As part of their program, LAND resident artists collaborate with external artists, designers, animators, and often with the Museum of Modern Art. Several LAND talents have found favor with private and corporate collectors; Michael Pellew’s work, for instance, is owned by CitiBank and J Crew, as well as by the likes of Spike Lee, Mos Def, and Sia. Pellew’s practice, full of wit and insightful commentary, focuses on celebrity culture: Everyone from Kim Kardashian and Alice Cooper to Bill Clinton and Derek Jeter make cameos in his work. “His work, while being hilarious and charming, really resonates with me personally,” says Scott Speh, director of Western Exhibitions in Chicago, where Pellew will have a solo exhibition this coming June.
Amidsts cutesy boutiques, and tree-lined streets, a small gallery gets ready for an intimate opening night. The artists and their families slowly fill up the space to celebrate an exciting night of collaboration. Located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, LAND Gallery provides a place for artists normally designated as "outsiders" to develop their craft, integrating them into the community as working artists.
Priscilla Frank introduces our new exhibition, Blackboard, for The Huffington Post:
The ethos of LAND Gallery is not a mawkish, put-your-feelings-on-the-paper, everything-is-art vibe. Everyone making work under LAND’s guidance is a serious artist who devotes his or her days to creating serious work. Yet LAND’s ungrudging openness toward the artists they foster embodies a constructive spirit that more places ― schools, galleries, or just individuals hovering over their laptops ― should embrace. LAND is a space for outsiders and insiders, which is to say, such distinctions do not hold within its doors.
One of the fantastic surprises at the Outsider Art Fair this year was our experience with the work of Michael Pellew. Pellew’s work is unassuming, and in the context of the fair particularly blends in - a style defined by repetition, drawing within a simple system, and the use of unconventional materials (markers). We were more familiar with his series of small original drawings marketed as greeting cards, which typically feature a grouping of four or five figures (available at Opening Ceremony in Manhattan and LA). In a larger scale, the voice only available in snippets in smaller works unfolds to become an astonishing comedic performance.
There’s a wonderful Michael Pellew work at Brooklyn-based LAND Gallery that features stick figures of ’80s rock stars and, hilariously, the boy band One Direction, who are saying in a thought bubble, “Hey, New York, we’re One Direction!” It went for $700 not an hour into the VIP preview.
Even in the sea of galleries that populate New York City, it's hard to find rosters that feature artists with disabilities. The entire roster of the Dumbo based LAND—League, Artists Natural Design—Gallery, however, consists of artists with developmental delays. The 15 adult artists who are currently a part of LAND's program use the gallery’s studio space to produce drawings, paintings, and sculptures that explore through both abstraction and figuration a myriad of cultural concerns.
Gary Pini includes LAND's 10th anniversary exhibition in Paper Mag's must-see shows:
Works by [LAND Gallery] artists -- including the incredible Michael Pellew Jr. -- have been exhibited around the world and are part of the private collections of Sufjan Stevens, Mos Def. NY Mag art critic Jerry Saltz and many more.
When visiting LAND Gallery in DUMBO Brooklyn, you will invariably be greeted at the door by artist Michael Pellew who will say, “Hello, we are LAND. We are artists with developmental disabilities. I am Michael Jackson’s best friend. What is your favorite heavy metal band?”
Now in its tenth year of operation supporting artists with autism and other disabilities, the studio and gallery celebrates its anniversary, 10 Years in 1 Day, at Christian Berst Art Brut, exhibiting over 25 pieces made by LAND’s core artists who attend the studio daily. The expansive show sheds light on the extraordinary lens through which the artists see the world, a rare and intimate opportunity for the general public.
January 26--28 marks the annual Outsider Art Fair, and among the established dealers involved in the soaring market for outsider artists will be a relative newcomer: the LAND Gallery. Located at 67 Front Street in Dumbo, LAND (for League Artist Natural Design) opened a little more than a year ago as an outgrowth of the League Treatment Center, a 50-year-old organization dedicated to helping the mentally and developmentally disabled.