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January 28, 2010 / The_Mike_Johnson

Tower Records New York Returns But You Cannot Buy Anything

Tower Records New York before the end of an era.

In the January 15, 2010 Wall Street Journal, “Running on Empty – Artists explore abandoned spaces,”  we learn that the retail space on Broadway and Fourth Street in New York that once housed Tower Records (and closed in 2006), will be occupied by a project, “Never Can Say Goodbye” from No Longer Empty which will be a mock shop of the former Tower Records store.

From the article:

“In its heyday, Tower Records in Manhattan’s East Village teemed with music-loving shoppers. But in 2006, with buyers rushing to online music stores and big box retailers, the store closed. Starting this weekend, the place will fill up again—this time with performances, panel discussions and conceptual art installations, some lamenting the demise of music stores. The project, called “Never Can Say Goodbye,” is from No Longer Empty, a New York nonprofit that places public art projects in vacant retail spaces. (The group’s first such exhibit was at an empty fishing-tackle store.)”

With a lot of empty retail spaces, it is great to see a new alternative use of the space:

“It’s the latest in a wave of art galleries and theaters popping up in empty retail spaces around the country amid the recession. At a partly-vacant mall in suburban St. Louis, a program called ArtSpace has brought in theaters, art galleries and dance studios to occupy what were once beauty salons and chain stores like Abercrombie & Fitch. In the Los Angeles area, Phantom Galleries LA has placed temporary art installations in vacant shops and storefront windows.”

Maybe a bit too realistic:

“The artists and curators behind the Tower Records project in New York say it’s partly meant as a look at what the art world can learn from the music world’s troubles. To passersby, the site will look a lot like a lively music store, with racks of records, a cash register and promotional posters hung overhead. (Window-sized “For Lease” signs remain, however.) Ted Riederer and 40 other artists have created the mock “shop,” which will include record albums that have their covers blacked out except for a few words.  “My goal is … to have them in the store for 30 minutes until they realize it’s not a store,” he says. Opening night of the New York exhibition will include an appearance by a Vanilla Ice impersonator.”

Read the full article.

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