District 10 Contemporary Opens On East

Arts & Culture

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAR 26, 2021

Out on East Avenue, north of Fruitville, amidst gravel lots and chain link fences and roughly equidistant to JDub’s Brewing, Canned Ham Vintage and not one but three autoshops, might not be where one would expect to find Sarasota’s newest fine art gallery. But according to Mr. Krisztian, the artist and owner behind District 10 Contemporary, maybe it should be. “These kinds of places—these industrial warehouse-type areas—are where a lot of artwork gets produced,” he says. “Most artists don’t have a downtown art studio.” District 10, on the other hand, used to be Mr. Krisztian’s studio.

Gone now is the shadowy paint-speckled den with the raw concrete floor, replaced by an aesthetic resembling something akin to industrial meets speakeasy, drenched from floor to ceiling in heavy coats of blazing white paint and accentuated with touches of deep copper in the seating, the overhead ducts and the great slab of a bar at the far end, where Gallery Director Richard Pellicci seems prepared to dispense a round of drinks as he is a word or two about the founding artist. But beyond the paint job, little has fundamentally changed on the inside. “Because that’s where a lot of these pieces were made,” Mr. Krisztian says. That therein lies something sacred remains unspoken but apparent.

Much of the conceptual work framing the gallery as a space seems to emphasize this sense of naked authenticity and acknowledgement of one’s roots. The name comes from Mr. Krisztian’s birthplace in Budapest, Hungary, and above the bar hangs one of his most recent, and most personal, experimental works. Entitled May 8 – August 26, the name denotes not only the amount of time that the work took to complete, with Mr. Krisztian ensconced behind a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and the studio closed to visitors, but pays tribute to his late father by marking the dates of his birth and his passing.

A massive multimedia construction and a massive departure from the self-taught artist’s previously exhibited work, the piece eschews the canvas foundation in favor of warped and weathered wooden planks, upon which the artist affixes patches of painted canvas in abstract forms and uses everything from nails to knives to screwdrivers to carve deep lines and arcs filled with vibrant hues like cartographic graffiti. The rich color palette and flair for drama remain, marking the piece as distinctly Mr. Krisztian, but in service to something new. “I’m always experimenting,” he says. Another new series pays tribute to one of his favorite pastimes—chess—with metal grid-like structures imposing a novel sort of geometric order on the artist’s creation.

But although Mr. Krisztian owns the gallery, plans are currently in the works to show work from a number of artists across the country, including sculptors. “There will be plenty of rotation,” he says, “so you feel like you’re entering an exhibition, as opposed to walking into a store.”

Caption: May 8 - August 26, by Mr. Krisztian. Located at 1326 N. East Avenue, Sarasota, District 10 Contemporary is currently open by appointment only. Contact Gallery Director Richard Pellicci at 941-552-8672 or 941-586-1485 to schedule.

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