Storefront for Art and Architecture
Storefront for Art and Architecture is a contemporary art and architecture institution in SoHo, Manhattan, New York City, founded by Kyong Park in 1982. Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design.
The organization was founded by Kyong Park with R.L. Selman in 1982 in a tiny storefront at 51 Prince Street. Park was the Executive Director from its founding until 1998. Subsequent Directors include Eva Franch i Gilabert (2010–present). Storefront's program includes exhibitions, events (performances, artists talks, film screenings, conferences), competitions and publications with the stated intention of "generating dialogue and collaboration across geographic, ideological and disciplinary boundaries."
At the beginning, Storefront balanced solo or group exhibitions with idea competitions and exhibitions to functionally and/or poetically address NYC issues with broad implications including the polluted Gowanus Canal '83, NYC Homeless Shelters '85–86, preservation of Adam Purple's "Garden on Eden" '84 and removal of Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc" '85. Early exhibitors included Lebbeus Woods, Imre Makovecz, Neil Denari, Zvi Hecker, Thom Mayne and Tehching Hsieh.
The 1987 exhibition "Bodybuildings" was the first solo show of the New York-based architecture practice Diller + Scofidio (now Diller, Scofidio + Renfro). The exhibition of the practice's early work explored concepts related to both art and architecture.
In 1992, artist Vito Acconci and architect Steven Holl created a new facade through the installation of a series of panels that open onto the sidewalk. This facade, still in place, challenges the distinction between public and private space and is perhaps what the organization is today most known for internationally.
In 2006–2007, the exhibition "Clip, Stamp, Fold" addressed the important role of independent architecture publications in the architectural movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
Storefront responded to the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City by calling for public submissions of ideas for improving communication with economic and political powers.
In 1993 Storefront commissioned a collaboration between artist Vito Acconci and architect Steven Holl to redesign the facade of the Kenmare Street gallery space. The resulting project transformed the structure by placing rotating panels of various orientation along the length of the gallery's facade. When the panels are open the design is meant to blur the border between the gallery and the street in order to create a dialogue between the experimental projects being exhibited inside and the city outside. Though the original design was only intended to last for two years, the building has become an architectural landmark in New York City since its completion in 1993. The facade underwent restoration in the summer of 2008.
The format of shows have ranged from single artist site-specific installations, to thematic group shows that have addressed issues from new technology to the social and political forces that shape the built environment. Over one thousand artists, architects and designers have shown at Storefront including projects by Bjarke Ingels Group, Jean Nouvel, Terence Gower, Yves Klein, Torolab, Sze Tsung Leong, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Diller + Scofidio, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Lebbeus Woods, Dan Graham, and Shirin Neshat. Information about these exhibitions, as well as all the others, is available in the archive.
Beyond the space of the gallery, Storefront develops projects through temporary actions that bring Storefront's programming to places and cities around the world.
In 2008, a Pop-Up exhibition, "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed," was held in an unused portion of a print éworks on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles from April 11 to May 17 of that year and featured Frédéric Chaubin's photographs of late Soviet architecture.
In 2009, the Spacebuster, a mobile inflatable structure – a portable, expandable pavilion – designed by Raumlabor to transform public spaces of all kinds into points for community gathering, traveled throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn for 10 consecutive evenings hosting various community events.
Postopolis! an on-going series of talks held in New York (2007), Los Angeles (2009) and Mexico City (2010) reflect about the current state of cities and design practices through a series of public sessions of near-continuous conversations curated by some of the world’s most prominent thinkers from the fields of architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, music and design.
Storefront maintains an archive as an open public resource for anyone interested in experimental art and architecture available by appointment. A brief version of the archive can be found on-line within Storefront's webpage.
Discussions and performances
Through a constant programming of events, Storefront provides a forum for discussion of contemporary issues through book discussions, film screenings or performances. As a platform to expose innovative ideas in relation to established discourses, Storefront operates as a space of encounter between institutionalized realms of practice and emerging voices through new formats of exchange and debate.
With the aim to address relevant issues within contemporary culture, Storefront has held a series of competitions throughout its history. In 1985 within the exhibition "Homeless at Home" a call for designs asked for the projection of alternative housing models for homeless in New York. In 1985, "Before the Whitney" asked for alternative designs for the Whitney Museum. In 2008 "White House Redux" asked for alternative designs of the White House. In 2010, Total Housing asked for new typologies of inhabitation that addressed outmoded ideas of domestic space and contemporary urban lifestyles. In 2011, on the occasion of the Festival of Ideas for the New City, "StreetFest" asked for alternative models of temporary outdoor spaces for public occupation and gathering.
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