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They're At Capacity

André 's Sculpted Nightclubs Draw A Crowd, Too Large—Literally—To Get In

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André Saravia   
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Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. If you're in the downtown art scene, that place is The Hole. Since opening two years ago—and especially since moving to The Bowery last June—Kathy Grayson's gallery has been bringing together many of the scribblers, scratchers, designers, and spinners that make things hum below 14th Street.

The two shows that opened last night adopted that community as a theme: Portrait of a Generation, which paired up artists for mutual renditions, and Andrépolis, an installation by Le Baron's André Saraiva that depicts the city as nocturnal theme park.

Appropriately, eager gallery-goers (at least one of them shirtless, several of them brown-paper-bagging it) waited at a velvet rope to get access to Saraiva's work, a neat arrangement of human-scaled Deco skyscrapers outfitted with mirrors and go-go signage. "Each building is a dream night club that you can never go in, because the doors are too small," Saraiva explained. His mini-city brings together elements of Paris' Pigalle, the Memphis Design Group, and the surreal metropolis of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comic strips, and grew (if we may claim some credit) out of the maps he drew for the inaugural issue of Style.com/Print.

"The creativity that I find in night life, I don't find it so much during the day," Saraiva said. No doubt mayoral types Dustin Yellin and Johan Lindeberg (who'd thrown a party in his BLK DNM store the night before) would echo that sentiment. But Grayson, no slouch when it comes to community-organizing, pointed out that Saraiva crafts social worlds with a childlike enthusiasm that's all his own. "Yeah, he's kind of flirty and very French, but he really is just this positive glue—he loves everybody," she offered. "Without people like André bringing us together, we're just all lonely in our little apartments. New York would suck."

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