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Private and exclusive Satellite Art Club now open to revive ravaged New York art world

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The front door of the newly-opened private club, the Satellite Art Club. Photo by the Satellite Art Club. | Instagram.com

In the face of the extended closure and loss suffered by many businesses due to the pandemic, a wacky private art club—the Satellite Art Club—opened a private club and exhibition space in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, reminding everyone that there is still hope for the ravaged New York art world.

Built in a former tax office, the private club was founded and opened by four New York-based artists — Brian Andrew Whiteley, founder of the Satellite Art Show whose claim to fame lies in the tombstone he placed in Central Park for Donald Trump during the 2016 election; collaborative duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw, the famous duo known for their participatory (and hilarious) sculptures; and Joe Latimore, a bar owner.

The Satellite Art Club was originally slated to open in the spring of 2020 and set a democratizing presence in the art world. The plan was to make it a members-only hangout place where the cool people drink while living off an art handler’s salary in Brooklyn. With an annual membership fee of $25, the founder hoped the art handlers could afford the place even without a trust fund’s padding.

When the Satellite Art Club opened, they set up a group exhibition entitled “Wet Dreams.” The exhibit features the works of the founders as inspired by South Florida. Along with it are works by artists Roxanne Jackson, Robert Kenney, and Kalup Linzy.

Unlike commercialized South Florida populated by Trump voters with no regard for safety while shopping at Publix, the Satellite Art Club’s theme feels more like dreamy South Florida in the North—a steamy and colorful place full of weirdos.

A peek inside

Whiteley, one of the founders, said that space was a re-invented Studio 54—an anything-goes kind of place. It was built as a natural second step and a permanent version of his temporary Satellite Art Show because “there’s always a sad feeling when the event is over.”

The anything-goes vibe is visible in the hallucinatory décor carved out by Whiteley during the first few months of the lockdown. Space itself features different rooms—from the main room to a basement that leads to a small garden.

In the rooms, the owners sell various artworks, food, drinks, and even entertainment. There are hotdogs, “cockytails”, and alcoholic punches that comply with the food-with-alcohol restrictions in the state. Karaoke, live tattooing, and drag nights are also housed in this private space. As an art club, of course, there are artworks of different kinds—from expensive ones by famous artists to the relatively affordable ones by those who are still starting.

The founders also ensured that they are compliant with the pandemic protocols, so they placed some restrictions. For now, the club’s roughly 100 annual members need to rsvp for time slots. They also limited the club’s operation to 25% capacity. Temperature checks are also available at the door.

Hopes for the post-pandemic future

Ultimately, the club expects to turn a profit within the year. According to Whiteley, the business is savvy enough, and the space is low-cost. Most of the artworks are also exhibited online to making sales are possible from any direction.

He said that with most New Yorkers already clamoring for a post-pandemic reprieve, he hopes that the Satellite Art Club can survive for a really long time, unlike its predecessor, Studio 54, which only lived on for 33 months.

Always on the lookout for fun stuff to try, and great lifestyle stories to share. Writing about life and beauty since 2015.

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