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No Longer Empty

No Longer Empty was created in March 2009 by Asher Remy-Toledo and Manon Slome in response to a historical moment in which the booming metropolis of New York was deeply affected by the global recession. It was a time in which an overabundance of premium commercial real estate spaces were lingering empty; something not seen since the 1980’s when the city went through financial trouble.

 

After its first exhibition at the Chelsea Hotel, the group began to organize monthly exhibitions in empty commercial spaces in New York, such as the old Tower Records store on East Broadway, The Invisible Dog and Governors Island. No Longer Empty quickly became an international model for re-inventing the way art exhibitions were approached, especially in times of crisis, becoming an inspiration to people around the world. Remy-Toledo departed the group in the Summer of 2010 to develop the project No Longer Empty on the Road for the Liverpool Biennial.

 

The organization continues to work with diverse urban spaces and to serve as a platform to emerging and established artists looking to create a social impact.

No Longer Empty in Chelsea Hotel

222 W 23rd ST, NY 10011

June 19, 2009- July 18, 2009

ARTISTS:

Guido Albi-Marini, Joseph Aloi, Rita Barros, Michael Bevilacqua, Alina and Jeff Bliumis, Scott Campbell, Tara de la Garza, Kate Gilmore, Mia Hanson, Noel Hennessy, Michael Mandiberg, Cheonwook Park, Diana Puntar, Bruce Richards, Raimundo Rubio, Sam Bassett, Linda and Lothar Troeller, Dani Tull, Marnie Weber

CURATORS:

Manon Slome, Julia  Draganovic, and Asher Remy-Toledo with associate curators Julian Navarro and Nunu Hong 

No Longer Empty began exhibiting at two storefronts at the Chelsea Hotel, the historical art heart of Manhattan. Artists such as Michael Bevilacqua, Alina and Jeff Bliumis and Diana Puntar filled economy-ravaged spaces with installations while responding to the present dire financial straits and its effect on the urban landscape and national psyche. Resident artists at the Hotel Chelsea also exhibited.

No Longer Empty´s first exhibition took the name of its location. The Chelsea Hotel offered a forum for artistic dialogue. The spaces here were not gallery or museum locales and the resulting works and conversations were not defined by such conventional exhibition spaces. Indeed, the exhibition was the pioneer of No Longer Empty´s new model of community art. The project strived to stem any potential neighborhood decline resulting from unused and abandoned buildings by lavishing them with art.

Reflecting Transformation was installed in the (yet to be leased) retail space of The Caledonia under the recently opened High Line Park in Chelsea. Inspired by the re-gentrification of the meat packing area and the renovation of the High Line, Reflecting Transformation was organized to reference this urban regeneration and play on the theme of transformation of space and character. In a minimalist aesthetic, the exhibition also alluded to the healing nature that art can have on a community.

Reflecting Transformation

447 W 16th ST, NY NY10011

July 30, 2009- September 26, 2009

ARTISTS:

U-Ram Choe, Cao Fei, Yoko Ono, Stephanie Rothenberg, Alyson Shotz, Sean Lemon, Suzanne Song, Siebren Versteeg

CURATORS:

Manon Slome, Julia Draganovic and Asher Remy-Toledo with associate curator 

Julian Navarro

The Invisible Dog
Something Out of Nothing

51 Bergen ST Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, NY 11201

October 3, 2009- November 14, 2009

ARTISTS:

Thomas Bell, Ryan V. Brennan, Amanda Browder, Rosane Chamecki Phil Harder, Andrea Lerner, Gina Czarnecki, Steve, DeFrank, Jeanette Doyle, Richard Garet, Guerra de la Paz, Kaarina Kaikkonen, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Giles Lyon, Miguel Palma, José Parla, Rey Parla, Tom Sanford, Keith Schweitzer, Francesco Simeti, Giuseppe Stampone, Alfred Steiner

CURATORS:

Manon Slome, Julia Draganovic and

Asher Remy-Toledo 

Beware: The Invisible Dog was unleashed on October 3rd, 2009. The exhibition “Something Out of Nothing” brought to life a warmly decrepit, out-of-use belt factory on Bergen Street in Brooklyn. Today, The Invisible Dog Art Center plays an active role in the area´s cultural programs.

 

The exhibition opened a week after “Improv Everywhere”—a New York City-based comedy collective that stages unexpected performances in public places—created a massive participation involving more than 5,000 people walking over 2,000 “invisible dogs” on “invisible leashes” (a stiff leash and collar surrounding the empty space where a dog would be) down the streets of Brooklyn on a Sunday afternoon.

 

Following the tails of this stunt, the show presented a multitude of site-specific works reflecting both the history of the space and the profound beauty of the Invisible Dog Factory, known for producing the famous "Invisible Dog leash". The exhibition also plays a rift on the 1970s gag, a void object waiting for creative minds and hands to bring it to life.

At the dog leash factory, artists grabbed the many trimmings, reels of fabric, leather and other materials and transformed them into something new. The duo, Guerra de la Paz, amassed tons of discarded clothing, one color at a time. Here, la Paz’s “trashy” tribute became an imposing, yurt-shaped spectral prism. Even the freight elevator was transformed: here, Giuseppe Stampone took us on a trip from Hell to Heaven, Dante style.

