1 d’octubre del 2012

storefront for art and architecture, NY

Steven Holl, Vito Acconci
Storefront for Art and Architecture, 1992-1993 
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012

Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design. The program of exhibitions, artists talks, film screenings, conferences and publications is intended to generate dialogue and collaboration across geographic, ideological and disciplinary boundaries. As a public forum for emerging voices, Storefront explores vital issues in art and architecture with the intent of increasing awareness of and interest in contemporary design.

In 1992, Steven Holl and artist Vito Acconci were commissioned as a collaborative team to renovate the aging facade of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, situated on the corner of a block that marks the intersection of three distinct neighborhoods: Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo. The gallery itself is a limited, narrow wedge with a triangulated exhibition interior, such that the most dominant structure for the Storefront is the building's long facade.

Seeking to introduce improbability and to puncture the facade Acconci and Holl challenged this symbolic border which underlines the exclusivity of the art world, where only those on the inside belong. Using a hybrid material comprised of concrete mixed with recycled fibers, Holl and Acconci inserted a series of hinged panels arranged in a puzzle-like configuration. When the panels are locked in their open position, the facade dissolves and the interior space of the gallery expands out on to the sidewalk. As an interdisciplinary collaboration, the facade blurred not only divisions between public and private space but also the line between art object and architectural artifact, suggesting ways that artists and architects can reciprocally engage with each other to benefit their respective fields of knowledge.

If the function of a facade is to create a division separating the inside from the outside space, this new facade, in the words of former director Kyong Park, is "No wall, no barrier, no inside, no outside, no space, no building, no place, no institution, no art, no architecture, no Acconci, no Holl, no Storefront".

A link with public space

"The front by Steven Holl with artist Vito Acconci is noticeably different from the traditional shop fronts and art galleries in nearby SoHo: its experimental design forges a powerful link between public space, the sidewalk and street, and the private space represented by the narrow inner triangle of the art gallery. Conceived in this way, the facade is both an element of urban cohesion, an extension of the road into the interior, and an expansion of the interior into the street."
Abitare 334, November, 1994

(courtesy of the Storefront for Art and Architecture)

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