Twin sisters highlight artists of color in new exhibition

Twin sisters highlight artists of color in new exhibition|Twin sisters highlight artists of color in new exhibition
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon|Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

Twin sisters are currently staging the largest-ever exhibition of art by people of color in the Tri-state region at the Interchurch Center Gallery in Manhattan through Nov. 30.

Identical twins and gallerists Karen and Sharon Mackey are featuring 65 different works by 14 artists in their new show “Art’s Conscience II,” and the pair say they hope the pieces and the messages behind them will inspire visitors to become art collectors and create spaces for the artists to show their works.

“Our goal is for people to understand that we are responsible for keeping art alive — especially the art by artists of color because they don’t have the platforms,” said Karen Mackey, co-founder of Mackey Twins Art Gallery. “When an artist creates, there’s a lot that goes into that process — from what’s going culturally, historically, or what’s going on with them. We want people to understand that part — the consciousness of art to make that process real for people.”

The 14 artists, who include veteran Florida artist James Denmark and Xenobia Bailey — a crochet artist whose work is featured on ceiling tiles at the 34th Street Hudson Yards subway station — will also be part of a panel discussion on the exhibit’s reception night on Nov. 11.

Guests and potential collectors can learn about the works from the people who made them and participate in a question and answer session. The exhibition is a follow-up to the Mackays’ first “Art’s Conscience” show in 2013. The audience responded so positively to the artists’ work, that the sisters decided to return for another show , they said.

“My sister and I were feeling that we’re going to have to come back to this again,” said Sharon Mackey. “People said the artists were skinless and so honest, that it helped them see and better understand this art world.”

The Mackeys intend on selling all the pieces at the month-long exhibit, and say they want to expose the artists’ work to buyers with a large reach.

Bailey’s work is now seen by millions, after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority chose her pieces to adorn the subway stop, and the twins want to see similar opportunities and investments for other artists of color.

“This was a huge project for her and to have a woman of color’s artwork grace Hudson Yards — it doesn’t just happen like that,” said Sharon Mackey. “But that’s part of our role as gallerists to connect people and get them to know that a black woman’s work is represented there.”

They’d especially like to see more artists of color get the chance to have their work seen in everyday places, like hotels.

“One of our missions is to develop collectors and get artwork of people of color in hotels,” said Karen Mackey. “There’s two to three pieces of art in a hotel room, and we want our artists there. We want some of our artists to land those contracts.”

“Art’s Conscience II” at Interchurch Center Gallery [475 Riverside Dr. between W. 119 and W. 120th streets in Manhattan, (212) 870–2200,]. Oct. 31–Nov. 30, 9 am–5 pm. Opening reception Nov. 11 at 5:30–9 pm.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at
Original artwork: The Mackey twins are showing artist Xenobia Bailey’s crochet work. A tiled version of the work can be found on the cielings of the 34th Street–Hudson Yards station in Manhattan.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon