April 29, 2009
Artist Tommy Mintz Brings "Disposable" Beauty to Vacant Restaurant
I found a great treasure while exploring the West Village recently--A guerrilla exhibit of artist Tommy Mintz's work in the windows of the former Mama Buddha Chinese restaurant on Hudson Street in the Village.
We all know I've been a little obsessed with the recession and store closures lately and therefore a total Debbie Downer, so you can imagine how excited I was to discover this exhibit: I can continue to examine how the recession is impacting New York on my blog but with a positive spin because public art is always a good thing.
Mintz's note on the window is dated August 30, 2008 and pays homage to the restaurant: "Thank you Chuck and Mama Buddha for providing countless years of hospitality! You made more than food here. Here is a final show of artwork in the windows of Mama Buddha. 'Disposable'."
Well, this exhibit has proved not to be very "disposable" since it's lasted through fall, winter, and a month of spring without new tenants tearing it down. I hope this inspires more artists to seek out these types of opportunities. It makes walking the empty streets a lot more enjoyable.
This is happening right now in London. The Guardian reported on April 23rd that artists are capitalizing on vacant retail spaces to expose their work to a wider audience. The hope is that by giving artists space on the "high street," the process of creating art will be demystified and public rather than hidden behind studio walls.
I'm excited to see how more of this in New York can bring a new vibrancy to the city's streets. Anyone know of any other impromptu galleries I should check out?
(Tommy, if you're reading this, how much for that cute photo of the old ladies?)