Gallery Roundup: Yes Gallery

Lesley Doukhowetzky of Yes Gallery ©Yes Gallery

Greenpointers are going places this summer—all of the gallery places, and we’re taking you with us. Who are the people behind the lively GP art scene? How do they like their coffee? Where do they hang out? We’ve got the scoop right here. This week, we walked down a short flight of stairs at 147 India Street to Lesley Doukhowetzky’s gallery, called Yes. The door was ajar.  Lesley was sitting behind her desk, editing a press release for Yes’s upcoming group exhibition, “Unstructured” (opening this Thursday, July 17, at 6 p.m.). “It’s been a long day,” she said, and I glanced at my cell phone: 6:10 p.m.

A perfect time to dive right into the questions:

GP: Where does the name “Yes” come from for the gallery?

LESLEY: I just wanted a positive name, basically. So, “Yes, we’ll show your art, if it’s good.”

[laughter]

“Yes, we love art.” “Yes, we’ll show it.”

GP: Are you an artist or an art history major by background?

LESLEY: I’m an artist. I went to the School of Visual Arts. I’m a graphic designer, also. So I do freelance graphic design. I do real estate, too, and interior design. And part of the year, I do taxes.

GP: Are you from New York?

LESLEY: Yes. Originally Queens, then Long Island, then I lived in Manhattan. Then Brooklyn, so every borough except for Staten Island and then Bronx, pretty much.

GP: Are you living in Greenpoint now?

LESLEY: Uh, Williamsburg. On the border. Yes, sure.

GP: What brought you to Greenpoint for the gallery space?

LESLEY: I just had an opportunity to work with the space, and basically it was dirt and tree trunks when I first saw it. So, me and a couple of friends pretty much redid the whole thing, made it…re-zoned it to commercial space and changed the front and everything, which was almost a two year project. I started thinking about opening the gallery in 2006, like mid-2006, and then our first show was October 2008. So, it was much more of a project than I thought it would be.

Inside of Yes Gallery ©Yes Gallery

GP: How many exhibitions do you usually have per year?

LESLEY: About 10.

GP: How do you decide which artists to show?

LESLEY: I have a bunch of artists that I signed exclusively, and then there are artists that I just meet or people just find me, or friends refer people to me. Or, I’ll show whoever’s art I think is great.

GP: Is there a particular type of art that catches your eye?

LESLEY: No, there’s no genre that I’d say specifically. I’m open to all mediums, mostly modern art.

GP: What was the last exhibition or show that you went to personally.

LESLEY: I went to the Bushwick Open Studios.

GP: What did you think?

LESLEY: I liked it, but it was just really spread out. I had to walk a lot. I mean, there were a lot of really great things in it and a lot of not so good art. But you need the not so good art to appreciate the good art.

GP: What’s your favorite music album to listen to?

LESLEY: It really depends what mood I’m in. I like hardcore to like classical music. It’s hard to just pick one.

[laughter]

The Black Album.

GP: What’s your favorite hangout spot in the area?

LESLEY: Actually, my friend’s place just opened up recently—Brooklyn Safehouse on Franklin Street near Noble Street.

GP: What was your favorite trip that you ever took?

LESLEY: I drove cross-country.

Lesley traveling across the United States ©YesGallery

GP: From New York to California?

LESLEY: Yeah, and back. It took like a month, when I quit my…I used to work for Playboy. I decided to quit everything and just like, took off.

GP: By yourself?

LESLEY: Well, with a guy I met in a bar. He was a friend’s friend. I was going to go with one of my girlfriends, but then she decided to wuss out and not go. I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to go anyway!” I was talking about it, and my friend’s friend was like, “I’ll go with you!” I was like, “I don’t know you, but okay!”

[laughter]

LESLEY: It’s better than going alone. But, yeah, I took a lot of really good pictures and stayed in really weird places. Actually, it turned into a game into like the weirdest places where you could find American flags. I just saw American flag everywhere, especially in the middle of America. People put American flags on everything, like their back pockets.

GP: Was it totally random? Did you guys just decide to go—West?

LESLEY: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, we had friends in LA, so there was an ultimate goal but there was no date.

GP: What were you doing for Playboy? Graphic design?

LESLEY: Yeah, graphic design. Package design. Pretty much anything you could stick a Playboy bunny on. And, I started having nightmares. I’d dream of how else I could put a Playboy bunny on stuff.

[laughter]

There’s just so many ways. And it’s just tedious. I can’t really work for someone else, I realized, so I had to do my own thing.

Yes is located at 147 India Street, in Brooklyn, New York 11222. · This Thursday, July 17, Yes presents “Unstructured,” featuring recent works by Ben Boothby, Melissa Murray, Charlotte Lethbridge, and Cooper Holoweski. · Follow Yes on Instagram (@LesDukes) and Twitter (@YesGalleryNYC).

About Ona A

Ona Abelis is a poet & journalist in Brooklyn.

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