For more than a quarter century, New Yorkers have been introduced to innovation at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. By presenting the provocative work of emerging architectural practitioners including Diller and Scofidio (1987) and artist-designers such as Lebbeus Woods (1984, 1988, and 1994), the Manhattan gallery has focused a laser beam on groundbreaking ideas while also blurring the line between architecture and art.
Now, the Storefront concept is going on the road.
On April 11, the first in a series of temporary “Pop-Up Storefront” galleries will open in Los Angeles. An exhibition of Cold War architecture from the Soviet Union photographed by Frédéric Chaubin, which debuted a year ago in the Manhattan Storefront, will be on display for five weeks. After the photographs come down in mid-May, the Sunset Boulevard space will revert to its former incarnation: a print shop press room. But the pop-up show will go on. With exhibits tailored to each venue, Storefronts will open in Milan in April, in London in July, and in Yokohama, Japan, in September. The Milan exhibition will feature the ring dome of hula hoops and zip ties designed by South Korean architect Minsuk Cho and constructed last fall in Manhattan to celebrate Storefront's 25th anniversary.
“There are so many other cities we'd like to reach out to,” says director Joseph Grima, who took the helm of the nonprofit gallery in January 2007. “We hope to generate new exhibits in Los Angeles and bring them to New York, to have a flow of ideas and exchanges.” A former staff editor for the Italian architecture and design journal Domus, he has a portfolio that includes a video portrait of Pyongyang, North Korea, and a survey of new architecture in Asia.
“Globalism is hugely important today. Our institution has to adapt to the changing cultural context,” says Grima, pointing out that Storefront is not so much a place as an idea.