No Longer Empty Brings “Renewal, Part I” to 250 Broome

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 at 6:39 am by

With all the empty storefronts on the Lower East Side, the No Longer Empty organization has its veritable pick of the litter.  The public art exhibitionists requisitioned 215 East Houston last week as part of the Festival of Ideas, and have just moved south of Delancey to another vacated space.

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The twin storefronts at 250 Broome Street experienced a rough winter.  Within the span of two months, both businesses abandoned ship.  And neither occupied the ground level for too long.  La Barra was a tiny-table Mexican outpost that opened in December 2008, but couldn’t compete with Barrio Chino across the way; Miss Lonelyhearts was a women’s boutique that lasted an unlucky thirteen months.  It is inside the latter property that No Longer Empty is now temporarily operating.

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Artists Kenny Komer and Boris Rasin present Renewal: Part I, a creative attempt to prove that natural disasters often promote expressions of human solidarity.  Using video footage on a loop 24/7, the exhibit simulates the voyeuristic helplessness felt in the wake of recent disasters in Japan and Haiti in a real-time perspective. The exhibit is curated by Kai Matsumiya.

The site-specific installation by Kenny Komer and Boris Rasin displays a lifelike figure sitting behind the bar with his back to the storefront façade at 250 Broome Street. The figure peers at a large television set in which the spectator observes the helpless news from the outside windows, akin to the perspective of an often voyeuristic spectator peering through a half-open shoji door. The television plays the looped video displaying news footage of the haunting and memorable image from the Japanese tsunami of the whirlpool enveloping a mysterious large boat in circles. The whereabouts of the boat are unknown, as are those that manned the ship. The TV is the only light source within the space.

Renewal: Part I is a street-level experience on view 24 hours a day through May 30.

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