On the Ground: Open Call
Saturday January 20, 2024 – Saturday February 17, 2024
Building on their exploration of intimate bodywork spaces as hubs of collective activism for migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies of the Asian diaspora, Red Canary Song utilizes Storefront’s gallery to engage both the Flushing, Queens community and the migrant body care workers in Chinatown, Manhattan. For RCS, the massage parlor represents a multifaceted space – a home, a stage, a confinement, and a battleground for decriminalization and migrant justice.
The works on view delve into these entangled practices of placemaking, navigating issues of commercialism, fetishization, domesticity, exotification, policing, violence, self-care, and survival. In this context, Storefront itself evolves into a site of advocacy and collective struggle while addressing the nuanced risks and liberatory power associated with the interior and exterior aspects of labour and their respective communities.
The exhibition will open at Storefront for Art and Architecture on January 20, 2024. Throughout the show, Red Canary Song will offer community-based programs, including body care workshops, karaoke evenings, fundraisers, and a Lunar New Year celebration for Chinatown spa workers.
About Red Canary Song
Red Canary Song’s (RCS) work centers on mutual aid, community care, and decriminalization of labor.
In November 2017, RCS formed in response to the death of Yang Song, a migrant Chinese massage worker who fell to her death from a fourth-floor window during a police raid. RCS rallied to protest the police, provide mutual aid to the family of Yang Song and other Asian massage and sex workers, and to advocate for decriminalization of unlicensed massage work and sex work.
Through the pandemic, RCS provided workers with mutual aid including groceries, legal assistance, funds, and translation services. In March 2021, a gunman targeting Asian massage workers killed eight people in Atlanta. RCS responded to the tragedy by gathering communities together to mourn and protest. RCS vigils have brought together thousands of workers and allies across a range of ethnic, gender, economic, and political orientations to participate in art activations and rituals of healing.
Storefront for Art and Architecture, in partnership with frieze magazine, are thrilled to launch an open call for proposals that reflect on the spatial dynamics of New York City’s ground floor.
Building upon On the Ground, our yearlong program focused on the critical role storefronts play in shaping public life, this open call is an opportunity for artists, architects, and researchers to develop a new body of work that will be presented at Storefront’s exhibition space during January 2024.
Amongst other things, storefronts act as thresholds between public and private space, as social anchors or carescapes within communities, as voids of real estate speculation or markers of changing consumption patterns. This new initiative invites critical responses to the forces that shape the city’s street life through the production and presentation of new work by individuals or collectives.
Ever since it was founded in 1982, Storefront has chronicled the changing urban landscape of New York City and beyond. We’re interested in supporting work committed to presenting diverse notions of place and public life, which is at the core of Storefront’s mission.
We are open to diverse forms of practice, including video, photography projects, performance-based work, installation pieces, architectural ideas, and other media. Proposals should take the form of a new body of work aligned with On the Ground that can be presented as a month-long exhibition at Storefront. Collaborations across different professional fields and practices are welcome.
The selected proposal will receive a $10,000 production budget in addition to a $1,500 artist fee and curatorial assistance from Storefront to present the work at the gallery. Through the support of our partner frieze magazine, and their unparalleled platform for the discovery, inspiration, and discourse of contemporary art and culture, the selected project will gain additional attention from an arts and culture audience worldwide.
Storefront is committed to determining the successful project through a blind review process composed of a New York-based jury of curators, scholars, and leading cultural practitioners. Projects will be considered by the strength of the ideas, the applicant’s engagement with the subject matter, the feasibility of the project with regard to budget and timeline, and the responsiveness to Storefront’s mission at large.
To find out more about On the Ground series please click here.
– Naomi Beckwith, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
– Tom Finkelpearl, Social Practice Teaching Scholar-in-Residence, The City University of New York
– Danielle A. Jackson, Curator, Artists Space
– Sohrab Mohebbi, Director, SculptureCenter
– Manuela Moscoso, Executive Director and Chief Curator, CARA
– Felicity D. Scott, Professor of Architecture, Director of the PhD program in Architecture (History and Theory), and Co-Director of the CCCP program, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University
– The successful project will be announced through Storefront and frieze digital platforms by the end of July.
– The selected candidate will be announced with an advertisement in the printed edition of frieze magazine.
– As part of Storefront’s public program, a conversation between the selected participant with frieze’s senior editor Terence Trouillot will be held at the gallery space during the run of the show.
– The work must be realized within August and December 2023 and be ready to be installed at the gallery during the first two weeks of January. (Please note the facade panels will be closed during the winter. Interventions on the exterior facade will not be possible due to our ongoing Groundworks commission.).
– The production budget is $10,000, which should include all costs involved in the development and installation of the project, including materials, fabrication, printing, transportation and shipping, installation, and the realization of any other related events and activities. There is an artist fee of $1,500 for the selected applicant in addition to the production budget.
– The work will be presented at Storefront from January through February 2024.
– This opportunity is open to New York City-based applicants at any stage of their careers, regardless of experience level or background.
– No curriculum vitae or letters of recommendation are required.
– There are no application fees at any stage of the process.
– Only one proposal per applicant will be reviewed.
Storefront’s On the Ground program is made possible through the support of the Graham Foundation, the Ruth Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the Storefront Circle and Storefront’s Board of Directors, members, and individual donors.