Fresh out of StorageOctober 13, 2016 - October 31, 2016
Since 2015, No Longer Empty has been a grateful recipient of storage space sponsored by Manhattan Mini Storage. This association led us to think about all the artists who store work there. Ariela Kader, NLE’s Curatorial Assistant conceived of the idea of bringing to life and to light those many artworks kept in storage, not unlike the works of many collectors and museums around the world.
From this thinking, Fresh Out of Storage came in to being.
The project, which was open to all artists who have stored their work at a Manhattan Mini Storage Facility, will be presented in three separate formats: An online presentation (www.freshoutofstorage.com) showcases the work of all 35 artists who submitted their work for consideration; a video documentary (see bottom of this page), which presents interviews with 16 artists who were selected for Open Storage Visits; and the physical exhibition, featuring the works of Barbara Burger, Calvin Lom, Elaine Defibaugh, Eliot LeBow, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Mike Jacobs, Ralph Toporoff, Rita Barros, Steve Danielson and Susan Natale, was held at the Manhattan Mini Storage facility at 645 West 44th Street, in Manhattan, from Oct. 13th through 31st, 2016.
An artist’s storage unit is a time capsule of both the creator and his or her works, holding years and sometimes decades worth of material. The interviews made clear that the storage rooms contained not just works but intimate recollections of their making and the artists’ lives at the time, and often, mining the depths of the unit became like a journey into the past.
The increasing need for storage (MMS has 17 storage facilities in Manhattan) provides a path into the challenges many artists continually face, particularly in a city like New York. The lack of affordable living and studio space has a deep impact on the kind of work an artist can produce. Moving work into storage, if the scale of the work permits, is perhaps one of the best ways to keep a studio free for new production. The artist, of course, has to be willing to have a long-distance relationship with the artworks that they decide to store and, on the side of benefits, some of the artists revealed during the interviews that putting their work into storage removed the temptation to continue working on a “finished” piece!
One of the darker aspects of art storage is that works created for the public are removed from circulation – particularly in the case of museums, galleries and collectors, where storage can become a large black box of invisibility. This project hopes to make a dent in this problem. Indeed, project curator, Ariela Kader, was deeply moved when she saw how artists have their own “retrospectives” stored in the hope that the work will one day be shown.
Fresh Out of Storage started from a very personal place for Ms. Kader. As both an artist who has been living and making art in New York for the past seven years and a Manhattan Mini Storage tenant herself, she found the issues addressed by the exhibition immensely pertinent. She was curious as to what other artists were storing as well as what she had been accumulating herself… and why. Says Kader, “I really think I should schedule an Open Storage visit with myself so I can commit to it, make my way there and find out what artworks and stories I have stored. This project has also made me think about how an artwork in storage might feel. From the back of the storage unit, where unfinished or damaged works will never see the light of day, to the stars of the storage, who enjoy a respite from being on view, to those hopeful ones who, every time the storage doors are opened, still believe that this could be their time to see the light and shine.”
The storage company has long been aware that its units are frequently used by local artists to create and store their works. “We’re frankly honored and proud that so many talented New York City artists trust us with their precious work. In fact, many of them regard their storage rooms as private galleries or studios. We’re so excited to see the amazing works of art they’ve created on exhibit.”
Fresh Out of Storage is a partnership between Manhattan Mini Storage and No Longer Empty.
Project and exhibition conceived and curated by Ariela Kader.
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