No Longer Empty Fills in the Space

I stopped by 215 E. Houston yesterday to check in on No Longer Empty, the arts collaborative that brings contemporary public art exhibitions to vacated storefronts and properties around New York.  They were busy preparing for their latest exhibit, “About Face,” which will be running through June 12th in the “vacant” ground floor of The Ludlow (owned by Edison Properties).

The group show will open this evening as part of the massive Festival of Ideas for the New City happening this weekend. “About Face” explores the question, “What is an exhibition?” and will include interactive and participatory works, both in the space and in the surrounding community.

About Face - from No Longer Empty, in preparation for opening

I spoke with two of the curators, Julia Draganovic and Manon Slome, about the idea behind the show. They were especially intrigued by work that changes the relationship of the public to the art. “Normally they’re passive observers,” Slome said, “but in this case they’re involved in actually shaping the work.”

“When we were asked, by the New Museum, to participate in the festival, we said, ‘Well, what might an exhibition of the future look like?'” Slome told me. “And we said, ‘Before we can decide on that – what is an exhibition? What are the component parts?’ and that started broadening the concept of how an exhibition can be imagined.”

Several pieces will question the division between artist and audience, including Marinella Senatore’s community-produced film, “Variations,” paperJAM’s multi-media installation, “Under Construction” and Niklas Goldbach’s reinterpretation of Dan Graham’s “Two Corrected Rotations” deals with the autonomy of an artwork and the role of an artist. Alina and Jeff Bliumis will offer “Cultural Tips for New Americans” in an installation on telephone kiosks and public spaces throughout lower Manhattan.  Ed Purver’s “Dropspots” invites the public to become an urban curator as they find objects left in different locations around the neighborhood.

Niklas Goldbach, with his reinterpretation of Dan Graham’s Two Corrected Rotations

Nikolas ‘s piece, “On Spirals” (above) is a re-imagined version of a piece done in the 70s in an abandoned demolition site on the Lower East Side.

Rebecca Kinsey and Hannah Lamar Simmons of paperJAM, working on their multi-media installation, "Under Construction"

Rebecca Kinsey and Hannah Lamar Simmons of paperJAM, use newspapers, some written in Chinese and some in Spanish, from the neighborhood to create their multi-media installation, “Under Construction,” and visitors will be encouraged to make their own box to add to the piece.

Opening May 5th at 8pm // Hours Wed – Sun, 12pm to 7pm May 6th to June 12th, 2011.