Friday, November 20, 2015

Kiosk at MoMA PS1's Greater New York

In it’s fourth 5-year roundup, MoMA PS1 presents Greater New York with a special focus on the nostalgia for the past. Of the 157 exhibiting artists, there is a wife and husband duo, Alisa Grifo and Marco ter Haar Romeny with a collection that particularly traverses the line between the local-artist reminiscence for the past and the sting of expensive real-estate reality in the present.

Among the overwhelming landscape of over 400 paintings, sculptures, photographs, garments, and surprisingly few new media installations, is their quirky display, the KIOSK Archive of about 3,000 small objects. 

Neighboring a gallery of life size figuration, KIOSK is configured in a rectangular room with a fair amount of square-footage stacked and filled to the brim with 1ft by 1ft modular plastic squares. The cubes house individual curiosities, from Kazoo trumpets, to copper cheese graters, kinder creme and pocket Japanese carpenter-knives. 

MoMA PS1’s curation of a curated collection of cheap and not-so-cheap international novelties arise a fascination with consumption culture. Since the items are in fact for sale, it leads me to think there might be a slight indulgence with a consumerist appetite. 

Though, there is something clever to hosting a consignment shop in a show that seeks to subdue today’s urban financial challenges by relishing in New York’s past. Kiosk was once a local store in Soho founded in 2005, until an expensive lease seized it’s closing in 2010. A decade ago, one could peruse the shop’s textured surfaces and tangibly marvel the curiosities facilitated by a knowledgeable clerk. Now, the Kiosk is solely an online market, where one must browse an archive of square images behind a screen and clicks for paragraphs of informational text. The exhibition of Kiosk is representative of an all too familiar gentrified-fate of artist goods going to the transient digital.


  1. I enjoyed reading your review as I did not know the history of this work. It was one of my favorites at the Greater New York exhibition, mostly because of the stories behind the objects that you could listen to when calling a specific number on your cellphone. So my understanding of the work was mainly related to this idea of collecting everyday objects from several cultures and informing visitors of their history (most times unknown). However, your analysis brought another perspective to the work, making it even more interesting. It is really a great example of New York's rising real-estate prices, but combined with our desire to consume and accumulate objects with no concerns about their origins and history.

  2. Just like Catarina, I enjoyed reading your review to the Kiosk Archive, providing a rich background information to the installation. I liked the piece even better now that I learned its story relating to the tourism and consumerism culture. The display of objects in individual cubicles allows viewers to concentrate on the details of each item, evoking personal memories on top of the digital descriptions giving by Kiosk. In addition to the poetic side of the installation, the company is also passively seeking profit from the viewers as mentioned in your response.

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