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Video Art Exhibit to Beam from Chelsea Residents' Windows

By Maya Rajamani | February 5, 2016 12:22pm | Updated on February 8, 2016 9:00am
 A view of West 22nd Street, one of the three streets on which Lal Bahcecioglu will showcase video art during her
A view of West 22nd Street, one of the three streets on which Lal Bahcecioglu will showcase video art during her "Sneak a Peek" art exhibition in April.
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Lal Bahcecioglu

CHELSEA — A video art exhibit is ditching Chelsea’s high-end art galleries and setting up shop at street level.

“Sneak a Peek” — a “semi-open-air” exhibit curated by School of Visual Arts student Lal Bahcecioglu — will feature video artwork created by local artists and broadcast from homes in the neighborhood.

Instead of displaying the videos in a traditional gallery, Bahcecioglu, 27, will show the works on television screens placed in windows on three public streets for two weeks in April.

“I am always amazed to see art in unexpected places. Nowadays, one can see an exhibition on the streets, in abandoned buildings, in old Turkish hammams, etc.,” Bahcecioglu, who is originally from Istanbul, wrote in an email. “I thought to myself, ‘What about an exhibition that takes place in windows?’”

The project is Bahcecioglu’s thesis project at SVA, where she is pursuing a masters degree in curatorial practice.

She is currently recruiting residents living in first-floor apartments on West 21st, 22nd and 23rd streets between Eighth and 10th avenues to participate in the project.

Although Bahcecioglu came up with the idea for the project months ago, it was a while before she decided to make it a reality.

“After a couple months of making fun of its absurdity, I suddenly took it seriously and started to plan it,” she explained.

Residents of three homes have signed up to participate so far, and she expects to recruit more after publicizing the project at a Community Board 4 meeting on Wednesday. She noted that the TV screens will be provided to participating tenants.

For Bahcecioglu, the project is a way to bring art to a broader audience and create a new way to showcase artists' works.

“‘Sneak a Peek' will sardonically show how art can be shared and spread,” she said.

“It will question the necessity of perfection in displaying art and will prove that art can and should be seen everywhere,” she added.

Bahcecioglu plans to put out an open call for New York City artists-in-residence interested in displaying their work on the screens, in collaboration with the International Studio and Curatorial Program.

Artists who volunteer will create new, “site-specific video works” for the project, and residents who offer up their windows will get a “limited edition catalogue” of the exhibit and a signed print from one of the artists, she added.

Bahcecioglu hopes the project will strengthen ties between residents on the block, as well as drawing aficionados to the neighborhood for a different kind of viewing experience.

“Through this new interaction, the passerby and residents will be connected by the TV screens, a reminiscence of sitting around watching TV after dinner with your family,” she said. “I’m sure that it will also help energize the neighborhood by bringing a different kind of foot traffic in it."

Residents interested in participating in “Sneak a Peek” can reach out to Bahcecioglu via email by Feb. 19.