galleryELL was a transient hybrid gallery founded in 2008 in Brooklyn, New York by John Ros. galleryELL’s programming ended on 31 December 2016. Our action and enthusiasm remains active in our sister project studioELL.
Our mission was to create art that impelled everyday viewers to be critical-thinking observers of the contemporary culture that surrounds them with the aim to transform art and inspire each individual to be more active in service of the common good.
We encouraged critical thinking and civic action through art. We compelled artists, academic institutions, galleries, museums, to question how art is exhibited and how it can be disseminated for the benefit of all. We blurred the lines between “fine art” and the everyday inundation of cultural content we all experience.
We believed art belongs to all, not the few. We appreciated that to be part of a meaningful democracy means being an informed and active participant in the processes that affects our day to day. galleryELL was artist run and artist funded. We contributed to an active and lively cultural identity that was always free from corporate sponsorship and funding restraints.
With a strong digital presence of curatorial projects and critical reviews, we brought the ethos of art’s accessibility and everyday presence to the non-digital physical, with exhibitions, alternative art fairs, artist events, talks, studio visits and more. Because the digital and physical function within the same abstract space and rely on each other to secure a strong and lasting connection between people and their communities, galleryELL.com has become an archive of all our work from the past eight years.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?:
In 2008, galleryELL was created with the idea that, though we understood the current art culture in New York, and though we knew we existed within its framework, we also considered ourselves to be offering something new and exciting to the disenfranchised and marginalized artists of New York City.
In architecture, an “ELL” is an extension or addition to an existing building at a right angle. Though it is part of the original structure, it is defined and distinct from it. An “ELL” is also a measurement taken with the body, the former English unit of length for cloth (equal to approximately 45 inches, the breadth of one’s arms), without tools; it is self-contained and self-reliant. The self-reliance of the “ELL” served as a touchstone for all we did.