“Negozio,” the Italian word for “shop,” combines the Latin term “otium,” for “leisure,” with a negative prefix. All together, “that which is not leisure.” To an extent, Negozio is an attempt to turn this linguistic predetermination around. How can art become a means of providing for myself while still remaining a place of play?
This platform responds to the lack of power many artists feel in directing their own careers. We rely upon others to validate our labor—museums, galleries, followers. In the past century, with the development of a field of art that is distinct from artisanship, galleries in particular have come to dominate the production of aesthetic and cultural value, wresting control from artists and collectors alike. The proliferation of artist-run spaces has been a direct response to the decentering of artists’ voices by the art market. Spaces such as Judson Dance Theater, New York or A.I.R. Gallery, New York were founded by artists who weren’t willing to wait for the mainstream and commercial arts apparatus to “find” them. Others, like The Kitchen, New York, wished to feature vanguard art forms—like video—that did not have a clear audience or value. Meanwhile, storefronts like Printed Matter, New York, sprung up to question the division between art and product and to create alternate modes for the circulation of both.
Negozio follows in the footsteps of these experiments, revealing that the borderlines between work and leisure, artwork and life, are only as real as we make them.
Negozio is a project to support local Italian artisans and the creation of Fondamenta. Read more about it at thefondamenta.com.