Ludlow 38 Archive

In Perspective: MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 (2011–2019)

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Space for Rent

Space for Rent

David Reinfurt

It starts with a Space for Rent sign at 38 Ludlow Street. It was January 2006, and I’d just moved from Queens to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. My wife and I were expecting a daughter. I’d also just started working with Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey as Dexter Sinister and was looking to change my graphic design practice. After six years in midtown, I wanted a studio close to home.

The sign was hanging above the storefront. I thought, “Perfect—store as studio!” The agent arrived with keys, but instead of opening up the ground floor, she led us down several steps into a dark basement with 6 1/2 foot ceilings. It was small but with good proportions. It had a heavy steel door and a metal sink. It was very cheap. We moved in March and opened with a party in June. Upstairs was Terrence Koh’s studio. He was out after a few months and the Space for Rent sign returned. 

Meanwhile, Dexter Sinister was working with Stefan Kalmár at Kunstverein Munich on a lobby proposal. That stalled, but we let Stefan know the space above us in New York was available. I’m fuzzy on exactly how, but by 2008 the Goethe-Institut had rented it and Stefan arrived in New York. Liam Gillick designed an interior whose stair steps up to a platform were the true mirror of our stair steps down to the basement. We had a close relationship with overlapping, even stacked, events and audiences for a while. 

This two-faced postcard sandwiched the announcements of simultaneous book launches on June 8, 2008. Both started at 7 pm sharp. Upstairs, A Fair to Meddling Story was launched with a piano performance by Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss, while A Couple Thousand Short Films About Glenn Gould was launched downstairs with Cory Arcangel on two turntables as DJ Salinger. 

Things are quite different on Ludlow Street today. The building was sold. Goethe-Institut moved out. I renewed for five years. Upstairs hangs a sign again: Space for Rent.