The first time I heard about OXHEART was in February, in a bar on New York’s Lower East Side. “We want to do a party,” my friend Carlos said. A party? I love parties. How do I get involved?
A blonde woman to his left with a spiky pixie haircut, clear thick-frame glasses and a nose ring smiled at me. “Yeah! It’s going to be called OXHEART,” she said. After assembling a wildly successful art and music party at a gallery in Brooklyn, she decided it would be more fun to do one of her own, one where the artists and the musicians get the recognition they deserve.
Her name is Bryn Larson and, though not an artist or musician by trade, her great passion is bringing the two together, as well as like-minded people. Bryn and her husband, Mike Krenner, originally moved to Brooklyn to make a change in their lives, to seek greater opportunities than those they found in their prior home of Minneapolis. But upon moving to Brooklyn, Bryn had trouble finding a job. OXHEART became a way not just ‘have a job’ but to follow a calling.
The name OXHEART comes from the shape of a cherry—that perfect heart shape, the shape that lets you know it’s fully formed, ripe for the picking. OXHEART, Bryn laughs, is like popping her art-and-music event cherry. The OXHEART team has Bryn at the helm with all things artists and business, Mike Krenner on all things tech, Carlos Henriquez on all things photography, and myself on all things media. Everyone has a voice and everyone is OXHEART.
The first OXHEART event, “Letter Red,” is June 15 and 16 (not too far away!) from 8pm to 1am. With the work of 25+ artists on display, six bands playing over two nights, firebreathers, aerialists, raffles and much more, I cannot even begin to describe my excitement. But where could we have found the space to hold such an event? At a 12,000 square foot warehouse art space in Brooklyn called the Gowanus Ballroom. Tucked behind a vintage furniture store at 55 9th Street, the space is a metal working and sculpture studio by day. But for OXHEART, all of the wild powertools and welding equipment will be hidden away and the whitewashed brick walls will become the play space for local and emerging artists and musicians and the people who love (or will soon love) their work.
I like to think of OXHEART as an art form in itself. It looks like Basquiat when he was still SAMO and Pollock’s Number 8. It feels like paint and guitar strings under fingertips, the heat of a lit match and hands gliding over newly laid bricks. It sounds like “Dr. Robert,” “Judy is a Punk,” and “Good Times.” The event itself has been curated, much as works of art are, to communicate an idea. That idea is the importance of the artist, emerging or established, visual or musical, and the ability to give said artist a voice in a wonderfully unusual way. Perhaps if more galleries were equipped with fire-breathers the art world wouldn’t feel so insular and exclusive and occasionally off-putting because everyone would want to be a part of it. But that’s what we’re trying to change. At OXHEART, we believe art is for everyone.
Will OXHEART be the next Factory, a la Warhol? The next Club 57, a la Haring and Scharff? The whole experience is sort of surreal, going directly from Bryn’s “I wanna do this…” to really making it happen. But sometimes all you have to do is make the list and check it off. And suddenly, it’s done. It’s a happening, and it’s happening.
If you are in the New York area and would like more information on OXHEART click here.