“We revamped the space completely,” Brooke Denton explained as we looked around the now empty, but soon to be filled room. It seemed a necessary first step since there were still holes in the wall evidencing the gallery's previous life as a kettlebell gym when the four artists who are reanimating it came there. The newly alive suite F of the complex at 136 Washington SE—dubbed the 99 Cent Store—has been christened through a series of pop-ups by Destiny Trujillo, Lilly Moquin, Mikayla Griego and Denton.
The four, all of whom are eyeing a graduation date from UNM in December, were looking for a space to show their thesis exhibitions. “As emerging artists, our options were kind of limited. We were looking for an alternative space,” Griego said, Denton adding, “We wanted to paint on the ground, paint on the walls, make space for installations.” That kind of freedom wasn't available to them in spaces on-campus.
“As emerging artists, our options were kind of limited. We were looking for an alternative space,” Griego said, Denton adding, “We wanted to paint on the ground, paint on the walls, make space for installations.”
The inaugural show was Denton's oil painting and installation work exploring weird dimensions, titled Garage Sale, followed up by Griego's collection of oil paintings, dubbed Anthrax on Toast. These works create vague narratives through the presentation of domestic spaces woven with snippets of memory. A study in brevity, each show is up for only a week, so by the time you're reading these words, both Garage Sale and Anthrax on Toast will have come and gone from the 99 Cent Store, but Moquin's Bad Habits will be up for viewing on Friday, Oct. 28, and Trujillo's This Must Be The Place, will have a reception on Friday, Nov. 4. Each show will be held from 6-9pm, and by appointment the week preceding (to make an appointment, send a direct message to the group's Instagram @99centstore_).
Throughout the whirlwind month of leases, installations, promotions, clean-up and re-setting, they've found a clarity of focus. “We've been in this mindset of, 'if there's a will, there's a way,'” Trujillo explained. “It's such a cheesy thing to say, but seriously … we had to do it, so we found a way.” “You kind of have to pave your own way in this city … [that's why] the DIY scene in Albuquerque is really strong,” Griego added. As such, “We hope this encourages more people to DIY some stuff themselves,” Moquin concluded. Support these four artists, who have engineered their own pocket in Albuquerque's art scene by showing up for Bad Habits on Friday, Nov. 28, from 6-8pm and This Must Be The Place, on Friday, Nov. 4, from 6-8pm.