I knew if I thought about it, it would've taken six months to a year. So I just went into my storage and basement and closet and pulled some of the work that I've been wanting to look at and threw it on the walls," he said.

Mina Bloom says visitors are encouraged to simply experience the art:

A sculpture using painted and crumpled metal and six-pack of El Presidente by New York-based artist Halsey Rodman. Pickleman said he liked how Rodman elevated a simple six-pack to the "highest level of fine art."

Expect to see artwork that's "experimentally driven, highly graphic, conceptual and visually confusing," as Pickleman described it. All of the pieces Pickleman either bought from other galleries and auctions or received as gifts.

Right now, a sculpture involving a six-pack of El Presidente and crumpled metal by New York-based artist Halsey Rodman is on display. As are whimsical paintings and drawings by Maxwell Graham, an art dealer who runs the highly regarded Essex Street Gallery on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, among other pieces.

It's only a taste of Pickleman's vast collection, which he estimates has reached roughly 500 pieces and continues to grow as he buys a new piece every one or two weeks. His Lakeview attic apartment is "chock full of art" — not only on the walls, but stuffed in closets and drawers and displayed on the ceiling, he said. 

In fact, it got the point where Pickleman was looking into getting a second apartment to house all of it, but his wife, who helps run his studio, JNL Design, rejected the idea. 

"I was thinking about wanting to see work that I bought 20 years ago. I wanted to see that work together with work I bought yesterday and I no longer had the space to do that at my apartment," Pickleman said.

A couple of Pickleman's pieces are on display as well, including a neon sculpture.

He added: "People collect for various reasons. I don't think we all know why we collect we do do — whether it's cookie jars or trophies. I'm using this gallery to do some personal psychological digging. It's a very selfish activity but I'm doing it very publicly."

While selling artwork is not part of the plan, Pickleman said if someone was "very interested" in a particular piece, he'd be willing to discuss its availability. But he doesn't expect that people will come in and shop. 

"It would be a strange turn of events if this gallery turned into an art-selling vehicle," said Pickleman, adding that he and his wife agreed to lose money on the gallery for at least two years.

He also doesn't plan on hosting any openings either. Instead, he'll rotate the art every couple of weeks to keep conversations fresh.

"I like the serendipity and the randomness of walking by a gallery and happening to see whatever is on display," he said.

Lawrence & Clark is open from 1-5 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: