Store for a Month

I don’t think it was an original idea. I must have heard it somewhere before. But, for the longest time now, I’ve been thinking that it would be neat to open a store here in Ypsi, in one of the otherwise unused downtown buildings, for a single day. The idea would be that it would pop up out of nowhere, like a dandelion, and then disappear as suddenly as it had appeared.

I didn’t give much thought as to what would be sold in my 24-hour store. I just imagined having a big opening party, complete with bands and a ribbon cutting, followed several hours later by a going-out-of-business sale. I had vague ideas about t-shirts and paintings that I could peddle, but I never really devoted the time to fleshing the idea out.

Well, while I was sitting on my hands, doing nothing with the idea, someone in Portland came along and did it better. Or, at least, they’re about to. My friend Chloe in Portland, who owns the small press emporium Reading Frenzy, just told me about a venture launched by an artist there named John Brodie. It seems as though he’s launching a store that will exist for one month only. And here’s the cool part… He’s gotten 60 artists from the pacific northwest to create products that will only be available there, in the store. Here’s a clip from the website for Store for a Month:

Loosely based on Claes Oldenburg’s “Store” from 1961, Store for a Month will be a temporary art object and “product” store that includes a working studio for the Proprietor and Store artists to make works on-site, although many works will be made in advance. Store for a Month will feature art and products made specifically for the project by over 60 of the NW region’s best and brightest artists. While the emphasis is on 3D art objects and sculpture, some 2D work will be included. Artists have been encouraged to make works they might not usually make, explore new mediums outside their traditional process, and create works of an unusual or outrageous nature – all priced for the “Store” environment.

Location: 1216 SE Division Street, Portland Oregon
Store Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, Noon – 7pm

The store opens June 3… If you’re in Portland, check it out, and send photos. I’d appreciate it.

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  1. jean
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Oldenburg wrote a manifesto I love re the store:
    I am for an art …
    by Claes Oldenburg – 1961

    I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.

    I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a staring point of zero.

    I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.

    I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary.

    I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.

    I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.

    I am for an art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters in the sky.

    I am for an art that spills out of an old man’s purse when he is bounced off a passing fender.

    I am for the art out of a doggy’s mouth, falling five stories from the roof.

    I am for the art that a kid licks, after peeling away the wrapper.

    I am for an art that joggles like everyones knees, when the bus traverses an excavation.

    I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.

    I am for art that flaps like a flag or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.

    I am for art that is put on and taken off, like pants, which develops holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned with great contempt, like a piece of shit.

    I am for art covered with bandages, I am for art that limps and rolls and runs and jumps. I am for art comes in a can or washes up on the shore.

    I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds hair.

    I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or stub your toes on.

    I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the edge of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn on the wrist.

    I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching cockroaches.

    I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind mans metal stick.

    I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for art that is flipped on and off with a switch.

    I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your sweetys arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.

    I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste with, file with.

    I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.

    I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.

    I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government check. I am for the art of last wars raincoat.

    I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer-holes in winter. I am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the worms art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops between crossed legs.

    I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between the tines of restaurant forks, for odor of boiling dishwater.

    I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red and white gasoline pumps.

    I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit signs.

    I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of dead birds.

    I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and pulling at things to make them fall down.

    I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am for the art of kids’ smells. I am for the art of mama-babble.

    I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beerdrinking, egg-salting, in-sulting. I am for the art of falling off a bartstool.

    I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of dog-turds, rising like cathedrals.

    I am for the blinking arts, lighting up the night. I am for art falling, splashing, wiggling, jumping, going on and off.

    I am for the art of fat truck-tires and black eyes.

    I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art, Vatronol Art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art Ex-lax art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99 art, Now art, New ar, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art, Diamond art, Tomorrow art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-o-rama art.

    I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rat’s dance between floors. I am for the art of flies walking on a slick pear in the electric light. I am for the art of soggy onions and firm green shoots. I am for the art of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and go. I am for the brown sad art of rotting apples.

    I am for the art of meowls and clatter of cats and for the art of their dumb electric eyes.

    I am for the white art of refigerators and their muscular openings and closing.

    I am for the art of rust and mold. I am for the art of hearts, funeral hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn meathooks and singing barrels of red, white, blue and yellow meat.

    I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and flying cows and the noise of rectangles and squares. I am for for the art of crayons and weak grey pencil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of windshield wipers and the art of the finger on a cold window, on dusty steel or in the bubbles on the sides of a bathtub.

    I am for the art of teddy-bears and guns and decapitated rabbits, explodes umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken, burning trees, firecracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones, and boxes with men sleeping in them.

    I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral flowers, hung bloody rabbits and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums & tambourines, and plastic phonographs.

    I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharohs. I am for an art of watertanks and speeding clouds and flapping shades.

    I am for U.S. Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price art, Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Ready-to-eat art, Best-for-less art, Ready-to-cook art, Fully cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, Ham art, Pork art, chicken art, tomato art, bana art, apple art, turkey art, cake art, cookie art.


    I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is burshed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot.

    square which becomes blobby

    May 1961

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    How come you’ve never done this?!

    I suggest the Corner Brewery as the location. Maybe on, let me check my calendar, how’s July 18?

    You are kidding, right?

  3. Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I can kind of see how the Shadow Art Fair is like that to some extent, but what I’m talking about is more of a traditional retail experience, with a checkout counter, and all of that. I see it as being different. But, yeah, I see your point. I just really like the idea of taking over a storefront along Michigan Ave and doing something weird, wonderful, and temporary with it.

    And thank you for sharing that, Jean. I’d never read that.

  4. Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    What about renting a prime location and letting various random businesses sublet it for a month each? Then the business owners could gauge the public response to their having a store without locking into a two year lease beforehand. Subletting businesses which experience a strong popular response could then commit to renting another store space nearby, while businesses with less than expected response could reorganize and come back for another try in six months or so.

  5. John Gawlas
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Mark, the temporary store concept has been trend reported under the moniker of “popup” retail. From 2004…

    Now even the mainstream business crowd considers it a retail segment:

  6. Posted May 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    That was cool Jean. Reminded me of Ginsberg declaring everything holy, even the most unholy of holes.

    A co-op store would be interesting, where members could rotate. Seems as though it would be pretty hard to set everything up and then take it all down in a day or even a month though. A big variety store might work better, although that’s not the concept, like a permanent SAF that crops up new venders all the time in a small space within the store.

  7. Posted May 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Cousin got me thinking about ways to merge the concepts.

    Imagine starting with a smallish “big-box” space. Put movable platforms on the floor, with each platform providing space for one small vendor. Periodically (at random intervals of at least 1 day?) some or all of the platforms are randomly moved around within the space, and some randomly selected vendors are temporarily “kicked out” to allow other randomly selected (from a participating pool) vendors space.

  8. jean
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    This idea is morphing into a storefront business incubator, which would be super cool. They have one in Asheville, NC. But I love the idea of a temporary store. A month long Shadow Artfair would give people a little bit of the longview on owning a business without getting them in over their heads.

  9. Paw
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Here’s an idea… A one day only Ypsitucky Welcome Center!

  10. Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Great idea, Paw! We could trade a few banjo licks with visitors, then turn away without explanation and refuse to speak or shake hands.

  11. Posted May 28, 2009 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Hello – John Brodie here from Store for a Month. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile and finally decided to get it out of my system. It has been done in several incarnations by others. Here’s another version: It has been a great experience so far and the artists seem excited. And I have met many artists I wouldn’t have had I not done the project (or it would have taken me a few more years to run into them somehow). Artists started dropping off work today and I am still surprised at how many of the artists in town don’t yet know each other, even though Portland is still a small town in many ways. I am also looking forward to making work in the studio at the Store for 5 days a week – gives me a chance to make strange and crazy items I might not usually make. We’re also going to have an oven in the Store and bake pies to share with artists and customers. I will be posting photos on the webpage as we go along. Thanks for your interest. Regards, JB

  12. Posted May 28, 2009 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the background, John. And best of luck with the project. Perhaps, once things are up and running, we could check in with you and do a quick interview or something.

  13. Posted May 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mark – that would be great!

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