Call it a Presidents Day miracle. “Next Generation,” a pop-up exhibit mounted new D.C. gallery Contemporary Wing, experienced a minor hiccup this weekend that nearly forced the show to close. But NIMBYism didn’t bring the exhibit down.
According to Contemporary Wing gallerist Lauren Gentile, an inspector from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs was called out to the pop-up exhibit at 1250 9th St. NW after receiving a complaint that the space lacked bathroom facilities. (Who made the complaint? Gentile says she knows, but won’t identify the claimant.) Though Gentile claims that she had the proper permits—business license, special-events insurance, and certificate of occupancy—she says that the temporary C of O was no longer on file with the DCRA. “I got closed, and a $4000 fine, and fined $4000 everyday I was open,” Gentile writes by email. “So I closed the show down.”
But after sending personal emails to the D.C. Council, Mayor Vincent Gray, and DCRA making her case, she says she received an email on Sunday from Mayor Gray and DCRA director Nicholas Majett. In the space of a couple hours on Sunday, she says, they were able to fix the problem, waiving her fines and reissuing her C of O.
How did Gentile get the personal treatment? She appealed to them directly, she says. “The reason they fixed it so fast is because I was able to get it to their personal email addresses,” she says. “I think most of the time these guys don’t even know about these situations, the inquiries get caught up in all the steps you have to take, but once they know, they’re rational and helpful people.”
The show, City Paper reviewed here, is open through March 10—barring any other incidents.