Galleries

Occupying the Window at Printed Matter

by Liza Eliano on November 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's art installation in the storefront of Printed Matter in Chelsea (all photos by the author)

Normally crammed with artist’s books, zines and other publications, Printed Matter‘s storefront window on 10 Avenue and 22 street is now home to art from Occupy Wall Street.

Known for using their window spaces in the past to host exhibitions, Printed Matter has lent their window to OWS to display whatever artwork they want throughout the month. On this chilly but perfect fall Sunday, I paid a visit to the store to check out the installation, which had gone up the night before.

Many of the art exhibitions I’ve seen in response to OWS have contained an overwhelming amount of artwork, almost too much to really wrap your head around. Shows like NYU’s This is What Democracy Looks Like are quick to take any poster, slogan or photograph of OWS and throw it up on the gallery wall in the hopes of providing a snapshot of a movement that is constantly changing.

I expected a similar type of display at Printed Matter, but found something very different. The window installation is a much more subtle intervention with works that are not immediately recognizable as Occupy Wall Street art. Here there are no “99%” slogans or cardboard painted signs, both of which have become prominent symbols for the movement. Rather cartoon-like drawings of protesters carrying mini-signs “occupy” the window. The giant coin mask worn by the man who spearheaded Occupy Museums, Noah Fischer, is also on display, along with a poster version of “The Declaration of the Occupation of NYC” hung in the corner. At the bottom of the window stands a quirky little slot machine figurines that reads “Hit the Jacked Pot.”

Not that many people stopped to view the window while I was there, but then again Chelsea was pretty empty this Marathon Sunday and the Printed Matter store was also closed. The installation is still in its beginning stages and will continue to change throughout the month as more artists add their works to the window. Below are some photos of the first iteration of Occupy Printed Matter:

Occupy Wall Street’s installation at Printed Matter (195 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea, Manhattan) is scheduled to run for three weeks according to the event’s posting at occupenial.org.

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  • Daniel Larkin

    Is all the work by anonymous artists? Just found it interesting that no artists are taking credit for this work.

  • Liza Eliano

    Hi Daniel! When I viewed the work none of the pieces were labeled with the artists’ names, but this may change throughout the course of the installation as the window evolves. Yet keeping the work anonymous is probably also an intentional move, or at least one that is in line with Occupy Wall Street’s horizontal structure.

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