september 21-25

The Invisible Dog’s collaboration with artists Steven and William Ladd is a model of the co-development and mutual inspiration to which the The Invisible Dog aspires with all its associated artists. True to the spontaneous spirit of the art center, their work together began by accident: a mutual acquaintance introduced Invisible Dog director Lucien Zayan to Steven and William during the crucial early days when The Invisible Dog Art Center was still a figment of an ambitious theater producer’s (Lucien’s) imagination. The idea that charmed them both was the transformation of the raw abandoned factory building with a single object: a chandelier. “It was really the beginning,” Lucien recalls, “I was alone in the factory. There was nothing. I thought, what can I do to transform it? And immediately the idea of the chandelier came into my head—I thought, if I have a chandelier, it will be like a theater.” Steven and William took the challenge. “Lucien took us to the second floor and we saw all these trimmings,” Steven remembers, referring to the leftover materials from the belt factory, “and I loved everything. Then we went downstairs and we saw these five-gallon buckets of trinkets, and suddenly we started thinking about sifting them like we used to sift in our grandmother’s rose garden.Then we started taking things. We’d never made a chandelier before. We thought—why not use these buckles like beads?” Several months and a surfeit of gorgeous (and dirty) industrial materials later, both an art center and a friendship were born. “We installed the chandelier, and we loved it,” Steven recalls, “it was a major transformation, for the space, for us. It was our first foray into lighting, into collaboration of this kind—we’d never done anything like this.”

In early 2010, a few months after the opening, The Invisible Dog and Steven and William conceived the ID store. The idea was to sell not art, but objects: furniture, housewares, jewelry, and accessories. The ID store has become a permanent installation in the gallery. In the spring of 2011, Steven and William mounted their most ambitious project at The Invisible Dog to date, curating a large group show  for The Invisible Dog’s Plus-One Curation project, which invites artists associated with the art center to curate a show in the gallery. The show, “Obstacle,” marked a moment for The Invisible Dog. Steven and William captured the aesthetic dynamism of the space as well as its ethos.

The art of Steven and William, though meticulously crafted, feels spontaneous and intuitive. Much of their work is autobiographical, and created from materials that have come into their lives organically, without preconception. This litheness and flexibility is what allowed thirty five-gallon buckets of abandoned trinkets to become the backbone of a new stage in their craft. Since the creation of the chandelier, Steven and William have used the materials they sourced from The Invisible Dog in exhibitions and performances around the country.

The Invisible Dog Art Center was conceived with much the same spirit. Over the last two years, the art center has evolved organically, developing with and alongside its artistic collaborators. The Invisible Dog’s collaboration with Steven and William has been an energizing through-line of the art center’s first two years.