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November 30, 2021

Northern-Southern gallery moves downtown. For a while.

Fond of the ephemeral, gallerist Phillip Niemeyer relocates his gallery to downtown Austin. Until the building is demolished, that is.

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After four years on East 12th Street, and with its lease expired, the ever creative Northern-Southern gallery is moving to downtown Austin.

The gallery will next take up home in the Brazos Lofts, 411 Brazos Street, Suite 105. The first exhibition “Location, Location, Location” opens Oct. 1.

This is actually the third location for Northern-Southern which first launched on Koenig Lane in 2013. And the Brazos Street space will only be home to the gallery for about a year and a half. The low-rise building of live/work lofts — which began its life in the 1920s as an automobile dearler showroom and garage — is due to be demolished to make way for a hi-rise condominium tower.

Of course, gallerist Phillip Niemeyer is fond of the ephemeral. “I see the time limit as essential to the program and the conception of the work and the space,” he says. “The gallery is not an art space. It’s an art time-space.”

To wit: Northern-Southern commissioned artist Alan Watts to make a count-down clock for its Brazos Street space. The clock displays the number of days left until the building must be vacated and it will remain in the space for the duration. (The clock will be produced in an edition of five and is for sale. Buyers can set the number of days left to any time they want to track.)



Joseph Phillips of Bloom Design/Build is handling the renovations of the new gallery. Phillips is an artist and an original founder of Big Medium.

For “Location, Location, Location,” Niemeyer curated a group show named after popular real estate slogan and gathered artists who share an an occupation with place. “The subject of each work is a place so specific it can be pinned on a map,” Niemeyer says.

Amanda Julia Steinback
Amanda Julia Steinback, “Mutual Realm,” 2021 paired photographic prints, edition of 3 33×20¼ inches
Left: Silverton, Colorado Right: East 12th Street, Austin, Texas. From “Location, Location, Location” at Northern-Southern Gallery.

The locations include domestic nooks, urban corners, secret trees, vast lakes, remote plains, the scars of highways. And so specific are the locattions that the longitude and latitude will be part of the exhibition’s didactic information.

Running Nov. 5-Dec. 18, it’ll be “Laura Lit: Far In,” a collection of 12 to 14 wall-mounted relief objects, abstract and dream-born. Other confirmed shows for 2022 include solo exhibitions of Matt Steinke, Michelle Marchessault, Virginia Fleck and Rachel Freeman.

Within a couple of months of the first pandemic lockdown in Spring 2020, Niemeyer and Northern-Southern began producing some of the most thoughtful, right-sized and much-needed “free, creative gestures,” as Niemeyer called them, for the “together-apart community” of our strange new times.

Related: ‘On view until whenever: From Northern-Southern, a series of ‘socially distant wild art’ exhibitions from continues despite snow storms, theft, decay, and interventions from neighbors

For the Brazos Street space Niemeyer says “the program and art for the new gallery can be understood as “Total Art.”

“Any and everything can be art, it’s not what but how that matters. Total Art is the idea that art experience is unlimited and bound only by our willingness to see and participate.”

So forego the idea of typical exhibition opening, that stale and tired social convention of the art gallery landscape. “There will be celebrations, but they will tailored to our post-Covid culture,” Niemeyer says.

And even when we are eventually beyond dire pandemic surges, do not expect that Niemeyer and Northern-Southern will just repeat the ways of the past: “We will not do things the way things used to be done.”

Thank goodness for that.


Jeanne Claire van Ryzinhttps://sightlinesmag.org
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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