Artwork by Paul Villinski
Sculpture of birds made out of old records by Paul Villinski

On New Years Eve, at the amazing loft party where Anagnorisis Fine Arts hung some of its artists’ work, I got word that my friend, artist Ted Reiderer, was putting together an art installation in the old Tower Records space on Broadway in NYC.

Ted, who I know from my stint with the Antagonist Movement not too long ago, creates sculptures, paintings and more using a wide variety of mediums. His work unfailingly centers around punk rock music of the seventies and eighties, and the cultural ramifications of such a movement. His work is intelligent and attractive. It’s aesthetic appeal is very modern with, perhaps, just a hint of pop.

The exhibit at Tower Records, Never Can Say Goodbye, is a wonderful idea for many reasons. Curated by Manon Slome of No Longer Empty, Steven Evans of the Dia Art Foundation and Asher Remy-Toledo also of No Longer Empty, it features work by multiple multimedia artists. Each work explores the ways our culture accessed music in the not-too-distant past. For many years Tower Records was the best place to go to buy music you needed for your collection no matter what genre or mode (they still sold cassettes years after CDs had become the norm). The place had five (?) floors and a multitude of eyecandy. This New York location closed down several years ago due to the proliferation of online sales, and, to make the closing more tragic, the entire building has sat unused ever since as if to rebel against the new ways of the world as much as it can.

In comes No Longer Empty to save the day. From the exhibit’s site:

Never Can Say Goodbye illuminates the economic and social changes caused by the emergence of the Internet as the dominant means of music distribution. In its heyday, Tower Records was sales central for indie and contemporary music, as well as a gathering place for musicians and music lovers. Today, in its place, is a virtual landscape without architecture, sales staff, and community traffic. Freely downloading selected songs have created an empty space where a music store once thrived.

As I mentioned, I knew I wasn’t going to make the opening party, but I did manage to get a sneak peek while they were still installing the show. Teds work, Never Records, “an installation complete with record bins, album covers, music posters and a performance stage” is interactive. As you flip through the records, you read through what could be lyrics split up amongst each cover design. I was also really excited about Paul Villinski’s sculpture of birds rising up above a pile of records (pictured above). Overall the show is crisp, intelligent and fun.

This show is one of those exhibits that merits a visit not only by any art lover, but also by all music lovers, New Yorkers and tourists alike. All will find something to love and enjoy. Those of you who frequented the store in its day will not only get an eyefull of great art, but will also have the chance to reminisce a bit.

There are several events attached to the exhibit including musical performances and a lecture. This show is not to be missed!! The exhibit which opened this past Friday, January 15th, will be up until February 13 (hours are Wed – Sun 12pm- 7pm). The old store, in case you don’t remember, is on the corner of Broadway and East 4th Street. More information can be found by clicking here.

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