Taking it to the Streets: The Arc of an Alternative, Artist-Run Exhibition Model -- Food, Fashion Moda, and the Pop Shop

Alden Projects™ focuses on three artist-run alternatives during the 1970s and 1980s. This booth concept begins with Gordon Matta-Clark and Carol Gooden's Food (opened in 1971), an artists’ collaborative restaurant bringing art and nourishment to unexpected places in the streets of pre-gentrified SoHo. On view is the rarely seen poster for the opening of Food, replete with menu options, a unique drawing and an artists'  book by Gordon Matta-Clark. Also with 112 Greene Street (another alternative artist's collaborative), Matta-Clark and his urban interventions in the Bronx also inspired the creation of street smart, and also artist-run, Fashion Moda (opened in 1979 in the Bronx). Fashion Moda championed a community-based, collaborative model, bringing artists to the street, and the street to artists. Although the history remains significantly neglected, Fashion Moda was a signal institution responsible for the early fostering nascent street art, graffiti and hip-hop culture.  This booth component consists entirely of artist-designed Fashion Moda exhibition posters documenting this extraordinary social and aesthetic gambit.  Some bold faced names from the early days include: Jenny Holzer, Lady Pink, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Crash, Daze, Charlie Ahearn, Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Justen Ladda, John Feckner along with Fashion Moda’s own artist-administrators, Joe Lewis and Stefan Eins.

Keith Haring combined Fashion Moda’s street smarts with Warhol’s Pop sensibility to create, with the latter’s encouragement, the Pop Shop in SoHo (opened in 1986) where he exhibited and distributed mostly affordable, non-unique artist-designed multiples. Included here are posters, multiples, ephemera and even original Haring-designed plastic and paper bags from the early Pop Shop. Haring collaborated with many street-oriented artists associated with Fashion Moda and Colab, a number of whom also exhibited with Haring elsewhere and at the Pop Shop. Although Haring's boutique both reflected and affirmed the transforming economies of art and real estate in lower Manhattan, his alternative production, distribution and exhibition model also shared an under-explored lineage with Matta-Clark's own collision of urban street culture and art.

Other highlights at Alden Projects™ booth include rare and rarely seen photographs of Joseph Beuys’ 1974 coyote performance in New York taken by Stephen Aiken, who was “the other photographer” present, providing alternative views to the commonly known documentation by Caroline Tisdale.  However deeply problematic Beuys' legacy ultimately  remains, the German artist's complex relationship to, and sympathy with, New York artists exploring alternative exhibition models in the 1970s makes this inclusion more relevant that it might otherwise seem. Also included is documentation from some alternative New York music scenes around 1980, including a rare exhibition poster of James Chance and the Contortions (for a Colab Benefit) and photographs of No Wave film and music scenesters, Debbie HarryAmis Poe and Eric Mitchell. And last but not least, a 1978 vintage photo of The Cramps by Jimmy DeSana. Take it to the streets, and re-arrange the past into the present.  At Alden Projects™: Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, booth # O-03.

© Todd Alden 2014                                         

Printed Matter's LA ART BOOK FAIR 2014
Alden Projects™ Booth #O-03

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Opening: Thursday, January 30, 6–9 pm
Friday, January 31, 11 am-5 pm
Saturday, February 1, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 2, 12 pm–6 pm

Free and open to the public.