Home grown: Asad Raza stages art show in his one-bedroom NYC apartment

Home grown: Asad Raza stages art show in his one-bedroom NYC apartment

While the hoi polloi was busy overtaxing their social media feeds in Miami during Art Basel, a select group of curators and artists were busy considering one of the more intimate and intriguing art world happenings of recent memory back in NoLita, New York. The idea for this tiny sensation took seed five years ago when Buffalo-born, New York-based artist, writer, and producer Asad Raza was helping the British-German artist Tino Sehgal produce ‘This Progress’, his acclaimed 2010 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. During the end of the show’s run, he had an idea to produce another ephemeral show — inside his pint-sized one-bedroom apartment.

‘I didn’t get around to it and the idea just floated to the back burner,’ says Raza, who has worked with a who’s who of conceptual artists over the past seven years (including Philippe Parreno, Adrián Villar Rojas and Sarah Morris) producing shows all over the world. In the ensuing year he heard about other apartment-based exhibitions — from Jan Hoet’s Chambres d’Amis to Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s World Soup  — which kept the idea alive. While working with Parreno this summer for his massive H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS show at the Park Avenue Armory it brought back the desire, he says, ‘to make an intimate small show in my own life that’s totally different to what I’m doing here.’

When he saw artist friends (like Camille Henrot, Dan Graham, and Carsten Höller) he told them about the exhibition and asked if they wanted to do something. Nearly all of them came up with ideas - from dream-activating toothpaste by Höller to an edit of stuff acquired during the span of his life by Rachel Rose - for ’The Home Show’, an elegant wunderkammer that sprawls through every nook and cranny of his 450 sq ft abode.

In addition to paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, sound works and performance-based pieces, Raza included things like a 15,000 year old mastodon tooth, an artificial heart that his heart surgeon father implanted into a patient (and returned later) and a 17th century letter sent to one of his ancestors from the son of the architect who built the Taj Mahal. His sister even made a perfume.

‘In a weird way the show is a portrait of my life. I put the artists I work with in it. It turned out to be a lot more intimate than I thought it would be. I’m really impressed with how many of the artists worked directly on my life and how that’s changed how I live life in my apartment. I’ve been traveling a lot the last few years so when I come home, it’s to rest between projects, but this have given me a whole new life here that’s interesting and meaningful, so that was really cool. I feel weirdly grateful to them and fascinated with this new life,’ says Raza, who has been receiving five to 15 visitors per day, including Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Guggenheim senior curator Nancy Spector and Dia Art Foundation director Jessica Morgan.

‘The fact that they’re coming I guess means that they thought it’s interesting, but it also feels like it just got produced out of my real life. I’m also interested in how it taught me something about this generation of artists who work on crafting experience. That’s coming through, really strong.’

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