At the Fusion Arts Museum: The Bodega Exhibit & “For Rent” Sign

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 at 10:04 am by

A West Village bodega was recently stripped of its contents, but it wasn’t a robbery…it was all in the name of art.

A group of artists led by Kyle MacDonald (the man who traded a red paper clip for something better…and after 13 more swaps, wound up trading up for a house) decided to buy out an entire bodega in order to save the Hercules Fancy Grocery on Morton Street. It brings new meaning to “buying out the store.”

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Six hours and two receipt rolls later, the artists loaded everything into a truck and brought it to the Fusion Arts Museum at 57 Stanton Street, where much of it is set up in an ongoing exhibit titled “The Art of Convenience.” While the same contents are for sale, each item is now preciously displayed in a glass case with a tongue in cheek “art-speak” description. Along with packs of cigarettes, bottles of soda and rolling papers (priced more for the art world than the corner bodega), there are literally 99 different bottles of beer on the wall.

The exhibit opened on June 2 and is being extended at least until June 18 (possibly longer).

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Hercules Dimitratos, owner of the bodega, is still however having financial troubles. Known for selling exotic beers which are hard to find elsewhere in the city, he is having trouble gathering the funds to restock. He has been too busy paying off his distributors, which have eaten up most of the funds of the buyout.

The artists have taken out credit card loans of their own to buy out the bodega’s contents. They are also planning to give Hercules a portion of all of their sales.

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In other Fusion Arts Museum notes, there is now a “For Rent” sign outside of the gallery space. A source tells us that long-term resident Shalom Neuman, the artist and owner who has been in this space since the 1980’s (and opened the space publicly as a museum in 2000), will not be closing. Rather, he is interested in renting the gallery space out for other gallery shows only. Known for it’s one-of-a-kind facade welded with found objects and for unusual local shows, we really hope that the Fusion Arts Museum, a favorite fixture in the neighborhood, stays put.

Written by Lori Greenberg

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