Silver Factories on 53rd Street

Video installation
3ch projection, 3 media players, aluminum foil, a tripod, an electronic signboard, a trash can
Dimensions variable


The city of New York is laid out in a grid, where roadways running East-West are named “Streets” and roadways running North-South are named “Avenues.” People are able to discern a general location on the map based on the intersections of these streets and avenues.

Along 53rd Street, two Silver Factories bookend the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

At the intersection of 53rd Street and 5th Avenue lies Uniqlo’s flagship store. Uniqlo has been a sponsor of MoMA in recent years. The interior of the store features silver walls lined with repetitious displays of merchandise, and the retailer’s posters have featured images of Andy Warhol. It goes without saying that Andy Warhol is one of the most significant figures of the New York art world. The posters include the catchphrase “Silver Factory.” Perhaps the team at Uniqlo came upon Warhol’s “Factory” while developing their brand image and decided to use that concept in designing their space. Uniqlo stores throughout the world feature similar merchandise displays.

At the intersection of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue is Halal food cart so popular that it even shows up on Google Maps. This food cart sells kebabs, which are wrapped in aluminum foil. I came upon crumpled pieces of foil fluttering next those who walked by.

This food cart, which scatters silver foil onto the pavement, is another form of the Silver Factory. Throughout the world, kebabs and other foods are sold wrapped in foil.

Coincidentally, it was at this same intersection that a single musician would stand every day during the 1960s, when Warhol was active. He called himself “Moondog,” and he would always stand at this corner dressed as a Viking while performing or selling music.

“Silver Factories on 53rd Street” is a video installation inspired by the histories of art and music that have occupied the stretch of 53rd Street between these two intersections. In this exhibition space are 3 video works, an electronic signboard, and walls and pillars wrapped in aluminum foil.