The art of destruction
Bethesda home becomes an art gallery as it awaits demolition
By Cody Calamaio, Staff Writer
Exhibits come and go, but the artworks featured at CountDown art space are literally bringing down the house.
Inspired by the pop-up gallery phenomenon in which artists temporarily take over spaces to hang work, Jackie Hoysted and her husband have decided to use their Bethesda home as a gallery while the clock ticks down to its demolition in March.
Hoysted has curated four exhibitions for CountDown art space that have coincided with the process of preparing to tear down the current house and construct a new one. December’s show “Presence” featured artists Lisa K. Rosenstein and Jack McTiernan. The current exhibition “[dis]figure” features work by Jessika Dene Tarr and Yaroslav Koporulin. Next month’s show “Exquisite — It is the Nature of Things” will consist of art by Pam Rogers, Rebecca Clark and Megan Peretore. Installation work by Jessica van Brakle, Mei Mei Chang, Scottie Fleming and Tom Drymo will comprise the March exhibit “destruct/construct,” which will be demolished with the house.
Hoysted was amazed at how many artists she found who were eager to be given free rein to do whatever they wanted inside the building including punching through walls or painting on them.
“Maybe we all secretly want to be graffiti artists,” she says. “When you’re a child, you’re taught not to do these things, and here you are given an opportunity to do this.”
Motivated to add “curator” to her resume, Hoysted searched for artists whose work fit her vision for the temporary space. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Hoysted is a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art & Design and works in several mediums including painting, sculpture,and digital media. She also plans to publish a catalogue on the project after its completion.
“It’s an opportunity for me to curate and do something positive with the space,” she says. “It’s a line on everybody’s resume.”
Located just East of Woodmont Triangle in downtown Bethesda, the 1930s home opens to the public at times coinciding with the Bethesda Art Walk on Fridays and by appointment. Hoysted was motivated to create the public art space because the area has suffered the loss of many of the gallery spaces that used to be featured on the Art Walk, such as Orchard Gallery and Fraser Gallery.
“All of these galleries have closed down within the last year or two, and it has been detrimental to the art business there, so that is one thing that prompted me to do it,” she says.
Hoysted hopes her temporary gallery will give emerging artists an opportunity to show their work without hefty entry fees they may find at other galleries.
“Maybe I’m not a prestigious gallery, but it’s an opportunity to show your work and it’s not costing anybody anything,” she says.