Christoph Draeger “Garage Sale”

Y Gallery (319 Grand St.)

poster for Christoph Draeger “Garage Sale”

This event has ended.

Y Gallery presents Garage Sale, a site-specific installation by Christoph Draeger. Christoph Draeger would create a monument to informal trading at Y Gallery in Orchard Street, NY. The artist plans to set up a thrift store with his own stuff -things he made, things he owned, the expensive and the cheap-. Draeger suggests that creating this dispositive will be liberating, allowing him, and the visitor, to reconsider works in new contexts, and dig deep into his own history. By blurring the lines between the white cube and the rumble-tumble of a second hand store, the artist hopes to lure in a wider and more mixed audience. Unsuspecting visitors will be confronted with a surreal display; insiders may decipher the carefully established connotations between the everyday objects acting as readymades and the artworks as objects for sale - both subject to possible haggling.

On June 29th this year, The Antiques Garage Flea in Chelsea Market, a legendary NYC indoor flea market, closed its doors permanently. A few years earlier, when the last of the original outdoor markets closed, Susan Sontag said: “How could they do away with this market? It’s part of the social fabric of New York City.” As an avid vinyl record collector, Christoph Draeger’s experiences with The Garage, other Chelsea markets and New York thrift stores are numerous. Like all who loved them, Draeger shared the thrill of the hunt as well as the joy of diving into a quite particular community. Flea markets foster a sense of sociality, and have been doing so since the beginning of history. Just one example: Christoph Draeger met Ben Morea, the former anarchist (of Up Against The Wall Motherfucker!) in a thrift store. It lead, among other things, to a resurrection of the legendary multi-media performance “Black Zero”, by 80-year old film pioneer Aldo Tambellini, at Performa 2009.

In the past years, New York real estate development and ensuing gentrification has increased exponentially, driving artists and informal businesses ever more to the fringes. Many artists are moving further away, smaller galleries from Chelsea to the Lower East Side (where they push out traditional small businesses). Community flea markets are disappearing or are being reinvented as expensive vintage markets. When Draeger moved back to Europe in 2011, he had to take the contents of his studio, and all that he deemed worth keeping from the apartment to a storage unit in Bedford Stuyvesant. Inside the 10x10x12 ft unit, a very dense mix of vintage designer furniture, odd objects, clothes, record, books (many things acquired in thrift stores and flea markets) and artwork from 15 years of production are forming a compact cube. He left New York leaving this cube behind for later consideration, and now it is time to bring it out again and take stock.

An artist friend said to Draeger in 1991: “En fait, une galerie n’est qu’une boutique” (a gallery is, after all, just a shop). The location of Y Gallery, in the first floor of a former tenement building in the Lower East Side, makes it the perfect place: it is just one of countless shops in the busy Orchard street district.

There is one crucial element in the exhibition - the display will be oddly dystopian, as almost the entire art production and a good portion of the artist’s collecting deals with the topic of disaster and destruction. Works about the arab terrorist attack on the olympic games in Munich in 1972 (Black September, 2002), the suicide of RAF terrorists in 1977 (Stammheim, 2003), a post 9-11 video (The Last News, 2002) and an invitation for Osama Bin Laden to visit Documenta 12 (The Promise, 2003) will communicate with a new model disaster-landscape (Catastrophe #3, 2014), a monumental drawing as memorial for the fallen firefighters of LA, and another one for the Occupy movement, among others. This reflects on the one hand the impending doom to improvised and informal trading that is so crucial for artists and a creative community in general. On a larger scale, in Garage Sale, the different historical and catastrophic events that the artists refers to in his varied work are being distilled into an installation that also meditates on today’s world politics.



from September 10, 2014 to October 07, 2014

Closing Reception on 2014-10-05 from 18:00 to 21:00

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