MOIETY is a carefully curated gallery and concept space owned by creative duo Joshua Schwartz and Kyle Smith. At a time when most art driven exhibition venues were moving out of Williamsburg, they swam against the current by pioneering a place that brought art back to the neighborhood. Appealing to both young cultural voyeurs and long-time local business owners, Moiety gathers a diverse demographic with their rotating programming and playful installations. It is their openness to such a wide range of artists and practices that has set them apart amongst other Brooklyn galleries.
First off, tell me about MOIETY.
MOIETY is a collaborative project between myself and Kyle Lanning Smith. Its definition is constantly shifting. We work with artists, chefs, florists, city planners, athletes, knife-throwers, etc. to develop a wide range of ongoing programming.
At its core, MOIETY is about presenting ideas and experiences. The most recent platform for this is our gallery in Williamsburg.
How did the idea of MOIETY come about?
Kyle and I have always had our individual practices - two very different styles of production. In the past my focus has been on language and performance. Kyle is a master sculptor and can make anything in any material. We found the two styles complimented each other. One day we were sitting in a taxi and Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" came on. We've been working together ever since.
You work with some incredible artists. Is there anybody you'd really like to exhibit next year?
I couldn't be more excited about the artists we have worked with this past year. Looking ahead, our January show (opening January 22) is really fucking good. Becky Howland will be showing a series of paintings she completed throughout the 80s and 90s.
What's the most memorable event you've held or produced so far?
Matt Papich is one of the most original thinkers we know. His show NO SHOW was an all-around home run. Matt spends most of this time on music - performing solo as Co La. His live shows could be categorized as performance art more so than musical performance. Matt created an installation at the gallery that riffed on the concept of a green room, transforming the space and inviting different artists each weekend to submit a "rider" as if they were performing. We fulfilled the riders as any venue would and the artists invited people to come hang out / use the space. The success of the show was all in the attention to detail: We used candles to light the gallery, installed thermochromic tables that changed color when hot sake was placed on the surface, and wood fire smoked jackets were hanging near the door. They smelled delicious. We will be working with Matt in 2016 to create a series of food based programs accompanied by a catalog / cookbook.
Do you make your own art?
MOIETY is just that. We do produce merchandise and experiences, but really the whole project is part of my and Kyle's collaborative art practice.
When you find time away from work, what do you like to do in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is beautiful but we work most of the time. It's what we have the most fun doing. If we take a day off I go to the beach and Kyle heads to the mountains.
You're also launching an online shop soon. What will you be selling?
The gallery demands so much of our time; Planning exhibitions and longer-term projects that usually require some sort of physical production. The webshop, in contrast, is meant to be fun and immediate. It is another avenue for us to work with people we respect - granting us the opportunity to explore ideas for products or experiences that we'd like to have in our lives; Create them and make them available.
What is your best advice for Brooklyn based artists and art advocates to give or get support in the local scene?
I don't know if I'm in a position to advise... I guess I would stick to the cliche: If you are fortunate enough to have the chance, stop playing it safe. Find your own voice and quit doing shit that you see other people have success with. It will always read as insincere or, if you are a talented liar and able to fool your audience, you will wake up in 15 years hating everything you've put into the world. Sincerity is the most important thing - always.
What do you think about the evolution of the Brooklyn creative community? Has it changed a lot since you've been here, and how do you think a space like MOIETY can help shape whatever is coming next?
Our space wont reshape the Brooklyn creative scene - that isn't a goal for us. I do hope that we offer an alternative to what you get at other venues. Because we aren't attempting to be a gallery in the traditional sense, it opens up possibilities that otherwise wouldn't be on the table. It's important to us that every time you swing by you get something completely different than the time before.
Photos by Caroline Petters