Amidst rows of whitewalled spaces filled to the brim with art, there was a booth at this year’s New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) New York art fair that took a very different, but familiar approach to their setup. Recalling simpler times when Blockbuster had yet to file for bankruptcy, gallery and artist hub Kunstraum presented their booth as a makeshift video store, with rows of DVDs, a larger-than-life cinema poster, and a series of monitors playing loops of the videos on the racks. The concept was executed with such precision that the booth was awarded the inaugural Artspace Fairgoer Award for "most compelling booth."
Video Shop isn’t some subversive critique of Hollywood culture, and beyond the layout, you’ll find no further relationship to the movie industry here. Instead, the DVDs on the wall and playing on the monitors are a series of artist editions, each for sale for $75 (or $1,000 for the full collection).
The project consists of an eclectic mix of 16 artists, including "mattress girl" Emma Sulkowicz and provocateur Alex McQuilkin, who were each invited to make a video rendition of their practice or a specific project. With running times varying from two minutes to 365 days, and projects ranging from Romeo and Juliet recreations to animatronic old men, each video is a vastly different experience, and undoubtedly a work of art.
Video Shop is more than just a refreshing approach to making an art fair booth. On a conceptual level, the project is an attempt to combat the monster that is the current art market. Nadja Marcin, one of the founders of Kunstraum tells The Creators Project, “In Video Shop, artists meet that are culturally more and less significant and sign onto the idea. This togetherness highlights the meaning of art. It breaks down the traditional hierarchies of the market and it becomes a social sculpture. Video Shop serves as a memory of the days when the big artists were not ‘art stars’ yet, but producing the same genius work in the shadowland.”
Although NADA New York has already ended, Video Shop extends outside of the fair’s confines. Each of the edition-of-50 DVDs are available for purchase online through Kunstraum’s eShop.