No Shame: Storefront for Sale

May 1 – June 8, 2013

Opening Reception: April 30, 7pm


An exhibition that examined how museums and cultural institutions, fueled through private funding, have adopted a system and tradition of celebrating donors to the extent that every single public space (physical or digital; temporary or permanent) can eventually be named. 


Contemporary funding strategies for public spaces of cultural production are increasing and diversifying. Within this condition, cultural institutions, funded primarily through individual or corporate giving, have established a complex relationship with donors and funders that sustain and make possible the projects at the core of their mission. In some cases, the entrepreneurial nature of donors has produced a new branded landscape with agendas, objects, or even named buildings that might go beyond the institution’s initial goals. By crowdsourcing artists for new connections between capital and culture, No Shame: Storefront for Sale created a space to investigate experimental ways of exchanging capital and culture, so that every corner of Storefront—from office chairs to the air between its panels to the noise of a 5pm Friday traffic jam—was for sale.


No Shame: Storefront for Sale aimed to guide visitors through a critical history of funding for cultural production, and imagined a scenario of total commodification. The exhibition presented a photographic survey of privately funded spaces connected to New York cultural institutions alongside the works of eight artists, architects and designers, who were invited to envision a critical commercial campagin of Storefront’s assets. Each project presented a new taxonomy of valuable aspects the institution holds or represents in relation to the city and the citizen, unveiling untapped forms of connection between capital and culture production. The show experimented with the different ways in which individuals, companies, collectives, or nations could fund and acquire different aspects of the non-for profit institution. 


Participating artists and architects included Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (Urtzi Grau+Cristina Goberna), Jesse Hlebo, Interboro Partners, item idem, Playlab+Family, Luis Urculo, and Softlab.  

Works in the Exhibition:

Luis Úrculo, Taxidermy, 2013. 

Luis Urculo compares the act of sponsorship to an aggressive sport of hunting, where names and brands hunt for the skin, or the outside part of the gallery, which is the most visible and recognizable side of a building’s body. For “Taxidermy,” Urculo divided the exterior of Storefront’s panels into saleable pieces, which, like a skinned animal, results in a dead body as its identity is given to the sponsor.


Item/Idem, Corpopoly, 2013

Ciryl Duval, under his firm Item/Idem proposed a Monopoly game to be played by all the Development Departments of the culture industry of the city in collaboration with the best-situated private companies in the New York Stock Exchange. The game, both ironic and real, reflects on the complex relationship between capital, play and culture.


Softlab, Teams for Sale, 2013

Softlab’s Teams for Sale is perhaps a more playful game, where the young firm established a “Storefront soccer league,” with teams of architects in two divisions (Line and Points) that are up for ownership.  Sponsorship opportunities are available through team uniforms and other merchandise.


Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, Shut Up Storefront, 2013.

Fake Industries Architectural Agonism suggests that the playing field can be leveled by creating a system of checks-and-balances, where funders have a say in an organization’s activities.  For Shut Up Storefront, the artists question what it would take to silence the institution, whose programs (one could argue) consistently activate and sometimes disturb the public when experimenting and expressing radical ideas. The work offered forty-four sponsored ways of silencing the institution, from “shutting down the gallery” to “deactivating the organization’s website” for an hour, a day, a week, or even a month, testing the desire for silence among the organization’s active calendar of projects, films, competitions, pop-ups, benefits, series and exhibitions. 

Jesse Hlebo, Untitled, 2013. 

Hlebo, as a reflection on how cultural funding can operate in the realm of social justice, presented a system of support, encouragement and relief to Guantanamo prisoners through a recorder located at the gallery, and the production of new vinyls to be produced and sent to the prisoners at the end of the exhibition.


Interboro Partners, STAABUCKS, 2013.

For STAABUCKS, Interboro Partners created a new currency that can only be acquired by supporting Storefront through volunteer work or promoting the institutional mission. The currency (or “STAABUCKS”) can be used to purchase benefit tickets, books, or even a solo exhibition in the bathroom.


PlayLab, ATM, 2013.

PlayLab + Family installed an ATM machine in Storefront’s gallery that generated service fees billable to Storefront as a donation.


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