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Creative Solutions for Hard Times: A Great Barrington Auto Dealership Morphs Into an Art Gallery

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Pip Deely and Kalika Farmer at Pete's Motors in Great Barrington

Beginning Saturday, if you drive by Pete’s Motors on Route 7 in Great Barrington late at night, the venerable Ford and Dodge dealership will be lit up inside but there won’t be any cars on view.  Pete’s Motors closed last year, and it is being transfomed into a temporary 24/7 art gallery by Philip “Pip” Deely and Kalika Farmer (left), with help from Pip’s father’s cousin, Cathy Deely, who suggested the idea last winter. “The production of contemporary art exhibitions in vacant buildings and temporary spaces is not a new phenomenon,” says Pip, a scion of a prominent Stockbridge clan, who cites North Adams and Pittsfield as Berkshire pioneers in holding art exhibits in unlikely locations. A New York City art dealer, Pip is bringing sculpture, paintings, photogaphy and video art by a diverse group of established and emerging artists to the Berkshires for Made in the USA at Pete’s Motors.

Rural Intelligence Community The show is the curators’ creative response to the current economic crisis. (Remember how the best thing about the Great Depression, besides Hollywood’s screwball comedies, was the Works Progress Administration, which gave us Milton Avery, Stuart Davis, Walker Evans, Mark Rothko, and Willem deKooning?) “It highlights the potential for car dealerships and other businesses affected by the changing economic environment across the US to play a role in support the visual arts,” he says. The exhibit will be “open” 24/7 because you won’t actually be able to go into the Pete’s Motors showrooms. It is being designed to be viewed from outside through the large plate glass windows that once framed shiny pick-up trucks and SUVs.  The not-for-profit installation is being funded by donations and IS183 Art School of the Berkshires has stepped in to administer the event so it can have not-for-profit status. “We have gotten so much encouragement,” says Pip. “We’re doing this because large empty buildings are a bruise on the community.”

Made in the USA at Pete’s Motors
Opening: Saturday June 27, 7 - 9 p.m.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 06/24/09 at 01:47 PM • Permalink