Partial installation view
Five-month temporary vending installation and makeshift office space at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Over 200 Bay Area artists were included, over 10,000 items sold, generating over $100,000 in sales, with three new artist projects commissioned.
==> More images
==> Shadowshop website
"A Producer's Journal, or Judgement A-Go-Go." by Frank Smigiel
Interview with Brandon Brown. SFMOMA Open Space Blog
"Review: Shadowshop" by Patricia Maloney, Art Practical
Beyond Institutional Critique, video interview by SFMOMA
How are artists responding to a marketplace, especially within the confines of a major museum? How do artists consciously commodify themselves and what are the creative possibilities available within this limited sphere? Is there a way to critique capitalism within a capitalist structure?
For the period of five months, I created a platform for other artists within a museum--a "shadow" gift shop that sold to the public works ranging from outright critiques of capitalism, potentially illicit goods, and affordable, distributive multiples produced by local artists, testing the museum's definition of a socially-engaged project.
Utilizing the museum as infrastructure, I set up a system in which artists would keep 100% of the sales value of their work, challenging the notion of a normal retail (or gallery) establishment in which the artist receives only 50%. All Shadowshop cashiers/workers were paid a San Francisco living wage. I myself worked several days a week on-site, sitting at an exposed office space next to the installation, restocking items, making signage and inventory, and generally "performing" the usually invisible task of keeping a small business up and running.
The project shut down after we expended all of the museum's funds, since no profit was ever returned to the museum and it was meant to be a failed business model. A systemof this scale that returns 100% of sales back to artists is a fictional system, but it was, for a brief short 5 months, a temporary reality.
|From the Shadowshop website:
A temporary and alternative store/distribution point embedded within the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s fifth floor galleries, Shadowshop stocked hundreds of artists’ multiples, small works, tchotchkes, catalogs, books, zines, media works, and other distributive creative output.
While operating as an actual mom-and-pop style store, Shadowshopwas a platform for exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work.
Four themes (1. artwork-as-commodity, 2. cultural souvenirs, 3. bootlegs and counterfeits, and 4. alternative distribution systems) contextualized selected projects that were both complicit with and also critical of capitalist circulation. Special projects were commissioned by Packard Jennings, Juan Luna-Avin, and Imin Yeh.
For almost six months (November 20, 2010—May 1, 2011) Shadowshop featured only local Bay Area works, gave museum visitors access to a wide variety of affordable wares, and provided a snapshot of a vibrant and energetic art scene.