Laila Gohar | Romance in the Butcher Shop
October 12 – 29, 2022
At the start of the pandemic, Demisch Danant’s co-founder Suzanne Demisch asked friends and fellow creatives to take over the gallery's street-facing window spaces to create inspired, site-specific installations. At the time, these displays served as a creative salve for the separation brought on by the pandemic, acting as accessible portals to the gallery. The initial series featured perspectives from David Hartt, Dung Ngo, and Emily Thompson.
With the world slowly reopening, the gallery has decided to continue the series as a way to engage with their neighborhood outside of their existing exhibitions, offering people a glimpse into a window-sized world of wonder and escape as they walk by the gallery. Looking back, this gesture isn't too far off from the past life of the Demisch Danant space which used to be home to legendary S.F. Vanni, the oldest Italian bookstore in America, whose window displays left a sentimental imprint on the local collective memory. Neighbors still remember the pale blue curtains that covered the storefront from 1940 to 2016, and one can still see the visual hallmarks indicative of Demisch Danant’s storied past, such as its door’s brass hardware and its letter box.
Excitingly, the new season of the Store Front series will pick back up with artist and chef Laila Gohar. Her installation – Romance in the Butcher Shop – will be unveiled on October 12 and will display select pieces by surrealist Romanian-born French designer Maria Pergay, placed in a playful butcher-like storefront imagined by Gohar. Though their body of work is radically different, Pergay and Gohar's worlds collide in the poetry and lightness they're able to convey, encouraging the viewer to look beyond what they see and discover something new.
When Laila Gohar was first approached to contribute to the Store Front series, she found instant inspiration in the idea of a butcher Shop window. From there, the artist and chef was drawn to the delicate yet industrial materiality of some of designer Maria Pergay’s work as seen in Demisch Danant’s historic collection. For her installation, Romance in the Butcher Shop, Gohar finds poetry in contrast and humor in absurdity, placing steel works by Pergay alongside a selection of levitating saucissons and scamorza of varied shapes and sizes, as well as other special objects. Evoking a sense of bewilderment, the Store Front prompts a playful moment of pause for passersby.
Following Laila Gohar, writer, poet and curator Su Wu is confirmed to contribute to the series.
ABOUT THE STORE FRONT SERIES
"New York's storefronts constitute the city's vernacular architecture." –The New Yorker, 2009
Demisch Danant’s Store Front series is an exploration of the intersection of architecture, design and art. Seasonally, multidisciplinary artists and designers contribute to the series through thoughtfully thematic installations where they apply their unique perspective on structure, form, and architecture to provoke the senses, instigate curiosity in passersby and contribute to the cultural experience of the neighborhood.
ABOUT LAILA GOHAR
As the most ancient carrier of culture, food can be utilized as an ice breaker which allows people to come together and bond over an intimate moment in time. Laila Gohar designs unique eating experiences that take place in non-traditional settings all over the world. Using food as both an artistic medium and a tool for communication, she explores the nature of human interaction by creating convivial, multi-sensory edible events. Her work draws upon historic methods of food preparation, and as a whole, food’s role in society.
Laila’s studio creates installations and pop-ups in conjunction with art, design and fashion events. She is based in New York City and works internationally.