‘Protocinema’ Installation Takes Over Embattled G&S Sporting Goods Space on Essex Street
For the first time since G&S Sporting Goods departed the Lower East Side three years ago, 43 Essex Street boasts a new retail occupant, albeit temporary. It’s a pop-up gallery, naturally.
Protocinema is not as it sounds, rather a roving arts program with dual headquarters in New York City and Istanbul. It now occupies a space that is basically a construction site.
Protocinema makes site-aware, itinerant exhibitions around the world. Protocinema is based in Istanbul and New York, two cites at the center of their region, with an education program. Protocinema creates opportunities for emerging and established artists from all regions, in cities where their work has yet to have much exposure. Protocinema seeks to open up dialogue and improve mutual understanding between individuals.
The iteration functioning at 43 Essex for the next month features the work of Emre Hüner. It launched last night and goes through April 30.
Installing such temporary retail occupants in dormant stores is an oft-employed strategy to attract eyeballs to lure a more permanent business (i.e. deep pockets). It’s a narrative repeated over and over in these parts.
Ever since the $6.9 million sale at the end of 2014, 43 Essex Street had been ground zero for alleged tenant harrassment. As previously reported, residents filed a lawsuit back in April 2015 after landlords Dean and Paul Galasso assumed a campaign of harassment, deploying myriad deplorable strategies including hiring tenant relocator Michel Pimienta. All this with the same old end game of making lives intolerable (e.g. no cooking gas for a year), and forcing out the rent regulated. Both parties ultimately settled this past December.
G&S proprietor, and former landlord, Lenny Zerling sold to the Galassos in December 2014 for $6.9 million. 43 Essex Street had been in the Zerling family for more than seventy years.