Fulton Street Vitrine

Undisclosed location, July 27, 2014 - present (ongoing)

* * *

In the summer of 2014, Triple Candie constructed a glass vitrine in an overgrown urban alley to be used for a series of "unsigned" exhibitions. The alley is in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, in a large U.S. city. The projects are not promoted; they are known to neighborhood residents either because they happened upon them or they have learned of them through word-of-mouth. The contents of the vitrine change every two to four weeks.

Text from Vitrine Displays A - D

We had decided not to reshape the world, but to add a few absurdities to it, spots of incongruity so as to shade is cruel, laden color. —Francisco Boix

For years, the people of this neighborhood created small displays in their living room windows. They were comprised of ceramic figurines, plastic flowers, posters, miniature flags, and other objects for the enjoyment or amusement (and sometimes for the religious or political edification) of those walking by on the street. These quiet exhibitions constituted the “community’s museum.” The residents were its curators.

The vitrine on this wall, which faces what is officially known as Fulton Street, is an off-beat tribute to this vanishing tradition, as well as a surreptitious call to action. “Adorn your empty windows with spots of incongruity!”

This case was inaugurated on July 27, 2014. It will host regularly changing exhibitions. If you visit and find it covered with a blue blanket, that means it is temporarily closed or being reinstalled.

Text from Vitrine Display E: An Allegory for Tal R

"It is half-past two when I step off the ferry. Across the bay, the mountains--silver and blue--play host to the rising shadows of the clouds, which drift in long streaks down from the north.

The ferry terminal abuts a shore punctuated with gleaming, twisting, office towers. I am not prepared for this. I have spent three months alone on an island writing an impressionistic play.

I descend the gangway. The terminal is decrepit. Soda pop residue coats the floor. A pimply teenager calls me over to buy cotton candy. In the adjacent stall, a Chinese man fills in a crossword puzzle, surrounded by key chains, skyline posters, and aluminum tchotchkes. The crowd is too thick.

An exit door: I push it open and am startled by a blast of white electric light. Laughter bellows from a crowd I cannot see. Clare emerges from the glare and walks swiftly toward me. In a voice too loud she asks,

"Felice, have you been here long?"

Text from Vitrine Display F: In the Vitrious Humor

“I have been sick now for months,” the author wrote. “I mean really sick. My stomach burns. My intestines are disintegrating. And my vision—God, how I wish I still had clear vision!—is riddled with specks and flecks. Beside my bed is a large window that looks out to an artificial pond bordered by animal topiary. Or so they tell me.”

He continued: “There is no question that I am dying. They tell me there is hope, that I will get better. I believe this is charade designed to placate me. I’d give myself two weeks at best. Two more weeks of blissful morphine-induced sleep, rudely interrupted by nurses sent to change my bedpan. Of twenty-four-hour television. Of meals so tasteless that they are surely cooked by an army of the recently dead for the recently recruited.” He paused. Looked up. Laughed to himself. The military analogy pleased him.

“Tomorrow, I will start a new ritual,” he forged on, now in high spirits. “The nurses have given me candles and agreed to keep two lit for as long as I am alive. I will then stop writing. The precarity of the flames—the flickers and flutters—and the flow of the wax will narrate my end.”



Photo-documentation >