Image: Installation view (with Michael Mahalchick, Brook Hsu, Sarah Kurten, Sofi Brazzeal, Michel Auder, Nicolas Guagnini, and Dawn Kasper) of The Split, GRIN, Providence, RI, 2017
Marlborough, Broome Street, New York, NY
2014, Sep 12 - Oct 12
A.K. Burns and Katherine Hubbard
Barb Choit, Juan Downey
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe
John Miller and Takuji Kogo
Devin Troy Strother
Marlborough Broome Street is pleased to present Walk-ins Welcome, a group exhibition that considers the barbershop as a complex metaphor for social space and imaginary projection. While the barbershop appears to speak purely of identity, it also epitomizes a quintessential American experience, where democracy and the melting pot are realized in everyday life.
The function of a barbershop is to quickly and efficiently provide a service. Through its “walk-in” policy, it becomes a kind of social club. One might unabashedly open a trashy magazine while waiting, keep one eye on the soap opera and one ear directed towards a heated political debate, as well as proudly recite sports statistics and seamlessly transition into local gossip.
Regular customers and employees offer elements of their personal lives, boasting wallet-size family photos, posters of an iconographic athletes or pop stars,and a collection of idiosyncratic tchotchkes that pile up over time. In this way,the barbershop becomes not only a shared social space, but a repository of symbols of this communion—where bonds are made and broken and the public appearance and persona of the individual is forged from the consensus and dissent of the community.
Each artwork in this exhibition corresponds with both the utilitarian and individualistic elements of a barbershop. Artist-made chairs, mirrors, photographs, portrait paintings, magazines and videos, as well as works employing wigs, hair, found objects and posters transplant the barbershop experience to the gallery setting.