If you dare brave the cold this weekend and find yourself on Allen Street, you may come across Haruma Yanagisawa’s cultural exhibit/pop-up shop/crash pad. Photos of trendy young things smoking, drinking, having sex, and singing karaoke line the walls amidst pops of neon and pastel pink. Stepping inside is something like visiting a FIT freshman’s dorm room.
Yanagisawa, the 21-year-old curator and creator of the exhibition, enlisted the help of two of his friends, photographer Naru and artist Teito Nomiyama, as well as that of the New York-based photographer Akihito Okuno, to explore what he calls “the daily life of youth.” The Tokyo-based art student said he wanted to evoke the feeling of a lived-in room, complete with messy clothes strewn on chairs and fashion magazines littering a coffee table.
After circling the room, I felt like I was on the set of a modern-day Japanese remake of Kids, which is probably exactly what Yanagisawa was going for. Naru’s and Okuno’s photos resembled the highly curated Instagram shots of the painfully cool, and the strings of fairy lights and the juxtaposing glare from the constantly running television set kept the room glowing.
Toward the back, the Japanese apparel brand TTT-MSW (whose founder is another friend of Yanagisawa’s) set up a pop-up shop within the pop-up exhibit (like hipster matryoshkas!) selling pastel-hued jackets, shirts, and t-shirts with bold and jagged letterings.
Yanagisawa said that he had been planning to launch the exhibit since he came to New York in April, but found it hard to get a gallery space that was willing to host him, an issue he attributes in part to his difficulty with English. “I tried to send messages to some galleries, but they ignored me,” he said. While walking around the Lower East Side one day, he came across an exhibition being hosted at MiLES, which provides for-rent gallery and events spaces in the neighborhood, and promptly found a space that would accommodate his vision.
Eric Ho, founder of the start-up, explained that this kind of service was precisely its mission. “What we do is to provide the space for artists to be able to do the amazing things they’re doing,” he said. “We’re trying to do is make it easy for people to come in, have furniture in place, any equipment that people would need, and provide social media support as well.”
Prices for the space on Allen Street start at $700 a day (for a three-day minimum), which includes wifi and a stereo system, as well as clothing racks, display shelves, or anything else a particular pop-up might need.
After Yanagisawa finishes his exhibit on Saturday, Eric and his partners will be gearing up to host BUNKER, a pop-up tech-art gallery launching in March, as well as other events that are still awaiting confirmation.
MiLES, 103 Allen Street at Delancey Street. Hours vary according to exhibit.