The rules for the Salon des Indépendants are simple: Anyone can enter. 1 piece per person. Get to the gallery at the appropriate time the day of the opening to jockey for prime wall/exhibit space. No judge, no jury, no fees - just art for the public by the public.
Although the art is displayed over several weeks, the opening night reception has become a huge event in New London, often resulting in waiting in line for admission to the gallery (despite traditionally frigid temperatures). Other art-related events have sprung up around the opening - all kinds of art, including music, fashion, and performance. Downtown is truly alive on Hygienic weekend.
We started out at the Rock Fix at the Crocker House Ballroom. Presented by local record label The Cosmodemonic Telegraph, the Fix featured a line-up of eight popular local bands each taking the stage for a 30-40 minute set. Not your typical rock concert, a wide range of sounds were presented at the Fix - everything from roots to a sort of jazz-rock fusion. I arrived just in time to catch my friend Jonas take the stage with his band, Above/Below. Loree somehow managed to get a few photos; I'm not sure how since we were dancing for the entire set.
We took a break from the music after A/B finished and headed over to the gallery (we were trying to avoid some of the massive crowd). We were pleased to find the Hygienic pleasantly packed but not too jammed, and were able to really take in and observe some of the offerings.
The night took a random detour when we ran into a friend of Loree's on the way back to the Crocker House. Brian invited us up to see some studio space above the El & Gee, where after-hours preparations were under way. Local artist (actually, one of the Hygienic resident artists) Ania Simpson had her photographs projected onto a large screen in the middle of the room and a DJ was selecting appropriate music.
The night (well, MY night - I believe Loree continued her evening) was capped off with a drink at the Dutch Tavern, former haunt of literary great Eugene O'Neill and one of my favorite bars in town. Beer and wine, cash only, and a stamped tin ceiling - what more could you want from your neighborhood tavern?
Hygienic-related festivities will continue over the next few weeks. (I am particularly looking forward to Re-Vamp, a fashion and music event also at the Crocker House, next weekend.) However, it's hard to beat New London on Hygienic opening night - the energy running through downtown is infectious.