Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jess Dobkin | Newsstand at Chester Station

Last month artist Jess Dobkin asked me to join a loose collective of artists to assist with her brilliant plan to reactive a Gateway Newsstand at Chester subway station. The venue is built into the architecture of the station (meaning it can't realistically be torn down) but has been dormant for over six years.

Jess plans to operate it as a Gateway franchisee (without the the need to re-brand it as an 'artwork', which I think is an important distinction), and will sell confectionary, drinks, and magazines. But the curated displays will also sell artists' books, zines and multiples.  Additionally, the space will serve as a venue for any number of artists interventions, projects, performances, screenings, etc. The kiosk is at ground level and accessible 24 hours a day.

It will be manned by artists, providing them an additional source of income, and money raised through sales, grants and the below kickstarter campaign, will go towards artist fees and production costs for a variety of projects.

There's a rich history of artist-as-salesperson, including projects such as Rob Pruitt's Flea Market, Martha Rosler's Garage Sale, Jens Hanning's Super Discount, and David Hammons' Bliz-aard Ball Sale (in which the artist sold snowballs on the streets of New York City). Fluxus, General Idea, Tom Sachs, Bob & Roberta Smith, Ross Sinclair, and countless others have set up kiosks, portable displays, mail-order businesses and market stalls through which to hawk their wares.  

Dobkin's Newsstand, though, is not a pop-up shop or short-term intervention project - a lease has been signed for a full year. If viable, it will continue after this. This places the project into a continuum of longer-term artists' retail projects such as Claes Oldenburg's The Store, George Brecht and Robert Filliou's The Cédille, The Shop by Tracey Emin & Sarah Lucas, The Pop Shop by Keith Haring, etc. etc.

The stand will be open standard weekday business hours, with additional scheduled special events (book launches? performances? puppet shows? political protests?) on evenings and weekends. The newsstand opens for business with a May Day celebration on May 1, 2015.

Sometime this summer I will be be producing a broadsheet newspaper with a text about Lower Bay Station, accompanied by some photographs Lee Henderson and I took there last month. Lower Bay is an abandoned subway station that was operational for only 6 months, fifty years ago. Copies will be distributed free of charge to commuters at Chester. It's a continuation of the poster I made for C Magazine's Union Station Villa project in January, and a larger film I'm working on called Substitute City.

A number of the planned projects will "address issues of transit, accessibility, mobility and city life, and consider questions about media and how information is transmitted in our times".

To learn more about Newsstand or donate, visit kickstarter, here.

The above images were taken on a site visit a few weeks ago, on a particularly cold day (too cold to turn off the b&w filter that my phone was somehow set to).

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