Flushing Money Down the Toilet?

September 23, 2011

SUPERFLEX, Power Toilets/JPMorgan Chase, 2011.

J.P. Morgan TARP Bailout: $25 Billion
Fixtures & Floors for Executive Washroom: $5,000
Cottonelle Doubly Ply Toilet Paper: $50
Framed Ikea poster art: $25
Experiencing a clean public bathroom in NYC: PRICELESS

Yesterday, the stock market dropped 391.01 points. At the same time Danish artist group Superflex unveiled their latest intervention, part of Creative Time’s Living as Form exhibition. In the Olympic Restaurant on Delancey and Essex, the group created a near-exact replica of J.P. Morgan Chase’s executive washroom.

This greek diner has been a cornerstone of the Lower East Side for over thirty-five years, and, by the looks of it, the new bathroom is the first major addition in that time. The Olympic Restaurant did not pay a dime for the bathroom – it is free and open to the public, not just customers. Most importantly, it is a permanent installation that we hope will stay in the neighborhood for another thirty-five years.

Olympic Restaurant (115 Delancey at Essex St.) with Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942.

Did the $25 billion bank bailouts affect you? If the government had given every small business, restaurant, cafe, and coffee shop in America $5,000 to upgrade their restaurants, wouldn’t you spend more money on food, coffee and newspapers? That, friends, is economic stimulus. Oh, and you would think J.P Morgan, with a $115 billion market cap, could afford an interior designer, if not an art advisor. Did the summer intern in the mailroom design this? Frankly, the art industry could use your business.

Living as Form opens Saturday at the Essex Street Market (see our video with curator Nato Thompson). It includes several public installations and is one of many ongoing projects that make Creative Time the country’s most significant organization for socially engaged art practice.

Superflex is made up of artists Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. The group describes its projects as tools, defined as "a model or proposal that can actively be used and further utilized and modified by the user.”

- Manish Vora