Gallery 98

Andrew Castrucci and Bullet Space:
An Art Squat in the 1980s & ’90s

by Marc H. Miller and Jonah Wolf

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Andrew Castrucci with Your House Is Mine.
Photo by Robert Engbers, 1992.

In the mid-1980s, as gentrification encroached on the East Village, the neighborhood’s eastern fringe remained a lawless landscape of abandoned buildings and rubble-strewn lots. Here in “Alphabet City,” amid the thriving drug trade, intrepid squatters surreptitiously reclaimed unused real estate. In 1986, a group of artist squatters led by Tenesh Webber sledgehammered their way into 292 East Third Street, between Avenues C and D. Accommodating living spaces as well as an exhibition space, Bullet Space quickly became a nexus for the East Village tradition of politically radical, semi-legal street art, producing works like the handmade artists’ book Your House Is Mine, an unrivaled embodiment of the downtown aesthetic.

Prominent in the Bullet Space group were the Castrucci brothers: printmaker Andrew and architect Paul, who together had run the short-lived A&P Gallery a block away. At A&P, as at Bullet Space, Andrew’s expertise shone in the posters and flyers that now make up a decades-long record of both galleries, and of the shifting political climate. A&P exhibition posters mocked the villains of the era: President Ronald Reagan and real estate tycoon Donald Trump. At Bullet Space, posters publicized demonstrations in support of fellow squatters, and celebrated the continued renovation of the building itself.

As a printmaker, Andrew Castrucci led Bullet Space’s most ambitious project, Your House Is Mine: a set of posters waging, as Elizabeth Hess described it in Artforum (October 1991), “an ongoing class war against landlords, drugs, and AIDS and an eloquent protest against the lack of a safe environment for children.” From 1988 to 1992, Andrew worked with selected artists at the Bullet Print Shop and the Lower East Side Print Shop to create the 33 prints that would appear first as street posters, and subsequently as a limited-edition artist’s book, produced with Nadia Coen and Paul Castrucci. With contributions from Sandra “Lady Pink” Fabara, David Wojnarowicz, Anton van Dalen, John Fekner, Lee Quiñones, and other local street artists, the book is now seen as an essential record of the politically assertive art of the Lower East Side at the end of the century.

Bullet Space door

Bullet Space door

Bullet Space exterior

Bullet Space exterior

Posters from Your House Is Mine

Posters from Your House Is Mine

Bullet Space interior, with posters and book

Bullet Space interior, with posters and book

Bullet Space remains active today. Gallery 98’s online exhibition focuses on its early history, in the 1980s and 1990s, and on the printmaking work of Andrew Castrucci, with original posters from A&P and Bullet Space, as well as from Your House Is Mine. Over the last 25 years, the original 150 books printed have found their way into many prominent collections, including the Library of Congress and Museum of Modern Art. Gallery 98 offers one of the last available copies, as well as selected individual posters, drawn from a small collection of artists’ proofs and now made available for the first time.

Exhibition Items

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A&P Gallery

“Linus Coraggio, ‘Backstabbing—Distrust,'” exhibition poster, 1985

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A&P Gallery

Andrew Castrucci, “I Love You, Nancy,” group exhibition poster, 1985

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A&P Gallery

Andrew Castrucci, “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” group exhibition poster, 1986

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A&P Gallery

“Tom McGlynn, ‘West Wing,'” exhibition poster, 1986

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A&P Gallery

“Day Gleeson/Dennis Thomas, Collaborative Work,” exhibition poster, 1986

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Bullet Space

Andrew Castrucci, poster for demonstration, 1988

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Bullet Space

Paul Castrucci, “Bullet: An Act of Resistance,” exhibition poster, 1989

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Bullet Space

“Bullet: An Act of Resistance,” Xerox ‘zine, 1989

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Bullet Space

Paul Castrucci, “Dirt Party,” flyer, 1989

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Bullet Space

Andrew Castrucci, “S.O.S.” poster, 1994

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Bullet Space

“Your House Is Mine,” oversize artists’ book with 33 signed silkscreen prints, 1992

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Andrew Castrucci

“Fishook,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Nadia Coen

“Survival of the Fittest,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Betzaida Concepción

“By Betsy,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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John Fekner

“Slowdown Children Growing,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Avram Finkelstein and Vincent Gagliostro

“Enjoy AZT,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Lady Pink

“Under the Brooklyn Bridge,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Tom McGlynn & Emily Carter

“I 💔 NY,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Miguel Piñero and Andrew Castrucci

“Book of Genesis According to Saint Miguelito,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Lee Quiñones and Eduardo Galeano

“Century of the Wind,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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James Romberger/
Marguerite Van Cook

“We’re Concerned. Are You?” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Juan Sánchez

“¿Dónde Está Mi Casa,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Stash Two

“Subway Map,” spray paint on subway map, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Seth Tobocman

“Umbrella House,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Anton van Dalen

“Home, Family, Work, Community,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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David Wojnarowicz

“Democracy,” color silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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David Wojnarowicz

“Democracy,” black & white silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Martin Wong

“Viva tu Vida en Loisaida,” silkscreen print, from Your House Is Mine, 1990

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Bullet Space/Print Club (Philadelphia)

“We, the People,” exhibition poster, designed by John Fekner and Andrew Castrucci, 1991

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Bullet Space

“Your House Is Mine,” tabloid newspaper, 1993