Two Fingers Gallery

Venue  |  Exhibitions
© Courtesy of Two Fingers Gallery
Two Fingers Gallery
SW Corner of 23rd Street & 10th Avenue
Across 23rd Street from Jim Kempner Fine Art; Attached to north guy-pole of second 10th Avenue tree from the corner
New York, NY 10011
Venue Type: Gallery
Terry Ward
Open hours
24 hrs/day
street-art/graffiti/pop, contemporary, collective/studios, experimental, photography, outsider/folk

After starting a half-joking quest to make the Smallest Art Gallery in New York City, the founders decided to go a few steps further and create the smallest art exhibit space in the world.

Founders include Artist Terry Ward

[ web ] and anonymous supporters of the TWIG (The Wee Ittybitty Gallery) committee.

New York's Family Business gallery [ web ] is small indeed at around 120 square feet of floorspace. The short-lived Wrong Gallery [ web ] was smaller but no longer exists. The "closet" galleries of Paris (and also lately of Amsterdam's red light district) often have only six or seven square feet.

The Two Fingers Gallery will aim for less than two-and-a-quarter square INCHES of usable floorspace and aims to be the World's Smallest Human-Enterable Art Gallery. World records documentation leader Guinness* is aware of the effort and is deciding whether or not to go forward with an official action for this new category.

Smallness raises a question: when does the space stop being a gallery and instead become a mere container? In theory, one could place a tiny artwork inside an emptied medicine gel-capsule and call it a "gallery" —but is it? The founders contend that the ability for a person to physically enter a gallery space is crucial; since one cannot go inside a capsule-space, it is not a true gallery. (Likewise, putting art inside a thimble would not qualify since one could not view the art while "entering" by inserting a finger.)

However, where does one draw the line about entering a gallery? How much of one's body must get inside in order for there to have been a human "entry"? One could set one foot inside an established full-size gallery and perhaps consider it as having "entered" the interior —even if just barely. Of course one should also be able to see the art while doing so —since seeing the art is the presumed reason for going to a gallery. Putting a foot in the door and peeking through the cracked-open door (or just glancing through a glass door) could certainly count. But why is the human foot the default measure? Is the phrase setting foot in a place to be the only standard? The founders decided not.

The founders resolved:

I) The gallery must exhibit art which must be visible to at least one (preferably more than one) viewer at a time.

II) The gallery must be able to be entered by at least one (preferably more than one) viewer at a time; however the phrase "enter" need not mean to enter with the whole body —entry by a body part shall be permissible as long as the person "entering" is still able simultaneously to view some of the art.

III) A body part as small as a finger or a sub-unit thereof shall be permissible —as long as art is still visible to that visitor per II above.

Other considerations involved weatherproofing, vandal-resistance, liability-reduction (really!), and (of course) location-location-location.

With planning underway since mid-May of 2012 and fabrication moving along in July, a mid-July installation is planned for New York's art district in Chelsea —likely on the southwest corner of 23rd Street and 10th Avenue.

Art will be viewed from the outside through a window —as if looking through a ground floor gallery's display window. A viewer may simultaneously "enter" the gallery by inserting up to two fingertips through holes in the floor (or two viewers may each look while inserting one fingertip per person —there being two entry holes planned).

Flexible mesh covering the floor's finger-entry holes is meant to keep out wasps and other insects who enjoy nesting in protected small spaces.

The art will be exhibited for entertainment / educational / farcical purposes only; there will no artwork sales. Two Fingers gallery shall not "represent" any of the exhibited artists; exhibiting at Two Fingers shall not infringe on any existing artist-gallery representation relationships.

Being too small to hold any staff inside, the gallery will usually operate in an unattended mode —and therefore will be more vulnerable to vandals than typical galleries. The founders have a limited amount of time and subway-fare to spend monitoring the venue. Therefore, the art exhibited likely will be low-value prints or reproductions affixed to the walls and protected with a layer of clear plastic material. Walls will be made of painted steel.

Even considering the anti-vandal measures, the founders fully expect the gallery to be removed, set on fire, stolen, or vandalized beyond repair within a few weeks. Therefore, to begin with, only one exhibit is planned. If (to the founders' great surprise) the gallery still exists after the Summer of 2012, additional exhibits may be considered.