Monday, January 24, 2011

Sabin Howard's Pop-Up Gallery

Wandering around Chelsea a few weekends back when I was home for an event, I passed by one of the empty storefronts (300 W. 22nd Street) I often passed during the summer and early fall, and noticed that a new pop-up exhibit had been installed, a series of bronzes and plaster sculptures by artist Sabin Howard. The show was entitled "Apollo."

I wasn't too fond of the work, which I found well-crafted but not especially original, but the atmosophere of this temporary gallery, which I'd photographed several times in its differing guises at the end of last year, did interest me, as did the crowd, which comprised friends of the artist, locals and tourists wandering in off the street to look at the pieces, and the curious who just wanted to see what was going. I took a number of photos, which give a sense of the show, and to fix for posterity (at least as long as this blog exists) the ephemerality that such a show embodies. I'm always surprised when more empty storefronts don't pursue this option, but then having spoken to some longtime shop proprietors, I know that rents in Manhattan (and parts of Chicago) are still too high, that some landlords would rather warehouse the empty spaces in the hopes of a massive payday than seek temporary rents, and that the ongoing credit crunch and economic crisis make renting prohibitive if you don't have the money to put down.

A temporary gallery in my neighborhood in Chicago didn't last the summer; it was bidding to be a lively neighborhood art venue before I left for the summer, and when I returned, the space was dark and cleared of even the slightest artistic touch. Perhaps someone could make a conceptual project of empty storefronts--that would be the concept, the evacuated, abandoned, foreclosed, humanless retail space. One could even call it "money," for the emptiness wouldn't mean an empty signifier, but rather the root cause of the void was the very thing that was lacking to fill it, or keeping it from being filled.  But back to Sabin Howard's show: I didn't stay to catch him unveiling one of the pieces, though I did capture its draped form in at least a few of my shots.
Outside "Apollo," Sabin Howard's pop-up sculpture exhibit 
Outside the exhibit
Plaster busts 
Two plaster busts
Trio of bronzes 
A trio of bronzes

Plaster bust 
Setting up the pop-up exhibit 
The coatroom/staging area
Draped sculpture 
The unveiled statue
Metal casts 
Apollo, Sabin Howard's pop-up exhibit 
The gallery's temporary patrons
Pop-up designer jewelry store
The same store as a pop-up discount jeweler, in December 2010
Pop-up art gallery, Chelsea
The same gallery back in November 2010
Pop-up art gallery
The same gallery

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