30 in 30: #30

In thinking about how to complete this series on my urban exploration of New York City this last month, part of me wanted to present something new and rarely seen. At the same time, part of me wanted to present something that's been around a while, something that I know somewhat well. I opted for the latter, presenting here the Storefront for Art and Architecture by Steven Holl and Vito Acconci, which I featured on my weekly page way back in 1999, shortly after I started that page.


When I walked by the storefront recently I saw the trademark swinging panels in the closed position. It was Tuesday, so the gallery was supposed to be open, meaning the panels should also be open. Upon opening the entry door stepping inside I discovered why the panels were closed: for the Clip/Stamp/Fold exhibition, the inside surface of this wall was completely covered with a grid of rectangular images, the covers of the magazines on display.

Red bag

Ever since (and probably before) working on a student-run journal in college many moons ago, I've had a fondness for architectural publications, so I was looking forward to this exhibition, subtitled "The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X–197X." It catalogs a time, "when a remarkable outburst of publications disseminated and catalyzed a range of experimental practices." The exhibition makes this outburst known, overwhelming the visitor with what must be thousands of covers on the gridded wall; opposite are descriptions of the various magazines on curved plastic panels; in between are plastic bubbles containing the actual magazines; lastly, plastic domes hang from the ceiling with audio by various contributors and voices of the magazines.

Horizon Line

The exhibition requires a prolonged (or repeated) visit to take in the numerous magazines and their descriptions. Even without the time on my visit I was impressed by the output, coming at a time when architects built little and found a means of expression in words and images on paper. Perhaps this sort of output has been supplanted by blogs and other online ephemera, though -- like books -- there's much to be said for something that can be held in your hands, carried with you, and shared with others. It makes me want to start up my own little magazine!

O Positions

Apparently others have also been impressed by the exhibition, as its closing date has been moved from January 31 to February 24. For those of you who can't make it, the online companion is a great resource, with descriptions of each magazine in an interactive timeline.

The gallery is located at 97 Kenmare Street (at Cleveland Place) in Manhattan's Little Italy area. It can be reached by the 6 to Spring; N,R to Prince; B,D,F,V to Broadway Lafayette.

#1 - Church of the Crucifixion
#2 - 40 Mercer Residences
#3 - Dichroic Light Field
#4 - Juan Valdez Flagship
#5 - IAC/InterActiveCorp
#6 - South Court of NYPL
#7 - Louis Vuitton Store
#8 - Ironworkers Local 580
#9 - Korean Presbyterian Church
#10 - Roosevelt Island
#11 - Stabile Hall (Pratt)
#12 - Terian Design Center (Pratt)
#13 - Higgins Hall (Pratt)
#14 - Broken Angel
#15 - Alessi Store
#16 - Irish Hunger Memorial
#17 - Issey Miyake Tribeca
#18 - Stuyvesant Town
#19 - Shake Shack
#20 - Socrates Sculpture Park
#21 - Skyscraper Museum
#22 - Taschen Store
#23 - George Washington Bridge Bus Station
#24 - George Washington Bridge
#25 - skinklinic
#26 - Blue Condominiums
#27 - Sleepwalkers
#28 - Melrose Community Center
#29 - APEX


  1. Excellent series, John. And a great project to end it on, especially with the writing connection. It's been great to follow you on this little journey through assorted lesser known projects around the city. Great job.

  2. Wow!
    What a nice end, John!

    Storefront for Art and Architecture was the building I was waiting for.
    Amazing project, even with closed panels.

    Thank you for all your words.

    Best wishes from Mexico City
    Israel López Balan

  3. Thanks, Frank and il.balan. I was a bit disappointed when I walked by and saw it closed; for a second I thought it wasn't open that day. That disappointment changed to delight when I saw the exhibit. The space and facade work so well even closed, perhaps owing to the fact that at any moment it can be opened into any sort of configuration. Definitely one of my favorites.

  4. The exhibit is coming to the CCA in April.



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