Art Fag City at The L Magazine: A Love For Art Blinds No Longer Empty’s Vision

by Paddy Johnson on January 16, 2013 The L Magazine

Installation view. Image by Paddy Johnson

This week at The L Magazine I discuss No Longer Empty’s “How Much Do I Owe You”? The show could use some improvement.

Art, we’re told, offers us new and different ways of seeing and thinking about contemporary issues. We are better for having it in our lives. This mantra pays great dividends to many of us working in the art world; while poor, at least we love what we do. That love, though, can sometimes blind us. In our desire to share our love for art, we may fail to ask: who are our exhibitions serving? Does the public benefit from them? What will they learn?

How Much Do I Owe You?, an exhibition launched by the nonprofit No Longer Empty, shows the dangers of not considering these questions seriously enough. Situated in a Long Island City building that once housed Bank of Manhattan and its subsequent incarnation as Chase, the show centers on the theme of money, continuing curator Manon Slome’s interest in creating shows that respond to the history of the buildings they take over.

If the show’s theme is money, the building is the first exhibit. Its high ceilings cradle views of the passing 7 train, creating a sense of movement and elegant grandeur only architecture can afford. The building is a find, and a credit to No Longer Empty’s credo for filling disused spaces with art. It’s the sole element in the show that represents the upper class, and undoubtedly the most effective metaphor for money in the show.

Everything else is a disaster.

To read the full piece click here.


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