Flower Spa: Solidarity Outside In
Saturday January 20, 2024 – Saturday February 17, 2024
Image: Flower Spa: Solidarity Outside In by Red Canary Song, 2024. Courtesy of artists
Flower Spa: Solidarity Outside In
Red Canary Song
Saturday, January 20th from 4 – 6pm
Building on their exploration of intimate bodywork spaces as hubs of collective activism, Red Canary Song (RCS) utilizes Storefront’s gallery to engage both the migrant massage workers in Flushing, Queens and Chinatown, Manhattan. For RCS, the massage parlor is a home, a sanctuary, and stage of resistance for decriminalization and migrant justice.
Flower Spa: Solidarity Outside In delves into entangled practices of placemaking while navigating issues of commercialism and fetishization, domestic violence and survival. The gallery is presented as a space of work and domesticity, as it is often experienced by the migrant massage worker. This portrayal reflects both the policing and surveillance directed specifically at migrant Asian women, as well as the collective grieving and reciprocal care within the community. The spatial progression from the sidewalk to the inner quarter of massage chambers, registered by interior ornaments and architectural thresholds, embodies the transpositional existence of the migrant workers.
The exhibition’s centerpiece is a newly released feature-length documentary by RCS titled Fly in Power, which narrates the collective actions taken by the collective in confronting contradictions of racism, patriarchy, and capitalism against racialized working women, in the form of law enforcement, urban policies, and social segregation. Throughout the exhibition’s duration, the gallery will serve as a hub for convening, organizing, celebrating, and fostering mutual relationships within the broader RCS community. The exhibition sets up an opportunity to forge new connections across boroughs.
Forefronting mutual aid as the foundation of abolitionist frameworks, Flower Spa: Solidarity Outside In re-orientates the engagement of informal labor economies as unbound and emancipatory.
About the Artist
RED CANARY SONG is a collective of migrant massage workers, sex workers, and allies of the Asian diaspora, based in Flushing, Queens. Their work centers on mutual aid, community care, decriminalization of sex work, and abolition of the prison industrial complex. RCS was formed in 2018 at a vigil for Yang Song, a Chinese migrant massage worker who fell to her death from a four story window during a police raid.
Red Canary Song: Charlotte, Chong, David, Esther, Elena, Eunbi, Edward, Fran, Lisa, Linn, Layla, Mei Mei, Tommy, Wu, Xen, Yves, Yeonhoo, Yoon,Yin
Curatorial Team: Chong Gu & Yin Q
This exhibition is organized by the Storefront Team
Graphic design by Estudio Herrera
On the Ground
Flower Spa by Red Canary Song is the result of an open call for proposals connected to On the Ground, a yearlong research project and exhibition series about New York City’s ground floor. Through a close look at the urban typology of the storefront, this expansive endeavor presents newly commissioned artistic explorations and dialogues about the heterogeneous threshold between public and private space throughout 2023 and early 2024. The project unfolds through three exhibitions, a radio show, an open call, a public program, and a thematic reader.
Storefront would like to thank frieze Magazine for their partnership in this project, as well as the jury that selected the winning proposal composed of Naomi Beckwith, Tom Finkelpearl, Danielle A. Jackson, Sohrab Mohebbi, Manuela Moscoso, and Felicity D. Scott.
This exhibition has been 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; with invaluable support from Storefront’s Board of Directors, the Storefront Circle, Storefront members, and individual donors. Storefront is a proud member of CANNY (Collaborative Arts Network New York), currently supported by the Mellon Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Imperfect Family Foundation, and Jay DeFeo Foundation.