July 7, 2021

Salem Art Gallery: Not Just for Satanists

by joeyphoenix

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by Joey Phoenix
Editor’s Note: Scroll to the bottom to see upcoming events

Now at the curatorial helm of the Salem Art Gallery at The Satanic Temple (TST) Headquarters in Salem, MA,  Head Curator Nathan Emm (he/him/his) has big plans for the space. 

“Although this is the de facto headquarters for the Satanic Temple, its main function is as an art gallery, a community space, and a library,” Emm said. “The Temple has done an incredible job with global outreach, but there’s really a lot of opportunity to integrate the gallery and the space itself into our local community.” 

Built as a private home in 1868, it operated as a funeral parlor for over three decades beginning in the 1930s. After enduring neglect, the building was extensively restored and renovated. The mansion was opened to the public in 2016 where it now serves as TST’s headquarters and an art gallery with a permanent exhibit dedicated to witch-hunts, Satanism, and moral panics.  The space also hosts and performs formal ceremonial events, lectures, screenings, and meetings. Plus, there’s always a chance for a photo op with the renowned Baphomet statue or in the opulent throne room. 

“One of the bigger misconceptions about our gallery is that the works that we’re showing and the artists we’re bringing in are only for Satanists, when the reality is we’re about making incredible art happen in the space,” Emm explained. 

Recently the art gallery hosted Incipit Spring, a group show co-organized with Salem Arts Association featuring the work of local artists and their interpretations of renewal, growth, and the season itself. 

Currently on display is We’ve Become What We Parody, a solo exhibition by artist, musician, author, writer, filmmaker, musician, and academic Cevin Soling. The works presented bend the familiar to create an alternate world that exposes the undercurrents of hypocrisy and violence that persist beneath everyday objects’ venire. 

TST has also opened a special BnB experience with a luxury bedroom suite on the upper floor, which you can rent for a night via this link for $666/night with discounts for multiple nights. 

Satanic Temple Headquarters BnB, Salem

“We have this big, beautiful, ginormous building. Let’s use it.” 

Although The Satanic Temple itself has become internationally famous for its advocacy work with body autonomy, reproductive rights, and mental health malpractice – alongside some critical misunderstanding about the nature of the Temple’s mission, the gallery arm of the organization is shifting the focus towards art and fostering collaboration with other small businesses and creatives in the community. 

“A rising tide raises all boats,” Emm said. “For us, it’s not about competition, we really want to work together with other small businesses in the community and co-produce really exciting projects. We want to host theatrical productions, salons, dark events, art events, metal nights..”. 

“We have this big, beautiful, ginormous building. Let’s use it.” 

Here are some of the upcoming events at the Salem Art Gallery, but Nathan Emm highly encourages any and all local small businesses, creative professionals, artists, and performers to reach out with ideas for collaboration to nathan@salemartgallery.com

Upcoming Events at the Salem Art Gallery

Cevin Soling
We’ve Become What We Parody

Exhibition Dates: July 7–September 19, 2021
Opening Reception: July 10th, 6:00-8:00pm

The works serve as critiques of both ourselves and our culture designed to prompt unsettling questions. What kind of world have we created? What do we value, and what do we want to achieve? How do we suppress thoughts of our eventual demise and the specter of violence that surrounds us? Alienation plays a significant role – not as a subject as one might expect, but rather as an object. Alienation from selves, from others, from our culture and history, from the things we produce, and the things to which we aspire are ultimately what generate ironic humor in the dark landscape.

Reverend Jen Miller
Live & Live Streamed

Saturday, September 18, 7:00–8:30pm
Facebook link / Ticket Link

Reverend Jen is a Renaissance Elf, art star, painter, performer, filmmaker, “Anti-Slam” open mic host and author of six published books including “Elf Girl” (Simon & Schuster) and “Live Nude Elf” (Soft Skull.) Her various handcrafted art books can be found in collections that include the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MoMA Library and the Warhol Museum. Rev. Jen was also the founder of the world famous “Lower East Side Troll Museum” which was open from 2000-2016. The Troll Museum is now a “Troll Pantry” in Jen’s Brooklyn abode where she lives and works as a full-time personal assistant to her cat.

Alexander Reisfar
The Death of Gods and Masters

September 22–December 5, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 2, 6:00-8:00pm

Alexander has lended his brush to many bands over the years, his album covers include Arch Enemy, Sabbath Assembly, Lungs, and Silver Talon. A full album cover discography can be found here. Reisfar was the artist in residence at the John Natsoulas Gallery in 2012, where he became a member of the Davis Mural Team. The artist’s murals can be found in Davis CA, Oakland CA, and Portland OR. His paintings, both brooding and elegant, have been featured across the U.S. and can be found in numerous collections and outsider exhibitions around the world.

Daayani Takes Salem
Yoga Classes and Retreat at TST

October 1–3, 2020 | Facebook link

From the morning of Friday, October 1st through Sunday, October 3rd, we’ll practice yoga, magick, tarot, meditation, share delicious meals and drinks, and have fun activities planned during our wonderful weekend getaway! The BNB is about 35 minutes from Salem, and all yoga classes will be held at the Satanic Temple.

Learn more at: https://daayaniyoga.com/

Dionysus Stardust: Theater, Masks, and the Spectacle of Rock & Roll
Presented by Peter Bebergal

Friday, October 15 8:00–9:00pm
Facebook link / Ticket Link

Peter Bebergal, author of “Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll”, will discuss the relationship between theater, ritual, and popular music, with a look at the influence of ancient religious practice, turn of the century art, and occult lodge rites on the performance and culture of rock. From Robert Plant’s Dionysian swagger to Bowie’s alchemical transformations, Bebergal will reveal the gods under the masks of rock’s most arresting moments.

Capture the Summer with #SummerSnaps. This season, use the hashtag to be featured in our weekly Summer Snaps roundup. We’ll also be featuring work from local photographers who know always know how to get the shot.