Talk/Shop with Kiosk





THE THING Quarterly is very excited to welcome Alisa Grifo of NY-based object shop/art collective KIOSK for a talk about the perils of running a business that is art and an art project that is a business and how KIOSK is truly neither. She will also show artifacts from her personal collection, gathered while she has been working on KIOSK, and discuss the nature of collecting, showing collections and what she feels objects and collections really mean.

Alisa is the latest participant in our ongoing Three Things presentation series, in which we invite an artist, writer, filmmaker, or other cultural producer to come to THE THING and talk about a few things that they are thinking about.

Also! An Exhibition:  A selection of objects from Alisa's personal collection will be on display at THE THING from March 9 - 22.  Stop by M-F 10a-5p to take a look.


  • DATE: Wednesday March 9, 2016
  • TIME: 6PM
  • PLACE: TTQ HQ: 447 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin
  • TICKETS: $5 via EventBrite includes an adult beverage

MORE ABOUT KIOSK (excerpted from text accompanying their recent exhibition at MoMA PS1):

We started KIOSK ten years ago, in 2005. At the time, downtown Manhattan was becoming hyper-commercial due to the beginning of the massive rent increases. The interesting, unique places filled with inspiration were quickly disappearing. We felt an urge to fill the void. We wanted a place where people could look, learn, touch, and talk about what we were showing and wax on about anything in the world.

KIOSK was thought of as a shop by some; others didn’t see it that way at all. In terms of commerce we were a mess; in terms of art, totally un-definable. Almost everyone on their first visit would say, “What is this place?” You might be saying this to yourself now. That’s OK. It was always just “KIOSK”: a place, an installation, a store, a happening, a whatever. We never completely defined it, we never put our names straight on it, and we viewed everyone who worked on the project as a contributor. It’s not about the one, it’s about the sum. In that sense, the project is constantly changing.

Still, at the beginning we created some parameters in order to get things done. We decided to show things from around the world, one location at a time. Our format is really simple: we go to a place; search for very basic, common, independently produced objects; bring or ship them back; present them in an exhibition format (by having one of each thing on view with its accompanying text); and sell the stuff. Easy. Every object tells a story, everything opens a conversation; look, learn, touch, and talk, and then take the thing home with you. That way, the life of the object — and in turn, KIOSK — goes on and on.

KIOSK was located at 95 Spring Street up on the second floor for its first eight years. It was a hub in the neighborhood with an amazing stairwell covered in graffiti. It was laborious, we loved it and hated it. At first we were there three days a week, then six; it annoyed people we were never open on Sunday. The building was eventually sold for a record price and torn down. What was a two-story, funky holdover from the ‘80s with lots of local businesses is now being replaced with a multi-story flagship store. Ironically, while we were working hard to preserve independent operations, we ourselves were forced out of our home and business. RIGHT now we have no home. New York may no longer be the place.

Our goal has always been to stick to our artistic and moral values; to have a creative project that we believe in, that functions simultaneously as a business. Rather than applying for grants or funding, or relying on sales from commercial gallery representation, the public supports us through their purchases. What they give us is what we have to work with, it’s a direct relationship which affords us the freedom we need to do our work and facilitates the type of engagement that we want to have with the public.

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