The spring 2013 series is wrapped! Thank you to everyone who walked or drove by, attended an artist talk, provided funding or otherwise supported the project.
The theme for Spring 2013 focused on the artists’ processes of creating and installing their work. We usually only have the opportunity to see the final work, but hours of thinking, designing, and making go into these storefront windows and DSP wanted to reveal some of that through artist talks. Mercury Studio and The Carrack partnered with Durham Storefront Project to present the work of:
Thank you to Chris Vitiello for hosting an artist talk on April 13 at the Carrack (111 W Parrish St). The conversation focused on the challenges and opportunities of storefront installations, as well as each artist’s approach to site-specificity.
Drawing on her former experience in retail storefront window design, Tamara Galiano Bagnell discussed her focus on the attributes of the space, resulting in a storefront window that played to the architecture of the building – a small window filled with patterns and neutral in color, framed by the white-grey patterned brick of 212 W Main Street.
André Leon Gray addressed the history of the building, newly renovated 106 W Parrish Street, part of an area once nationally recognized as Black Wall Street. Recent efforts have revealed some of the history through public art and the Historic Parrish Street Forum, but stretches of the street remain unoccupied. Intricate and filled with connections to Parrish Street’s past, Gray’s work provided the pieces of a story about race, progress, and urban spaces, but you needed to spend time with it to make the connections. They are important ones to consider as Durham progresses and the face of Parrish Street continues to change.
Sarah Goetz embraced the challenges a storefront window presents to her work. Goetz encourages physical interaction and intimacy with her work – from small, detailed paintings that draw the viewer up close, to pieces like “the day i wrote love letters to everyone who’s ever given me a hug” where you actually get to touch the art, extracting miniature love notes from the hanging hive-like structure she created. Storefronts create a barrier that protects installations from the elements, but it also prevents the viewer from getting “inside.” In her piece at Mercury Studio (407A N Mangum Street), Goetz engaged the viewer through a series of paintings, which used conductive paint. The viewer placed her hand on the painting, triggering fans that disrupt the winding sheets of tags.
Meg Stein’s work at 108 Morris Street also encouraged viewer interaction. The installation had several layers beginning with a John Ball quote addressing inequality, which was written on the exterior of the window — “When Adam delve and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?”. On the interior of the space, stood two rows of mirrors, one with mirrors facing into the space and one facing out. The mirrors triggered the viewer to try to catch a glimpse of herself, but Stein’s careful staging of the reflective surfaces provided views only of the surroundings, the interior of the space and the city and sky in the background. During the talk, Stein discussed the ways in which she used items from inside the historic space to build on her concept for the work, adding an additional layer of history to the piece.
Chris and the artists also highlighted the symbolism of the storefront windows – they are there for marketing and commerce, buying. What happens when an artist works in a storefront and asks you to engage with the window in a new way?
Thank you to everyone who supported the project this spring, including our lead sponsor Downtown Durham Inc., Center Studio Architecture, The Carrack, Mercury Studio, Durham Arts Council, Preservation Durham, The Scrap Exchange, G3, Bullocity, Greenfire, and all of the individual donors who contributed on Go Fund Me.
Interested in making a contribution to support Durham Storefront Project — contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on sponsorship. Funding goes directly toward artists’ stipends.