 

Richard Garet took the empty freight elevator shaft and transformed the haunting sounds of the now removed elevator car with ghostly images and sounds of its former, functioning life. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer presented an interactive installation featuring several 1939-vintage Shure microphones placed on mic stands around the exhibition room at different heights. When a public member speaks into a microphone, it records his or her voice and immediately plays back the voice of a previous participant, as an echo from the past.

 

The Invisible Dog, a three-story art center in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, is an exuberant example of the integration of forward thinking and care for the past. Built in the late nineteenth century, the 20,000 square-foot factory went through a number of industrial incarnations before its owners struck gold in the 1970s with the invisible dog trick. The factory closed its doors in the late 1990s; the boarded-up building was a blight on its quiet Brooklyn block.

On Friday, January 15, 2010, No Longer Empty re-opened the legendary Tower Records store with a multi-media art exhibition: Never Can Say Goodbye. Showcasing more than twenty artists working with sound, light, and image, Never Can Say Goodbye celebrated the store’s historic role as the locus of the community—the traditional way to meet people face to face and share music and information.   

   

Never Can Say Goodbye recreated a fantasy version of the now defunct Tower Records store with Never Records by Ted Riederer, an installation complete with record bins, album covers, music posters and a performance stage (later presented at Liverpool Biennial). Works by Meredyth Sparks simultaneously critiqued and revered the flat glamor of icons such as David Bowie and half-nude eighties models. Artist Siebren Versteeg presented custom installations that re-invigorated the space with music memories and the pulse of his contemporary art practice. Ryan Brennan bounced sound through an eight-boom box installation offering an audio tour of Hip Hop. Kaz Oshiro’s iconic large speakers which were borrowed from the DIA Foundation in Beacon, NY, Naama Tsabar’s celebrated electronic Siamese guitars, and Joe Diebes’ mesmerizing Virtuoso concerto for cello (which was later presented at the Liverpool Biennial) were other major works presented.

 

Never Can Say Goodbye illuminated the economic and social changes caused by the emergence of the Internet as the dominant means of music distribution. In its heyday, Tower Records was sales central for indie and contemporary music, as well as a gathering place for musicians and music lovers. No Longer Empty created a virtual landscape without architecture, sales staff, and community traffic where a landmark music store once thrived.

 

Each week a variety of music performers captured the fleeting opportunity to play live in the ex-Tower Records space. Music performances included Broken Mirrors with John Miller, The Metropolis Ensemble, The John Herington Band, Azita, Disco Monkeys, Steve Conte (New York Dolls Guitarist), among others.

 

On Tuesday January 26th, Discs to Downloads gathered a panel of music industry representatives to discuss how technology has transformed art, and how contemporary gadgets and the Internet have impacted contemporary music production, listening and consumption.

TOWER RECORDS
Never Can Say Goodbye

625 Broadway at East 4th ST, NY NY10012

January 16, 2010- February 13, 2010

ARTISTS:

Ryan V. Brennan, Joe Diebes, R. Luke, DuBois, Richard Garet, Invader, Josh Jordan, Kaz Oshiro, Ted Riederer, Meredyth Sparks, Naama Tsabar, Siebren Versteeg, Paul Villinski

CURATORS:

Manon Slome, Asher Remy-Toledo and Steve Evans, director of Dia Beacon

The Sixth Borough

Governors Island 10 South Street, NY NY

June 5, 2010- October 3, 2010

ARTISTS:

Amelia Biewald, Adam Cvijanovic, Teresa Diehl, Trong Gia Nguyen, Luis González Palma, Pablo Helguera, Natasha Johns-Messenger, Kaarina Kaikkone, Andrea Mastrovito, Alan Michelson, Clive Murphy, Ted Riederer, Marina Rosenfeld, Raimundo Rubio, Vadis Turner, Mary Walling Blackburn, Monika Weiss, Wendy Wischer

CURATORS:

Asher Remy Toledo,Manon Slome,

Julian Navarro and Regine Basha for Film Series 

COLLABORATORS OF PROGRAMMING:

For the children's programming, The Children Museum of Art.  For Pablo's event The Flea Theater and Jorge Pinto Books.

No Longer Empty invited visitors to The Sixth Borough, a series of site-specific art installations curated for the 2010 summer art festival on Governors Island. The theme for NLE’s exhibition on this former military base—evacuated by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1996—was developed from the Island’s apparent stasis and its marked contrast to the teeming growth of neighboring Manhattan. With its abandoned genteel homes, library, movie-theater, church, shops and fortifications, Governors Island seemed to have kept the enemy of time at bay.

 

The Sixth Borough explored this paradox and the parallel realities of the mainland and the island, which exist in spatial proximity but in different states of being. Visitors felt this sense of dislocation from the moment they stepped off of the ferry. Multiple artistic interventions and perspectives—including installation, painting, photography, film and performance—moved the visitor through the island's structures, exploring notions of memory, residual entities of the past and transitions between worlds.