Storefront, 529 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
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October 1 to December 10, 2006
10am - 7pm everyday except Wednesdays
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Michael Rakowitz will re-open Davisons & Co., based on the importexport business his family operated in Baghdad. Located in a storefront on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, the project will provide free shipping for the Iraqi diaspora community, as well as other families who have military personnel stationed in Iraq, thereby creating a space where human concerns on both sides of the conflict can meet.
Davisons & Co. was originally opened in New York by Rakowitz’s grandfather when the family was exiled from Iraq in 1946, leaving behind a legacy that spanned centuries. In this incarnation of the business, Rakowitz will also attempt the importation of Iraqi dates and other products, offering them at prices that are clearly the result of prohibitive import charges and restrictions that remain years after the Gulf War embargo was lifted in 2003. This situation has kept Iraqi products from legally entering the United States, with severe repercussions for the previously thriving, world-renowned date industry in Iraq that produced over 600 different varieties.
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MICHAEL RAKOWITZ (b. 1973, New York) is an artist based in Chicago and New York CIty. In 1998 he initiated paraSITE, an ongoing project in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. Rakowitz’s work has appeared in exhibitions worldwide including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, MassMOCA, the Tirana Biennale, the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Transmediale 05: BASICS at the House of World Cultures in Berlin. His work has been included in “SAFE: Design Takes On Risk” at MoMA, “T1: The Pantagruel Syndrome” at the Castello di Rivoli in Torino, and “Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art” at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Freid Projects, New York City, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, Italy, and the Stadtturmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. Upcoming solo projects include “Return,” produced by Creative Time in New York City and “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist” at Lombard-Freid Projects. He will also participate in the Sharjah Biennial in 2007. Rakowitz received a 2006 Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is the recipient of the 2003 Dena Foundation award and in 2002 was awarded the Design 21 Grand Prix by UNESCO. A book on his work, “Circumventions,” was published in 2003 by the Dena Foundation of Contemporary Art and onestar press. Rakowitz is an Associate Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University and is a Contributing Editor for Surface Tension: A Journal on Spatial Arts. He is represented by Lombard-Freid Projects.
The storefront at 529 Atlantic Avenue has been generously donated by Art Assets and The Atlantic Assets Group. Additional thanks to Sahadi Fine Foods and Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Sanitation and NYC Department of Education.