Those familiar with the Storefront for Art and Architecture on Kenmare Street in Nolita will know that it occupies just a sliver of a space, true to its name. The facade is movable, opening out in sections to the public as required by specific exhibitions. But in September, a green scaffolding appeared around all of the Storefront for Art and Architecture gallery – built specifically for the topic of the exhibit. The organization asked architects and designers to submit their own “Work in Progress” signs based on a template showing alternate visions of development projects in New York City.
Storefront for Art and Architecture applied for a Department of Buildings permit to build the temporary construction fence, which was approved on September 21, 2016. “Green construction fences with their illustrated LL47 ‘Work in Progress’ signs,” the organization writes, “often present the first visual cues of this process, and of its underlying economic and legislative causes. The exhibit plays on the ubiquity and uniformity of urban scaffolding, yet prompts the visitor to reimagine and reevaluate New York City’s growth. Make no mistake, “Work in Progress” is a commentary on the homogenization of real estate and architecture, the transformation of its social and economic landscape into one for the financial elite.
Wooden beams in the interior of the scaffolding structure repeat on the walls of the gallery. The moving pieces of the Storefront facade jut out deliberately and awkwardly into a non-space between original wall and temporary one. The sidewalk becomes part of the original footprint, albeit temporarily. Photographs of actual works in progress contrast with the alternate visions presented on the LL47 signs.
Work in Progress is curated by Storefront for Art and Architecture and POWERHOUSE. The exhibit was designed and installed by PARA Project.
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