The New York Times returns to a lovely chestnut: artists filling in empty storefronts to sell their work. What’s interesting in this report is the emergence of organizations to act as broker/match-makers between artists and landlords:
“Any sort of activity is better than no activity,” said Jed Walentas, a Brooklyn developer whose company Two Trees Management routinely lends space in Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn for art projects. “As long as it’s short enough and it’s flexible, then there’s no real cost. So the question is who can you find that’s going to make an investment in a space with that level of uncertainty, and often it’s the artist.”
These “pop-up galleries,” as they are known in Britain, where the phenomenon is already well established, are increasingly taking hold in New York as development advocates and landlords struggle to keep up appearances where commerce and construction have stalled.
The demand among landlords is so high that Chashama, a group that has been working for almost 15 years to find vacant real estate for visual and performing artists, no longer has to go looking. Its founder, Anita Durst, said she gets calls every day from landlords asking her to find art projects for them. Some even offer to cover basic expenses like electricity. Chashama was enlisted to find artists for the former dentist’s office and another vacant space by the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation — just one of several business groups that have taken the lead in bringing artists and landlords together. […]
The sudden glut of available space has even spawned a new player in the art world. No Longer Empty, an outfit formed by a group of established curators about five months ago in response to all the recession-fueled vacancies, has already staged several exhibitions and events. One opened the weekend of Oct. 3 at a former belt factory in Brooklyn that once manufactured “invisible dog” novelty leashes, and another installation is planned for the empty Tower Records store at Fourth Street and Broadway
Replacing ‘For Rent’ Signs With Art, to Keep Empty Spaces Full (New York Times)