Storefront for Art and Architecture New York City
Founded in 1982, Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design. Our 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.
Storefront was founded in 1982 by Kyong Park as an experimental forum and exhibition space for activating and engaging emerging voices and promoting public discourse around issues effecting, influencing and challenging the built environment. The organization presented its first program, Performance A-Z, on September 18, 1982. The inaugural exhibition included a series of 26 consecutive nights of performances by 26 artists.
Since the launch of inaugural Performance A-Z, Storefront has continued to shape itself as a platform for emerging ideas that lie at the intersection of art and architecture, and for open dialogue and innovative exchange beyond and across borders, backgrounds and ideologies, addressing issues from new technology to the social and political forces that shape the built environment. Throughout its history, the organization has investigated critical social issues such as homelessness (1985), queer space (1994), public housing (1984), and has responded to geopolitical and economical conflicts and movements such as the Gulf War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Occupy Wall Street movement (2011) from a design perspective, while offering emerging artists and architects the opportunity to present new ideas and exhibit innovative work. Over one thousand internationally recognized artists and architects have shown at Storefront, including Peter Cook, Diller+Scofidio, Tony Feher, Dan Graham, Coop Himmelblau, Alfredo Jaar, Kiki Smith, Lebbeus Woods, Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós, Eyal Weizman, Bjarke Ingels, Didier Fiuza Faustino among many others.
Through its commitment to spatial experimentation and innovation, Storefront remains one of the only platforms focusing primarily on the interesection of architecture, art and design.
The Storefront Gallery is located in a unique triangular ground-level space at the corner of Kenmare Street and Lafayette in the Chinatown/Little Italy/SoHo area of New York City. Situated at the intersection of three radically different cultural sectors, Storefront’s gallery is nearly 100 feet long, tapering from 20 feet to 3 feet at its west end. In 1993, Storefront commissioned a collaborative building project by artist Vito Acconci and architect Steven Holl. The project replaced the existing exterior façade with a series of twelve movable panels that pivot vertically or horizontally to open the entire length of the gallery directly on to the street. Storefront’s physical location and façade can be understood as a reflection of its mission and practice, not only blurring the boundary between interior and exterior but enabling an endless possibility of panel configurations which encourage artists and visitors to create their own experience of entry, navigation and absorption in the gallery space. The unusual conditions of the gallery space, from its triangular floor plan to the unique access to the street created by the Acconci/Holl façade have made the Storefront Gallery an architectural landmark in New York City and the collective imaginary of art and architecture institutions.
Storefront has historically engaged with audiences through different formats of exchange with global alternative architecture and art frameworks. Past global projects have included pop up spaces and talks in Budapest, Los Angeles, Milan, London and Mexico DF.
Exhibitions. Exhibitions at Storefront take experimentation and risk as a priori condition. From single artists with site-specific installations to thematic group shows Storefront works as a public forum for emerging voices to explore radically new spaces of action that do not find a space of resonance within the established and canonical forms of communication and display. Exhibitions at Storefront engage the physical space of the gallery, the street and the visitors, becoming architectural experiments themselves.
Series. Storefront produces event-based programming for the development and exposure of architectural, artistic, social and political ideas. The Storefront event series is comprised of artist talks, lectures, panel discussions and other events to engage with architects, artists, students, and academics in the fields of art, architecture and design and offer educational opportunities for the general public. All events are documented and transcribed for the organization’s archive and website, allowing audiences to continue to engage with topics well beyond the talk at Storefront. These include the Interrogation Series, Cabaret Series, Productive Disagreement Series, Total Enthusiasm Series, Manifesto Series, Paella Series, Reading Images Series, and Definitions Series.
Competitions. Competitions at Storefront focus on overlooked aspects of society or politically delicate conditions and open up the debate by bringing design awareness within specific aspects of society. Storefront’s competitions call for ideas from artists, architects and citizens at large to contribute to the dialogue around unique urban problems.
Publications. Storefront publishes books about art, architecture and design and more specifically, books that present in printed form exhibitions, events and ideas developed at Storefront. Past publications have inclucded White House Redux (2008), 49 Cities (2009, 2010), Storefront Newsprints 1982-2009 (2009), and A Perfect Home – The Bridge Project (2010), Double (2013)) and Formless (2013).
Projects. Special projects produced by Storefront allow the organization to engage with new environments and audiences and support ideas and projects beyond the confines of the gallery space. Projects include the Draw Think Tank application, the Spacebuster (by Raumblabor), the Speechbuster (by Jimenez Lai and G. Cox) among many others.