Long Island’s Auto Body was once a vacant car repair shop until a team of New York creatives—Georgia Read, Claire Read, Johnny Knapp, Tyler Healy, Aria McManus, Will Rose and Charlie Stravinsky— gave it new life as a local art exhibition space in 2013.
Its high-speed turnover of featured artists and musicians is not, however, restricted to the confines of Main Street in the small, surf town of Bellport, nor does it halt after the summer months—a point proven by an upcoming show the team will be presenting Dec. 4 during Miami Art Basel.
“The Miami show will feature over 40 artists contributing works of all mediums that will be installed in the garden of a friend’s house on Sunset Drive of Sunset Island,” Georgia said. “Evan Robarts is an artist and friend of Auto Body’s, who grew up in Miami and has recently turned his childhood home and tropical garden into a unique exhibition space. For this show, the garden will become the gallery.”
Robarts’ house is evocative of William Eggleston’s retro suburban simplicity, and for Auto Body’s show will become home to a range of work from individuals that all connect back, through different degrees of separation, to the core members of Auto Body. Contributing artists were all given the same instruction, which was in fact the only instruction: their work must fit inside a carry-on. Beyond this, the premise of their show, according to Claire, is focused on themes surrounding the outdoors.
“We are having fun with the offsite location by asking artists to create works that are site specific, inspired by the sunset and the warm outdoors,” Claire said. “The artists are all displaying works for the exteriors of the house on Miami Beach. With this show, we’re sticking to our usual intentions of inclusion, both as artists and as guests. The exhibition features a range of people, some early on in their careers as artists, others far along, all with mixed ages and backgrounds.”
Auto Body continues to exist as a self-proclaimed “outsider” space; the show takes place during a week in which a mainstream crowd flocks to Miami for Art Basel, but the location and intentions of Auto Body’s exhibition challenges visitors to step outside their social circles at the art fair.
After spending two seasons operating exclusively from Bellport, where they’ve received positive feedback and support, the gallery is itching to expand, all while maintaining their humble, community-based intentions.