This weekend the doors of the legendary Tower Records on Broadway and 4th Street will reopen with a multi-media art exhibition. No Longer Empty (NLE), the non-profit org that transforms vacant NYC spaces into gallery pop-ups, presents “Never Can Say Goodbye,” an homage to the defunct Tower and the days of old-school record stores.
We stopped by yesterday to check in on the space, and a wave of nostalgia washed over us — late nights flipping through bins, David Bowie sightings…oh, the memories! NLE curators Manon Sloane and Asher Remy-Toledo took us around as construction workers and many of the artists prepared for the opening. “Never Can Say Goodbye” features the work of over twenty artists in various mediums. Ted Riederer created a record store installation for the occasion, complete with original music posters, a performance stage, and bins with hundreds of albums organized so their titles read as one long lyrical poem. His ‘store’ is called “Never Records,” and many of the album covers and posters were donated by local shops and artists like Marilyn Minter. Paul Villinski, whose work we discovered last September while visiting the Tommy Hilfiger flagship (of all places), was taking a break from a signature flying record piece he’s still tweaking. Using old LPs to form little birds, Villinski plans to mount them emerging from an old-fashioned player. “I’ll probably call it ‘Diaspora,’” he said. “All these records were mine and kind of tell a story of my life. And what’s funny is that some of them still had the Tower Records stickers on them from when I bought them here decades ago. I spent a lot of Saturday nights here hanging out.” We’ll be sure to check back for the finished product.
There’s tons to see, hear and experience, including a hilarious tribute wall made of Vanilla Ice magazine covers, a station for burning African music archived by Siebren Versteeg according to country, and weekly performances by bands. Many of the artist-designed work will be for sale, along with music, posters, and limited-edition exhibition merch. “Never Can Say Goodbye” is free and open January 15th through February 13th.