THURSDAY 10/18 and FRIDAY 10/19: 12pm – 2pm | Broadway and 39th Street
“All art is quite useless.” – Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
Artist Services is a lunchtime intervention. It places 10 artists, art collectives, and art collaborators in the center of Manhattan for two days and asks them not what they would like to show New York, but what they would like to do…What services would they like to see in New York? What services could they provide? What is useful? And what is, as Oscar Wilde said, quite useless?
The responses are predictably unpredictable. Nelson Loskamp offers haircuts in outré performances that mock powerlessness and control. Liz Barry and Bill Wetzel simply place an empty chair and ask pedestrians to sit for a few minutes of conversation in their ongoing project Talk to Me. Angela Washko provides action plans and matchmaking services. And the artist collective Rubulad promises a place to take a nap.
Rob Ray proposes a temporary respite from GPS maps and information-saturated guidebooks with his Get Lost! Kiosk. On the other hand, Jeff Stark creates an independent concierge service, pointing passersby to independent shops, galleries, and attractions in the area, championing independent culture in a part of the city under constant threat from big box stores and chain restaurants.
Artist Services takes place in the Fashion District, on Broadway, just below Times Square during the busiest time of the day, the noon to 2pm lunch hour. During the period, artists will take over public space with a collection of small, inviting tents, like a street fair of free services.
Some of the project services reflect the skills and services offered in the Fashion District. Kristin Reger exhibits simple techniques for manipulating fabric in a one-stop demonstration of low-cost concept, design, and print. Laura McMillan’s Made in the USA delivers free custom masks with a personal consultation. And photographer Marc Scrivo sets up a mobile studio and takes portraits for pedestrians to use in social media profiles.
Artist Services organizer Jeff Stark is the editor of Nonsense NYC, a weekly email list about independent art, weird events, and strange happenings in New York City. His events have been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, and National Public Radio.