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2023-09-21 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine Ashley Longshore Wants to Bring Artists Back to SoHo

Ashley Longshore Wants to Bring Artists Back to SoHo

Factory girl
Ashley Longshore
SHE’LL TAKE MANHATTAN Ashley Longshore wants to conquer New York
Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews

There’s no mistaking the work of painter Ashley Longshore. All produced in unapologetically eye-popping colors, there are the portraits of iconic women that have adorned the gallery space at the Diane von Furstenberg store in the meatpacking district since 2019; the series of mylar balloons; and one self-portrait in which the artist is joined poolside by Andy Warhol and David Hockney, though their bodies are substituted for technicolor Care Bears.

There are the glittering exclamations, too. One of her most notable works harkens in all capital letters: “I DO NOT COOK. I DO NOT CLEAN. I DO NOT FLY COMMERCIAL.” Her legions of superfans repeat these words, a mantra of sorts that simultaneously pokes fun at the one percent while also serving as a hopeful manifesto. This is the essence of an Ashley Longshore work, which can fetch up to $30,000 sold on Instagram alone. Collectors are in on the joke, and so too are those who opt for her more affordable home goods and collaborative products with the likes of Judith Leiber, Rizzoli, Ken Fulk, and Out East wine company.

When Avenue reached the artist at her home in the Louisiana countryside, she was in the final throes of completing a handful of new works but, more importantly, she was overseeing the construction of her new showroom and studio. Now open at 43 Crosby Street in SoHo, it’s a veritable fun house for Longshore loyalists, chock-full of every imaginable hue of paint and glitter and tulle, celebrations spilling into the streets, and surely no shortage of profanity.

Longshore’s ransom note-style piece Cheers to Those Who Wish Us Well All the Rest Can Go to Hell!, 2023, an acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of Ashley Longshore

You’re in Louisiana right now.
When I tell you I’m hot, there’s not a word to express the level of heat that is in Louisiana right now. I’m at my farm in Folsom, and I just keep saying it’s hotter than the devil’s butthole. I’m sitting under a disco ball in my painting studio out in the woods.

You are opening a new space in SoHo.
There isn’t an artist on the planet that wouldn’t dream about being in the absolute creative hub of America, much less the world. I’ve had so many collaborations and shows in New York throughout my career, but when I walked into this space, I got chills all over my body, and I saw a flash of the next part of my life, and I was like, “Let’s do this.”

Sounds like your next artistic chapter.
Absolutely. We’ve been through this pandemic. “Carpe diem” has never been more important. Being an artist and someone that loves creatives, that thrives on collecting art, and being around artists, I really want this to be a space where I can celebrate them and give them a space to show their work, to have big parties, and raise scholarship money. There’s no better place to do that than New York.

Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews

You’re going to have a stage in the space too.
The first two people that I want to celebrate in this space are Blaine Krauss and Daveed Baptiste. Krauss is an unbelievable performer. He just had a great show at Joe’s Pub. He’s been in Hamilton. The next is Daveed Baptiste, who is an incredible photographer. I would love to give him a space to show his work. There are an infinite number of creatives — everybody’s an artist.

Why SoHo?
Artists belong in SoHo. I want to have a space that is the antithesis of that typical, pretentious gallery scene. The opening installation is as maximalist as it gets. It will be like walking into my brain. It will make you feel something. It may make you fall in love. It may fill your soul with joy. It may make you want to run right out of the door.

You have an impressive collection of art that’s not yours.
Oh yes, there’s Amanda Greive, Wole Lagunju, Pascal Möhlmann, Roxanne Hauenherm, Adam Chuck, Bradley Hart, Chloe Early, and Nora Hall, just to name a few. I want to have a career like Warhol and leave a legacy like Peggy Guggenheim.

Longshore’s Floating In a Swan’s Dream, 2023, an acrylic on canvas with mixed media
Courtesy of Ashley Longshore

It seems like your SoHo space might have a Warhol Factory quality to it.
I want drag queens, full-frontal nudity, bizarre film installations.

New York will love it.
I want that creative freedom in this space. I can’t do that in any city. Let’s say I want some crazy installation. I’m sorry, they don’t have the capability of doing that in Topeka, Kansas, but you know who does? New York City has it all. It’s a buffet of bohemian madness.

Your collectors are very much a part of your cult.
They’re not just buying an image. They’re buying my spirit, so I want to give them everything I’ve got. People that get my artwork like to celebrate, and they like to have fun. My mother is the most pretentious person on the planet, so everything I do is in rebellion of that. I was raised to be a little Southern belle. I was raised to bat my eyes and smile if I disagreed with something, and I do the exact opposite.

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