Gallery 98 is pleased to lend objects to the historical section of “Art for All,” an exhibition of low-priced artists’ multiples organized by Jeffrey Deitch for Uniqlo’s SoHo store. The idea of art for the masses was a central tenet for young artists in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly those affiliated with the artists’ group Collaborative Projects, Inc. (“COLAB”). Gallery 98 traces its roots to this milieu, and includes in its inventory works from several COLAB artists and activities. Jeffrey Deitch was also involved with COLAB as a young critic and dealer, and his many subsequent exhibitions reflect a similarly populist vision of art.
In the early 1970s, COLAB artist Stefan Eins made use of the SoHo storefront he’d illegally inhabited to establish the 3 Mercer Street Store, selling low-priced art commodities by Eins and artist friends. For “Art for All,” Gallery 98 has lent a poster from 3 Mercer’s 1972 exhibition of plaster casts and stencils by Tom Otterness, who is now a celebrated public sculptor.
In 1982, Eins was invited to show at Documenta, the prestigious international survey exhibition in Kassel, Germany. With Jenny Holzer, Eins represented the South Bronx art space Fashion Moda, selling artist-designed t-shirts and other merchandise. The sign for Fashion Moda’s booth at Documenta (part of Gallery 98’s inventory) is also now on view in “Art for All.”
COLAB artists also sold affordable pieces at the “A. More Stores,” pop-ups held each year for the holiday season, from 1980 to 1985. Christy Rupp’s plaster casts of rats were featured in these A. More Stores, and later in Gallery 98’s online exhibition “Christy Rupp: Rats and Other Early Works, 1979–1983,” and are now on display in Deitch’s Uniqlo exhibition.
“Art for All” is on view at Uniqlo’s SoHo location, 546 Broadway, through February 16. In addition to the historical section, the exhibition includes more recent works in the same tradition, which are available for purchase. Tomorrow night, Thursday, January 26, at 6 p.m., the store will host a conversation among Deitch, critic Carlo McCormick, and COLAB artists Jane Dickson and Charlie Ahearn.