If Andy Warhol's Factory existed in Nashville, it would be Chestnut Square. The 100-year-old building was the former residency of the May Hosiery Mill. (According to the flyer, the mill provided American astronauts with socks during the lunar landing of 1969.) The mill closed in the 1980s, and is now the home of 12 artist studios. The combination of artists and factory workers is an enduring metaphor — the process of creating art is often unglamorous, poorly compensated and kept under wraps. Tomorrow's open studios event will change that last detail: It marks the first time all of the artists will open their doors for a single occasion. You can't help but think the antiquated quality of a building with such a rich working class history must somehow spill over into the work of the artists who run studios there, or that the former factory workers act as ghostly muses.
We've included some of our favorite pieces from the artists whose studios are at Chestnut Square, including Kit Reuther's large-scale abstract work, which recalls Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat; Dane Carder's paintings of Civil War-era photograph; and new-to-Nashville artists Emily Clayton and Chris Roberson.
We'll see you there, and please don't forget to pull the lever on the old time-card punch that's located about midway down the front hall. There's no better way to bookend an exploration into the parallels between art studio and factory than with the ding of that art-deco artifact.