Storefront for Art and Architecture

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Storefront for Art and Architecture is an independent art and architecture organization located in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The organization, a non-profit, is committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design.

Storefront for Art and Architecture
FounderKyong Park
PurposeAdvancement of architecture, art and design
HeadquartersSoHo, Manhattan, New York, United States


The organization was founded by Kyong Park with R.L. Seltman in 1982 in a tiny storefront at 51 Prince Street. With co-director Glenn Weiss (1984-86), the Storefront implemented its "civic dialogue and activist" project format and moved the Storefront to its location at Kenmare Street. The artist Shirin Neshat co-directed the Storefront with her husband Park Neshat until the mid 90s and Park was the Executive Director from its founding until 1998. Subsequent Directors include Sarah Herda, Joseph Grima, Eva Franch Gilabert (2010–present). Storefront's program includes exhibitions, events (performances, artists talks, film screenings, conferences), competitions and publications.[1]

At the beginning, Storefront balanced solo or group exhibitions with idea competitions and exhibitions to functionally and/or poetically address NYC issues with social 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.[1]

Gallery space[edit]

Exterior view of the gallery during an exhibit.

Storefront is located in a triangular ground-level space on 97 Kenmare Street in Soho, NY. Nearly 10 feet (3.0 m) long, the gallery tapers from 20 feet (6.1 m) to 3 feet (0.91 m) at its west end.

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 unique architecture has stuck around since its completion in 1993. The facade underwent restoration in the summer of 2008.



At the beginning, Storefront hosted solo or group exhibitions that functionally and/or poetically addressed NYC issues with social 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, Coop Himmelblau, Dan Graham, Carolee Schneemann, Michael Sorkin, Richard Serra, Imre Makovecz, Neil Denari, Zvi Hecker, SITE, Steven Holl, Thom Mayneand Tehching Hsieh.[2]

Early shows included Jean Nouvel, Coop Himmelblau, Michael SorkinStudio, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson. In addition, the 1987 exhibition "Bodybuildings" was the first solo show of the New York-based architecture practice Diller + Scofidio.

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.

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.

In 2011, Storefront responded to the Occupy Wall Streetmovement in New York City by calling for public submissions of ideas for improving communication with economic and political powers.

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[3], 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.[2]


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.

A series of talks, "Postopolis!," were 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.

In 2012, Storefront teamed up with design studios Family New York and PlayLab to help add exposure for the +POOL project, as part of the Storefront Starter initiative.


Discussions and performances[edit]

Storefront also provides a forum for discussion of contemporary issues through book discussions, film screenings or performances with a goal to expose innovative ideas.[1]

Examples of artists and architects that have participated in Storefront events include Bernard Tschumi, Hilary Sample, Peter Cook, Mark Wigley, Jenny Sabin, Oana Stanescu, Bryony Roberts, Tatiana Bilbao, Mabel Wilson, Meejin Yoon, Juergen Mayer, Jimenez Lai, Rosalyne Shieh, Jing Liu (architect), Mitchell Joachim, and Saskia Sassen.


Storefront has also held a series of competitions with the aim to address relevant issues within contemporary culture. 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Alternative art, New York, 1965-1985 : a cultural politics book for the Social Text Collective. Ault, Julie., Social Text Collective., Drawing Center (New York, N.Y.). New York: Drawing Center. 2002. ISBN 0816637938. OCLC 50253087.
  2. ^ a b “Interview: Producing Alternatives for Now and Beyond, Storefront for Art and Architecture (Eva Franch).” Urbanism and Architecture, May 2017.
  3. ^ "LEGO Towers by Bjarke Ingels Group"[1]. Dezeen. Retrieved September 23, 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′17.3″N 73°59′49.5″W / 40.721472°N 73.997083°W / 40.721472; -73.997083