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Storefront for Art and Architecture

New York, United States


Storefront for Art and Architecture amplifies the understanding of the built environment through artistic practice. Storefront chronicles the changing urban landscape, and remains committed to producing and presenting work about diverse notions of place and public life. Through exhibitions, events, and other public programming, Storefront provides alternative platforms for dialogue and collaboration across disciplinary, geographic, and ideological boundaries. Key projects include Performance A-Z (1982), Homeless at Home (1985), After Tilted Arc (1985), Queer Space (1994), NY Masjid: The Mosques of New York (1996), A Civilian Occupation (2003), Aquí vive gente: Museum of History and Community of Puerta de Tierra (2019), Public Space in A Private Time (2022), among many others. This year, for their 40th anniversary, Storefront launched On the Ground, a yearlong research project and exhibition series about New York City’s ground floor. Through a close look at the urban typology of the storefront, this expansive endeavor presents newly commissioned artistic explorations about the critical role storefronts play in shaping public life. The project will unfold through three exhibitions, an open call, a radio show, a public program, and a thematic reader.

David L. Johnson (b. 1993, New York, NY) is an artist who lives and works in New York City. Johnson uses photography, video, found and stolen objects, and installation to engage the margins between public and private space. Focusing on loitering and property law, his recent work has been interested in the complex relationship urban development engenders between the built environment and its living and non-living subjects. Johnson received a BFA from The Cooper Union in 2015 and an MFA from The University of Pennsylvania in 2020. He is an alum of the Whitney Independent Study Program and a part-time lecturer at The New School. Recent exhibitions include: Life Between Buildings, MoMA PS1, New York, NY; Everything is Common, Artists Space, New York, NY; Revocable Consents, Theta, New York, NY; A Place to Live, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PA; Wants & Needs, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY. Johnson’s work is in the public collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem.


Project Overview

Civic Architecture

Storefront for Art and Architecture presents Civic Architecture by artist David L. Johnson.

Upon the invitation of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, New York City-based institution Storefront for Art and Architecture expands its inquiry around publicness and the built environment through a sustained engagement with artist David L. Johnson. 

This multifaceted participation begins with the presentation of a 2019 video piece by Johnson titled Warbler, which depicts a bird sitting still on the sidewalk after it collided with the glass facade of a Hudson Yards building in New York. Presented inside the iconic glass-clad Chicago building James R. Thompson Center designed by Helmut Jahn, this video piece launches an open collaboration between Storefront and Johnson. In this first instance, the collaboration centers on the preservation of buildings, legacy, and public use, emphasizing the politics of glass as a mediating material.

Additionally, during the ongoing restoration of the James R. Thompson Center, Johnson acts as an intermediary in the process to orchestrate the preservation of one glass panel of this culturally significant building. By donating it to the Graham Foundation’s Collection of Architectural Fragments From Famous Chicago Buildings, located in the Chicago Landmark Madlener House, this postmodernist building fragment circumvents the inability to preserve Helmut Jahn’s original glass. Using the Madlener House’s Landmark status as a proxy, Johnson effectively captures the deceptive nature of this translucent material, who’s continued use is prevalent in the ongoing history of development.

A ceremony will be held at the Graham Foundation at a later date to mark the incorporation of the James R. Thompson Center’s building fragment into their collection. It will be accompanied with a live program of talks. The collaboration between Storefront and Johnson will continue to look at other symbolic buildings transitioning from public to private ownership.

Project Overview

The City is the Site