‘No Longer Empty’ – Making Creative Use of Space

by Ross von Burg on August 20, 2009

No Longer Empty is a public art installation created by Manon Slome. Formerly a curator at the Guggenheim Museum, Ms. Slome constructively and creatively utilizes spaces left empty by the implosion of NY’s Real Estate Market for a continuing program of floating art exhibitions. There was so much interest from artists and ‘space providers’ the project took off ahead of schedule with an initial installation earlier this summer next to the Chelsea Hotel and a current show up at a space next in the Caledonia, adjacent to the High Line on West 16th Street. 


This project installs interesting artists in high traffic areas designed to attract the viewers because of the volume of passers-by but also because its conceived of as a location that can both involve the public and make them feel comfortable in the space. 

As a site-specific public art project, No Longer Empty designs spaces in order to make a transformation in often high vacancy areas that need to be re-involved with both the streetscape and the people that pass by. By often using street-level commercial spaces now largely occupied by ‘For Rent’ signs, the project in its own way draws attention into the often raw or roughly finished interior spaces that provide the setting for its shows. 

An upcoming project will create an Oasis in Times Square. A quiet restful place among the noise traffic and tourists that crowd this section of midtown. The idea is informal and comes from both, a commitment to public art and from a rationale that breaks the whitewall gallery or museum methods of both display and curating.  No Longer Empty can put a show up in a few weeks or less. Compared to other galleries or museums which prepare shows months or sometimes years in advance. 

After having worked their entire careers mostly in Institutions NLE‘s creators see their spaces as open and accessible where anyone can walk off the street  with a stroller, take a look, leave a dollar and feel that they have both noticed and experienced something that would have been otherwise missing from their day. 

Because the locations are high traffic it can make a difference to the casual passerby and brings people into spaces that were either never finished or are now empty.  A trend likely to continue on the street level for sometime. ”The ‘For Rent’ signs are part of our look. Often the Real Estate Companies don’t want us to take them all down and we don’t want to either, ” Manon Slome said in a recent conversation. “The situation has gotten so bad many buildings have unfinished areas and some have run out of money and can’t afford to put down the rug and buy a sofa for the lobby.”  


No Longer Empty is not just a storefront model, but will install in other spaces as well and looks to expand its repetoire to include, musicians, bands, dance other kinds of performances as well as instructional talks. Creating a kind of multi-modal environment that reconfigures raw space as necessary for a particular event or installation.  In a way encouraging  the creation of a mobile nexus of art and interaction linked by the a social network of active participants, interested passersby in an active streetscape all working together to make a creative use of space that otherwise would have remained empty. 

Reflecting Transformation @ The Caledonia, 443 W 16th St, New York, NY (July 30 – August 29)

Photographs are courtesy of No Longer Empty.
For any enquiries please contact manon@nolongerempty.com

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