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the art collectors » Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool


Ja Pay, 2009 is one of several collaborative works created by artist Peter Harris and musician Lee Scratch Perry that will be on display at the Higher Power art show on Sept. 10 in London.

This September marks three years since Banksy captured the art world’s attention with Barely Legal, the now legendary three-day Los Angeles warehouse show, whose location was not disclosed until opening day. Looking back, its as if the exhibit’s mammoth success spawned the beginning of pop-up art show mania. What was once regarded as a guerilla marketing move used by street-hip artists and dealers a few years ago is quickly catching on. In the past few years, companies like Nike, Scion and Campari have been particularly adept at promoting their brands to young audiences and tastemakers by using such art-events.

Yet, while pop-up galleries – temporary art shows held in vacant commercial spaces – are now a mainstream marketing tactic, they may quickly become a financial necessity in a shaken economy, where both the real estate and art markets have been dramatically impacted.

Earlier this summer, Ad Hoc Art partnered with community development organization, Metrotech BID, to transform a vacant Brooklyn, NY block into a storefront gallery of street art, inviting 15 artists including Chris Stain,Greg Lamarche, Lady Pink and Logan Hicks to create site specific installations in the windows of former businesses. (Its worth noting Ad Hoc has since announced its closing, joining a growing list of galleries who have been unable to fight off the recession)

Artists Cycle and Chris Stain contributed to the Willoughby Windows project

Artists Cycle and Chris Stain contributed to the Willoughby Windows project. Image: Dave Pinter

This week, the New York Times reported on the recent proliferation of temporary galleries in London, noting “the British government, worried about the economic, psychological and criminal hazards of retail vacancies, announced a $5 million “revival fund” for local governments in hard-hit areas to transform empty shops into something useful, like showrooms for local artists, and another $800,000 to help artists and arts organizations turn vacant high street shops into artistic spaces.” The story was also picked up by Artinfo.

London based Watch This Space has taken advantage of this new space, going beyond the curatorial and acting as facilitator between up and coming artists, who are finding it increasingly difficult to secure galleries willing to take on any new risk, and landlords who find themselves with empty space. The organization launched in June with a group exhibit in a three-story former restaurant that had been empty for two years, and is currently playing host to DIY London Scene (previously reported) in a vacant storefront in London’s Covent Garden shopping district.


Lee Scratch Perry and Peter Harris

Moving outside of the traditional gallery setting also offers opportunities for more varied and ambitious undertakings. Take Higher Ground for example, a one-day multimedia collaboration between reggae pioneer Lee Scratch Perry, legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood, and artist Peter Harris. The interactive art and music event will take place September 10 at the historic Tabernacle Theater in London’s Notting Hill. Perry will perform songs that relate to themes from Harris’ film Higher Powers, while  a ‘VJ’ will respond with live visual interpretations of Perry’s songs. Collaborative works between Perry and Harris will be on display, and the two artists will be complete a live painting on stage, with Sherwood conducting a live mix. Tickets to the event are available here

While many galleries struggle to stay afloat, with some closing their doors for good, perhaps there is hope in a wave of more innovative, cooperative events and exhibits, where synergies between creative and business communities can nurture both the arts and wallets.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Events, Exhibition, Galleries, London, Market Talk

One Response to “Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool”

  1. September 11th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    the art collectors » Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool kukuge said:

    […] Go here to see the original:  the art collectors » Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool […]

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