Calvin Lom is an old-school, analog, black-and-white photographer who has hundreds of thousands of negatives documenting a changing New York City. The images he shows us in this video are of prints that utilize digital image capture via the usage of a Leica Monochrome camera.
When he first moved to Manhattan, Calvin had to get rid of two-thirds of his belongings, and he wondered if he would have to trash his artwork. Lucky for us, Calvin instead decided to preserve his work in his Manhattan Mini storage room.
Calvin’s photography acts as a time capsule of NYC, with perspectives of the Empire State Building that can no longer be seen due to new developments and high-rise buildings in Long Island City. It also includes an incredible shot of Rizzoli Bookstore… a 109-year-old Big West 57th Street landmark that is now tragically demolished.
“This is my life. This walk-in storage facility is what I am proud of,” says Calvin, describing his storage unit. He imagines a future when a mass audience discovers his artwork: “This artist that lived, he left something behind,” he imagines them saying. “Something that was important – that he protected. My whole life is in this room.”
No Longer Empty and Manhattan Mini Storage are pleased to present Fresh Out of Storage, a unique project that brings to life and to light some of the many artworks that are kept in storage in New York City. No Longer Empty is a non-profit organization that activates public engagement with contemporary art through curated, community-responsive exhibitions and education programs that revive underutilized properties.
The project, which was open to all artists who have stored their work at a Manhattan Mini Storage facility, will be presented in three separate formats: an online presentation (www.freshoutofstorage.com) will showcase the work of all 35 artists who submitted their work for consideration; a video documentary, which will present interviews with 18 artists who were selected for Open Storage Visits; and the physical exhibition, featuring the works of ten of those artists, which will be held at the Manhattan Mini Storage facility at 645 West 44th Street (417), from Oct. 13th through 21st, 2016.
An artist’s storage unit is a time capsule of both the creator and his or her works, holding years and sometimes decades’ worth of material. The interviews made clear that the storage rooms contained not just works but intimate recollections of their making and the artists’ lives at the time, and often, mining the depths of the unit became like a journey into the past.
Opening Reception, October 13th: