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SO-IL designed Amant Foundation “Art Campus” opens in Brooklyn

Amant exterior, under construction, April 2021.

@ Courtesy the Amant Foundation.

Sat, Jun 5 - Sat, Jun 5  2021

The Amant Foundation is pleased to announce that on June 5, 2021, it will open the doors on Amant, a 21,000 square foot multi-building “art campus” in East Williamsburg, designed by the award-winning architecture firm SO–IL. The complex will serve as Amant’s new headquarters, as well as the home for its exhibitions, public events, archival projects, performances, and residency program. Conceived as a research and process-oriented platform, Amant provides a public forum that presents and supports the practices of both established and under-recognized artists working across diverse creative fields.

Amant exterior detail. Photo: Naho Kubota. Courtesy SO-IL and the Amant Foundation.

With its main entrance located at 315 Maujer Street, Amant intersects two blocks and comprises four buildings connected by walkways and public courtyards. Purpose-built for Amant’s kunsthalle-style programming, spaces include a performance venue, two galleries, a cafe/bookstore and four studios.

The Space

Amant’s home in New York is a research and artistic platform spread across four different buildings in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 315 Maujer Street, 306 Maujer Street, and 932 Grand Street, with construction projected to conclude in May 2021. Flexibility is of deep pragmatic and conceptual importance for Amant, which, due to its interdisciplinary program, requires its premises to fulfill multiple purposes.

“With the design of the Amant campus we introduce a more humane grain and texture to the industrial neighborhood,” said SO–IL. “Both robust and intimate, we believe the complex of buildings will offer an oasis for creative thought and production, as well as an inviting and intriguing environment for visitors.”

Amant exterior detail. Photo: Naho Kubota. Courtesy SO-IL and the Amant Foundation.

Designed by architectural firm SO–IL as an “art campus,” the new space includes exhibition galleries, a bookstore, a courtyard garden and a multifunctional space dedicated to moving images and live art. The overall complex allows for an internal networking of activities while connecting, spatially, with the dynamics of the surrounding neighborhood. SO–IL’s design is both a new landmark and a seamless addition to East Williamsburg. Their intimate reinterpretations of materials like concrete, brick, and steel were conceived with Amant’s industrial surroundings in mind.

Interior of Amant’s performance space Geza, under construction. Photo: Naho Kubota. Courtesy SO-IL and the Amant Foundation.

The main entrance is located in the center of the complex at 315 Maujer Street, which houses Amant’s offices and a daylit, 22 ft. tall gallery space. Across the courtyard at 932 Grand Street, what was once a marble shop has been converted into a vast second gallery space spanning over 2,000 square feet, in addition to a cafe and bookstore.

Grada Kilomba, Heroines, Birds and Monsters series, Creon and Haemon Act III, 2020, C- Print, 60 x 40 in. © Grada Kilomba. Courtesy the artist, the Amant Foundation, and Goodman Gallery.

2021 Program

Amant will open with a survey of work by Grada Kilomba (b.1968), the Portuguese artist, writer and academic of West African descent whose work deals with the difficult legacies of slavery and the colonial past. It will mark Kilomba’s first show in the United States. The Amant Foundation made its debut with the launch of its Siena residency in the summer of 2020. The foundation is the vision of philanthropist and art collector Lonti Ebers, with the Brooklyn programs to be spearheaded by Artistic Director Ruth Estévez, former Gallery Director at REDCAT in Los Angeles and Senior Curator at Large at the Rose Art Museum. She is also the co-curator of the 34th São Paulo Bienal, which opens this fall.

The New York residency will welcome its first group of four artists in September and will host similarly sized groups three times a year. While its summer residency in Siena is geared towards mid-career artists
as a “working retreat,” the Brooklyn program is research-focused, facilitating cross-discipline collaborations between Amant’s residents.

“The idea behind Amant was to create studios and exhibition spaces that would encourage artistic research and experimentation, free of the time restrictions and financial and administrative confines that
typically accompany art practices in New York,” said Ebers.

Amant’s program will focus on research-based projects that do not always neatly fit into pre-existing systems of artistic and cultural production. Forthcoming collaborations include a commission by Gala Porras-Kim exploring current practices in the restitution and repatriation of cultural objects, and a newwork by New York-based filmmaker Manthia Diawara depicting a series of hypothetical conversations between Martinican poet Édouard Glissant and thinkers of the African diaspora, drawn from Diawara’s own archive.

“At a moment when New York is still reeling from the pandemic, Amant wants to stress the importance of human relations,” said Estévez. “We want to provide opportunities to seed long-term cohesion between
artists and audiences, supporting a tissue of intellectual, creative and emotional togetherness.”

Most of Amant’s time-based programming will occur at Géza, a 1800-square foot multipurpose building on campus for performances and screenings. In the fall, as conditions permit, Géza will host a screening

series featuring Grada Kilomba, Olivia Plender, Dora García, and Clara Ianni, whose cinematic works dissect and re-assemble history through found footage, news archives, and other epistolary documents
and ephemera.

The selection committee for Amant’s New York residency includes Lauren Cornell, director of the graduate program and chief curator at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of The Showroom in London, and Reem Fadda, director of the Abu-Dhabi Cultural Center, Abu-Dhabi.

Mission and History

Amant believes that art organizations can and should cultivate a new ecology of social relations by facilitating the flow of individuals, communities, and ideas. One of Amant’s guiding principles is “slowing down” the art-making process by experimenting with different formats and focusing on long term collaborations over one-off commissions. More than “disciplines” Amant focus on “practices”, offering artists the time and conditions to crucially engage with their work. Amant is proud to be immersed in Brooklyn, home to thousands of artists, an environment that offers endless resources for inspiration and dialogue.

The Foundation also hosts two residency programs in New York and Siena that are at the center of its activities. By emphasizing this commitment to process, Amant remains responsive to the ever-changing
dynamics between artists, institutions, and their audiences. Amant is designed as an art campus, and its architecture was created to be responsive to the ethos of the program: A space for showing, broadcasting, and making things public, and at the same time, a space for reflectiveness and collaboration.

Amant Founder and CEO Lonti Ebers with Artistic Director Ruth Estévez on site at Amant, March 2021. Photo: Lyndsy Welgos. Courtesy the Amant Foundation.

About Lonti Ebers

Lonti Ebers is a long-time art collector and supporter of contemporary art. Lonti hired the renowned architectural firm SO-IL to design Amant’s innovative performance and art complex. Lonti has served on the boards of several museums in both the US and abroad and is currently a trustee of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), serves on the board of the Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in Upstate New York, and sits on the European Committee of the Tate Gallery in London.

About Ruth Estévez

Ruth Estévez is a curator and stage designer. She is the co-curator of the 34th São Paulo Biennial, which opens in September 2021. From 2018 to 2020 she was Senior Curator-at-large at the Rose Art Museum
in Waltham, Massachusetts and curator of Idiorhythmias, the performance program at MACBA in Barcelona. She was Redcat Gallery Director in Los Angeles and Chief Curator at the Carrillo Gil Museum
in Mexico City, where she also founded LIGA, Space for architecture (2010-), a non-for-profit platform focused on spatial practices.


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