As the storefronts of New York City sit vacant, thanks to a combination of landlord greed and economic meltdown, No Longer Empty steps in to fill the voids.
"Revitalizing space : unlocking creativity...No Longer Empty is a group of curators and artists who present thought provoking exhibits in empty store fronts." Their first stop: The Chelsea Hotel. Running until July 18, they've taken over the former space of the Capitol Fishing Tackle shop.
Inside, there's a vaguely nautical theme--the curators told me that each show will have a theme somewhat in line with the space's former occupants--beach balls pile on the floor, there are sailors and portholes.
There is also tattooing imagery, a few life preservers, and a collection of sculptural books on how to catch "big fish" like Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg.
It reminded me of my favorite moment in time on 42nd Street, when the empty theaters were filled with art installations, surrounded by smut shops and peep shows. It was, to me, the perfect combination of aesthetics and cultures. Art and sex.
There are no smut shops around the No Longer Empty show, but it does feel a little bit like the early 1990s--when a recession opened up creative possibilities in the city.
There is still hope.