Vector Gallery, JJ Brine Declares, Is “The Capitol Of The Post-Human Art Movement In A State Of Psychic Warfare With The U.S.”
Author | Annie Malamet
I’ve never considered myself a particularly spiritual person, but I think I have finally found the Lord at Vector Gallery on the Lower East Side. Run by JJ Brine, President of the Satanic State of Vector and “matchmaker for spirits seeking bodies,” the gallery is at once a host of Outsider art and it’s very own country, complete with it’s own constitution and governmentafter VECTOR seceded from the United States on November 8th of last year. Vector exists in a separate time and place, specifically the year 2018.
Vector Gallery has received a certain amount of notoriety in the six and half months since it’s establishment. The Huffington Post recently stated that Vector is the next Warhol factory. The gallery is growing quite quickly, and Brine is looking to expand into other spaces. Brine told me he is currently “being courted by investors with various interests in sponsoring my attainment of an additional space but that I’m holding out for the right kind of partnership in this regard.”
Brine has developed another set of vocabulary to preach the word of Vector. He tells me Vector is “at war with secular society” and that his mission is to teach “Alan,” which is the essence we have all come from and must return to. Newbie visitors to the gallery are referred to as “Shays,” which Brine says are often shy at first, but quickly acclimate to the energy that Vector emanates. Indeed, though at first overwhelming with it’s neon lights and satanic paraphernalia, once inside the space is actually quite tranquil and inviting. Though certainly “unholy,” it is hard to believe that such an inviting space has caused uproar within conservative factions of the Christian community with a petition circling to get rid of the space, which protestors believe to be the physical embodiment of Satan’s will on earth. On the other hand, Brine told me “there are people who have seen the gallery and broken down in tears of joy, feeling an instant sense that they have finally found a place that they can truly call home.” I have to say; it is pretty refreshing to see that something can still shock New York. I’m not alone in this feeling, Brine tells me he’s gotten that response before.
Brine declares that Vector is the “capitol of the post-human art movement in a state of psychic warfare with the U.S.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it certainly sounds compelling. I don’t actually fully understand everything about Vector, but I suspect no one does. This is part of its charm. It’s combination of the mystical, the monotheistic, and it’s anathema affiliations make for an interesting contradiction. For example, Brine’s art incorporates “updated” references to the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, while at the same time worshipping Charles Manson as the Lord. Brine is even part of a music project called the LaBiancas (featured image) (an homage to the infamous Manson Family Tate-LaBianca murders). I asked Brine if he’d had any contact with Manson, and he told me he’d met his son and that “Charlie thinks the LaBiancas are cool.”
When Brine and I entered the gallery together, he noticed a letter had been slipped under the door. It was a lovingly collaged, handmade envelope with a note inside asking Brine to draw out a map of Vector. I was so pleased to see someone getting excited about this space. Brine told me he gets all kind of fan mail, that a young teenage girl on Tumblr messaged him to say she’s so excited to come to New York and visit Vector. It really is so moving to see people enthusiastic about an artistic space. Keeping in this vein, I asked Brine how he sees Vector interacting with the queer community at large. Brine sees Vector as not only an outlet for the queer community, but for anyone who feels like an outsider. “Insider Vector,” he said, “it doesn’t matter what your sexuality is or who you are dating.”
When I attended Mass at Vector on Saturday night, I saw its community in action. One by one, members stood at the front and preached their various sermons. A crowd of weekday commuters unwinding on the Lower East Side stood outside yelling colorful commentary, while those inside listened in awed silence to the speeches. I felt imbued with some sense of community and spirituality after this experience. I left the gallery and saw a sign advertising psychic readings for $10. I felt inspired by Vector, and rang the doorbell to the psychic’s old school apartment. Sitting on her hot pink couch, she told me I needed a lot of spiritual work and asked if I’d be willing to put $500 on my credit card today toward my psychic healing. But why spend the money when I can go to Vector for free?
Visit Vector Gallery at 40 Clinton Street on the Lower East Side, every day from 9pm to 5am