THE STORE: Curated by Molly Dilworth
featuring work by : Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, Asha Ganpat, Dorothy Gambrell, Gloria Maximo and Shawn Mackinnon, Anne Spurgeon, Josh Weinstein, Erica Gordon, Federico Nessi, Bill Brown, Eugenia Chun, Michael Baers, Marina Zurkow, Richard Saja, John Drury, Andrea Merkx.
The great American store:
what it was, what it is – The 1960’s marked a turning point in the discourse of contemporary art in its relation to commerce through the confluence of art, design, marketing and concept known today as pop art.
Claes Oldenburg’s year-long project “The Store” (1961) featured a collection of handmade replicas of utilitarian objects – stockings, dresses, shirts, shoes, pies and ice cream sandwiches – made from muslin, plaster and chicken wire. Three years later “The American Supermarket” at Bianchini Gallery (1964) displayed a variety of “products”, including Oldenburg’s handmade pastries, Andy Warhols’ Soup can image silk-screened shopping bags, and Robert Watts’ etched “dollar bills” which became known as Pop Currency.
The impulses behind these mid-century pop experiments – the handmade replica, the mass-produced multiple, and the subversive replica – operate in the vast grey area between art and commerce.
The influence of this work on current artistic production is still prevalent as the commodification of everyday life continues. It is evident in everything from self-published zines and comics to covert art actions such as shopdropping and flash mobs. Artists are using any and every means possible to engage, critique and subvert traditional commerce and to assert individuality in a world of commodities and media. Though the projects share a conceptual legacy the output includes the handmade, mass produced and virtual; they are often to be found right under our noses – hidden in plain sight.
Part 1: The great American STORE:
features fifteen projects which engage the practices of art and commerce. By turning cold hard cash into mouthwatering pastries Marina Zurkow literally puts her money where her mouth is. In two different projects Zoë Sheehan Saldaña pays homage to the consumption of goods and services. Her drawings of consumer packaging rework the overlooked beauty in the banal, her Wal-Mart pieces employ the subversions of shopdropping to examine the American relationship to the Global Village. Asha Ganpat questions viewers’ sense of faith by hiding a diamond in one of 1000 Virgin Mary casts. What is revered: the art, icon or chance for a diamond? In the spirit of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” Josh Weinsteinattempts to crack the surface of American retail when he takes his camera out for a day of products and pampering. John Drury creates collages, on vintage “sex joke” postcards, with the prices clipped and collected from advertisement circulars. These clipped prices are indiscriminately “drawn from a hat” and attached to the postcards, in an overall fashion, and the final collages sell for the totalled amounts. With on ounce of plush toy and a dash of psychopharmaceutical Eugenia Chun mixes up a cute and creepy critique of cultural production. Anne Spurgeon is a one-woman band, producer and designer who plays every role of a video for a long-forgotten pop artists Captain & Tennill. The re-imagined video and album art are available for a limited time. Order now to reserve your copy. In a lyrical deconstruction of the hero, Federico Nessi tracks the development of a boy and his weapon.
Dorothy Gambrell proves that the line between virtual is real is imaginary as she manifests the Trophy of Perpetual Futility from her online comic catandgirl into a material object. Through zines and experimental films Bill Brown is the wandering bard of modern America (and beyond). romantic testaments to the American wandering spirit. The Next Best Place, a DVD compilation of 4 films as well as Dreamwhip #13 and #14 will be available.
With equal parts iconography and traditional craft, blacksmith Erica Gordon keeps alive the spirit of the great American belt buckle.
Michael Baers explores the laws of supply and demand with his publication Five Dollar Reward, starting price fifty cents, increasing fifty cents with each copy sold.
Poverty’s Remains is the brainchild of Gloria Maximo and Shawn Mackinnon, a line of clothing which combines architecture, fashion and design to produce magical clothing for the urban shaman.
Richard Sajas pillows explore the iconography through the visual languages of Braille and colonial American history.
Andrea Merkx dares viewers to step through the looking glass into the frenzied world of patriotic commercial culture in her installation of Americana tchotchkes and fake commercials.
Part 2 The great American STORE(AGE):
Four Cubic Feet – Now that we’ve produced, manufactured, advertised, sold and bought all these products, what do we do with them? We put them in storage. The personal storage industry in the US now generates revenues which exceed those of Hollywood; the average per capita share of storage space in the United States is four square feet.
Whether storage spaces are used temporarily during a move, as art storage for galleries, or as a warehouse for eBay sellers, storage has become an extension of the home and business in this country. One might even say that this trend, however unintentional, is evidence of an archiving craze which formerly was the exclusive realm of wealthy collectors, libraries and institutions. In the spirit of commodification of space itself and inspired by the accumulative nature of Americans, The Great American Store will house a temporary storage space in the gallery.
The storage facility in counterpoint to the store will be an archive for products, writing, and ephemera – really for whatever the public wants to submit. Visitors to the gallery will be encouraged to bring items of their choosing/design for display, sale, or just to store for a month. Each storage unit will have a volume of 4 feet (1’x1’x4′) and can be rented for the duration of the event for $4 each. The content of the storage units will be auctioned off at the end of the event in a public auction.Contributors to the Storage Units have submitted a collection of vintage perfume bottles, the contents of a stored box, long forgotten, labeled ‘crap’, a multimedia time capsule from the northwest, picture boxes from the edges of Melbourne, Australia, and other surprises. Additional storage units will available for rent through the duration of the show.
THE STORAGE: Four Cubic Feet
A selected group of artists and designers have contributed the contents to the storage boxes. A silent auction of the storage units will run throughout the duration of the show; the end of the auction will be held at a public reception, Saturday April 29, 2-5pm
Red Tag Discount Days: periodic and unannounced throughout the run of the show