September -November 2017

Long Island City, NY

You Can't Take It With You was an installation that took place in a self storage shed at a Pubilc Storage facility in Long Island CIty. Curated by Flux Factory, participating artists were asked to make proposals for “first month free” storage spaces given to the artists by the group.

Artist Statement:
For many poor and working class New Yorkers, driven from the city by rising rents and gentrification, a rented storage space for their life’s belongings is often the last toe hold they have on living in the city at all. Increasingly, a climate of rampant speculation now extends to the items stored in these storage spaces as well. When renters become unable to pay the rent on these storage spaces, their belongings are sold to the highest bidder in public auctions which often take place online. The contents of sheds at auction can often be purchased remotely via online auction for as little as $1.

Using the $75 provided to me by Flux Factory for the budget of this show, I will buy at online auction the contents of as many foreclosed storage units in New York City as I can. Using Public Storage’s offer of only $1 rental fee for the first month, I will store these items in my own storage unit until the month runs out on November 12, 2017, or until I can locate the former tenants of the foreclosed sheds and offer them their old stuff back. If I find them, they can have their items back immediately, no questions asked. I will ask these former tenants if they’d like to participate in the exhibition by selecting some of their own personal items and loaning them to me to display for the duration of the show. I will provide documentation of this search during the run of the show.

In the meantime, I have made an installation in the shed using select items from these auction purchases mingled together in bankers boxes with my own sentimental personal belongings and personal papers, items found on the street and at junk stores, and contributions of unfinished artworks formerly saved in storage by artists Alicia McCarthy, Barry McGee, Bill Daniel, Jason Handelsman, Josh Macphee, Rigo 23, Sto Len, Sue Jeiven, and others. The installation will change throughout the show as more sheds are purchased, as more artists contribute work, and, hopefully, as people reclaim their stuff. When the show is over, any items not claimed will become part of the final artwork, available for purchase by collectors. If a collector purchases the installation, I will continue to search for the former owners of the stuff so I can split any proceeds equally with them. When the free first month is over, if the installation is not purchased, I will leave the installation in place in the shed and not pay any further rent, allowing the contents of the shed to inevitably go up for auction online again in a few months. 

Please feel free to lift the lids of the bankers box to view these discrete individual assemblages, and please take care to leave the installation as you found it when you are finished.