A SCARY LOVE – GALLERY 1988’S OPENING NIGHT OF GHOSTBUSTERS 30TH
by: jay carlson.
A couple of us step into a long line as a big kid, in his twenties, decked out in a very home made Ghostbusters costume turns around, the vintage toy Ghostbusters proton pack bumping the person next to him. “I’m going to scan you,” he says as he pulls out the vintage toy PKE Meter. He runs it over me and luckily I pass, apparently the spirit of Vinz Clortho is not present. The pretty girl next to me in line is scanned next. “Uh oh, watch out for her.” She plays it off pleasantly while giving her partner the look of, “What did I get dragged into here?”
I’m about fifty people deep in a line full of fanatics for Gallery 1988’s first stop on their traveling art show in honor of Ghostbusters 30th anniversary. The energy of the line was palpable. There were many people fully decked out in Ghostbusters gear, not the DIY quality of the guy in front of me, mind you. These were people who spent some serious time building proton packs and securing the correct patches, elbow pads and jumpsuits to have the full Ghostbusting effect. One guy even had an actual unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back. Maybe not, but it sure looked like it. There was a camaraderie amongst these people, myself included, a shared interest that united everyone regardless of how weird some of them (us?) were.
The sun began to droop and the doors finally opened, the people began to file in in waves. Like many, I wasn’t just here to look at the great stuff on the walls, I wanted to leave with great stuff to cover some of the walls at the office, and speak with the man behind it all. Outside of the slow reveal of some of the pieces online, there was an air of secrecy to what most of the pieces looked like. I was after a regular and variant of the amazing Joshua Budich print which has the distinction of having all four lead actors signing off on it (Harold Ramis signed off just a couple days prior to his passing). Mondo’s own Justin Ishmael lamented about the limitations of the Ghostbusters license in an interview back in 2011, Stating that if they wanted to create a poster, they wouldn’t be able to include any of the actual Ghostbusters on it. Gallery 1988 didn’t have any such limitations for the 30th anniversary pieces.
After a couple waves of people entered I was finally able to gain access. The room itself was small and unremarkable, but nobody was there for the color of the walls. Immediately you see the full sized Slimer coming out of a ghost trap in the middle of the room. It was quite a thing to behold in person. I next noticed the crowd swarming in the back so I knew I had to make haste to get to the area to buy prints without taking the time to admire the works on the walls before everything was gone. It quickly became hot and people were a bit confused as to what the process was to make a purchase. When I got closer I could see how the operation was running. The staff consisted of four people were running around like crazy to service the throngs of people surging forward. The point man, Jensen Karp, co-owner of Gallery 1988 was the face of the operation along with an assistant taking the orders out front with a couple others compiling the orders behind a curtain. The process was slow going but they certainly did an excellent job staying calm under pressure and remaining cheerful during the process. The stress of the crowd lifted a bit once people realized the method of how orders were being taken.
Once I realized I could look around and didn’t have to turn the place into Thunderdome to get some prints I finally took a walk around. Frankly, Gallery 1988 killed it. The care and appreciation that they and the artists they curated was obvious. It really was something to behold, to see so many cool pieces of art based on a film that is obviously near and dear to a great many.
By the time I got to the front I had a full blown list of pieces I now wanted in addition to the Budich. Variants were all scarce by that point but I certainly did not leave empty handed, I would have emptied more money out if I had it to spend. Once I had posters in hand and realizing that Jensen would be occupied all night I took another swing through and decided to talk to him when things weren’t so crazed. As I went to exit, twenty minutes before the gallery was due to close there was still a long line of people reaching far down the block. Jensen later told me that they stayed open for an additional hour to accommodate as many fans as possible.
Jensen was gracious enough to answer some questions after the dust had settled on opening night.
(ABOVE: Gallery 1988 Co-owners Jensen Karp and Katie Cromwell)
Why a Ghostbusters anniversary show?
We had a deal with Sony for a part marketing campaign we did for the incredible TV show Breaking Bad that was really successful. When we went back into the studio to talk about upcoming projects, Ghostbusters was thrown out there early for the 30th anniversary of the movie, and we jumped at it. It’s one of my favorite movies of all-time, and we know how it’s in everyone’s hearts. We argue it’s actually one of the best movies off all-time, so we knew it would inspire a lot of other creatives to produce beautiful artwork inspired by it. Just seemed like a real no-brainer.
How did you get so many talented artists involved?
These artists are actually people who show with us all year long, some for about ten years. Most of them had never even shown with a gallery when we first started working with them. We always say we are a first stop for many fast moving trains. We’re honored to have such a talented group of artists participating in our big shows, and in turn it only makes sense that they are going to become more popular over time.
Was the studio involved creatively in the creation of any of the pieces?
Not creatively at all. They have some guidelines they need to stick to based on their own inner dealings, but they were incredible, helping us with every step along the way, and fighting the fights that needed to happen. We couldn’t have been luckier in that sense.
With so many great pieces in the show what is your personal favorite and why?
I have a lot of favorites, but I’ve become a really big fan of Andrew DeGraff, who paints very detailed and inclusive maps for movies. They are so intense and he will have to watch the movie dozens of times while painting. I can’t do it any justice by talking about it, but you just have to see it. Google Andrew DeGraff, then imagine how stoked you’d be to see him tackle Ghostbusters. That’s the piece!
(ABOVE: Andrew Degraff’s Amazing Ghostbusters print)
It’s been a couple days how has the reception been so far?
Incredible. The opening reception was packed and there was a line down the block for hours. We had to stay open an hour later and everything. Really incredible here in NY and we can’t wait to go to other cities. And all the sales online at Ghostbusters30th.com have gone above and beyond our expectations, as we’ve released posters over the past week.
What’s surprised you the most about this (the NYC show) experience?
I think I’m just surprised about how posters we’re selling are ending up on eBay so much, because we’ve went out of our way to tour the show make sure more people get a chance to get prints than ever before. It’s still SLIGHTLY difficult, but we have allotments for every city. You need one friend, even just through a Facebook page, to go and help you out at any of those locations. No need to spend 4x or 5x on eBay for a majority of the prints. Very weird.
Are there any thoughts to do more film specific shows like this one? Is so, what films do you think are deserving?
We are always working on new ideas with studios for marketing, so we’re in the mix for new stuff all the time. Hoping for the best!
What surprises do you have up your sleeves for the next stops?
We will be adding small elements to every stop art-wise, so that should cause a small commotion.
Finally, What do you think the appeal is for Ghostbusters after so many years?
I always quote Dan Aykroyd when people ask about the lasting effect of this movie. He once said that at its core Ghostbusters isn’t about sci-fi or ghosts, it’s actually about 3 guys starting a business. And with that in mind, it’s insanely relatable. It’s just a great movie with great characters and jokes. At the end of the day, that will give a movie legs.
Gallery 1988’s Ghostbusters show makes its next stop at their home base in LA beginning Saturday May 17th through June 1st.
All the announcements for sales online and the stops are being updated regularly on twitter @galleries1988 and the Gallery 1988 Facebook page.