ADAM H WEINERT
In a city where artists are forcibly priced out to the margins, and coinciding with the beginnings of Occupy Wall Street, we set out to address the crisis of finding space to create art in New York. While a townhouse on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was being converted back into a single family home, the seven units, basement, and rooftop were emptying. During that time, we invited nine artists to respond, inhabit, and document these transitional spaces and use them as a platform for artistic expression.
This conceit speaks to a number of contemporary issues on both macro and micro levels. Class stratification is the most dramatic it’s been since the turn of the 20th century when the building was built. Its reconversion speaks to certain themes of disinheritance that have become a part of our everyday lives. Just as the demolition of this building represents a devolution of sorts, these empty units became a springboard to express architectural, autobiographical, and sociological points of view.
The diverse group of artists came with backgrounds ranging from visual art to dance to music. They were given the following tasks:
9 spaces, 9 artists, 3 minute works in 3 weeks’ time.
o The work may include or exclude any part of the area you are given, but the point of entry to the space must be visible at some point.
o The work must include a “revelation of space.”
o We encourage you to put the space into “crisis.”
The responses ranged from the absurd to the acute. Alexander Ekman, a choreographer, filled the space with feathers and performed a dance that seemed to suspend gravity. Phyllis Chen, a composer, occupied the double mirrors in the vestibule, creating an environment both claustrophobic and infinite. Marine Penvern, a visual artist, prepared a quiche on the flesh of a nude model. Charlotte Bydwell, a performance-based artist, rebuilt her own living space inside of the building using masking tape and paper cutouts. Chris Garneau, a musician, locked himself in a dungeon found in the basement and eulogized the space with “The Goodbye Song.”
Following these in situ performances, we plan on gathering the video documentation and creating a short film, as well as devising a way to transform these works and the building they inhabited into a gallery installation.