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Keep Shop
June 30 - August 1, 2020
Business hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

Essex Flowers is excited to present Keep Shop, a performance-produced exhibition by David Kennedy Cutler. From behind locked doors at our storefront location, Cutler’s activities will be viewable via live-stream embedded in the gallery’s website with daily dispatches shared via social media. Cutler and his “companions” will occupy the gallery during “business hours” and continue the imagined activities of a shop in the absence of its owners, keeping up the premise of productivity, when for the moment it is both impossible and futile. Additionally, the exhibition’s narrative reflects upon the actual history of Essex Flowers, which began as an artist-run gallery hidden inside a flower shop. In the final week of July, the artifacts of Cutler’s time in the gallery will be on display in our window box, visible to passersby 24-hours a day.

The artists’ statement, below:

Essex Flowers has invited us to mind the shop for the month of July.

The gallery will remain closed, and the doors will stay locked. Though my companions and I will keep the enterprise running, maintaining regular business hours—what commerce might transpire is beyond material. We seek only to preserve a pantomime of the activities held in our collective memory.

We are not entirely certain what Essex Flowers is. Like a rumor, it has spread and lost connection to its inception. It began as a store within a store: visitors would have to pass through one to reach the other. As it shifted premises, it dragged along the identity of its expired host, inhabiting the costume of a store once located on Essex Street. The authors of its original charter have also moved on. Its membership, perpetually in flux, cannot detail the entirety of its history. One thing is certain:  flowers were once sold—however unsuccessfully—from the confines of the original space. With that distant inventory in mind, my companions and I will make arrangements for a clientele that does not exist. Though the gates have long been shuttered, we will attempt to keep shop regardless.

-David Kennedy Cutler