Taking Stock: A Massive Group Show Takes Over a Queens Pantyhose Warehouse

'Means of Production' has more than 70 participants, and a mission to address labor issues in the art world.

At front, Ioanna Pantazopoulou's 2024 T.C.–M.C. (Tight Chick-Magic Carpet) in "Means of Production" at Sheerly Touch-Ya's warehouse in Glendale, Queens. Back to the right is Anh-Phuong Nguyen's 2024 installation of cardboard women, SilkAirways_GirlStandee_New.png. Photos by Andrew Russeth, except where noted.

Without hosiery, contemporary art would be a great deal poorer. For decades, Senga Nengudi has stretched pantyhose into inventive sculptures, Sarah Lucas has dressed uncanny human figures in stockings, and Ernesto Neto has filled hose with all kinds of spices to build beguiling installations. Now those garments, in some sense, have inspired a spirited group show, “Means of Production,” at a warehouse on the edge of Queens with more than 70 participants—a few established, most emerging. You should see it.

A large warehouse with tall ceilings and skylights is seen in a color photo. Four tall shelves are mostly filled with cardboard boxes.

Amid boxes, art delights await.

First, some backstory: The building, a short walk from Forest Park and various cemeteries, is home to two enterprises—the exquisitely named Sheerly Touch-Ya, which deals in existing and up-cycled deadstock hosiery, and Shisanwu, which fabricates sculptures for many notable names. Sheerly Touch-Ya was started in 1992 by James Chang, an immigrant from Taiwan, and Shisanwu was co-founded in 2018 by his daughter Serena Chang, a veteran of Urs Fischer’s studio, with Aric Grauke.

In a dimly lit space, amid cardboard boxes, hangs a spherical sculpture covered with white fabric. Inside, a digital candle glows.

An untitled work by Yitian Yan from 2024.

The exhibition’s curators—a collective called Lunch Hour comprised of Lily Jue Sheng, Do Tuong Linh, and Serena Chang—have scattered works throughout the warehouse, amid an unfathomable number of boxes of leggings, tights, pantyhose, and the like. Finding them becomes a kind of treasure hunt. It may also elicit some of those precious “is that art?” moments that sharpen the senses.

The trio of clothing racks adorned with jewelry and fabric? Those are three artworks, by Vy Trinh, a discreetly placed label notes. The styrofoam surfboard leaning against a wall? Not an artwork. It belongs to the surfboard-making Alex Ito, one of a few artists with a studio here.

In a color photo, a musical scale is high on a white wall. A bike leans against it, near an abstract painting of many colors.

Alex Eagleton’s painting Dolt Bolt Wallop (2024) sits beneath a wall-hung piece by Darren Bader. At left is a kinetic sculpture by Koa Pham.

A good number of artists have produced their contributions with materials from the premises. A spherical lamp by Yitian Yan, hanging within a dimly lit shelving unit, is encased in white Sheerly Touch-Ya hosiery, while Ioanna Pantazopoulou wove those products into alluring sculptural tapestries. Yu Rim Chung built a kind of miniature abstract architectural model of a city or a garden with debris from their studio and 3-D–printed bits from Shisanwu projects. Becky Kolsrud, meanwhile, offers a characteristically charming painting of legs in tall checkered socks.

An intricate, abstract model of various architectonic-like components sits on cardboard boxes in a warehouse in this color photo.

Yu Rim Chung, polyethylene layer cake, 2024

The art here is a mixed bag, but the show’s overall effect is heartening. Artists and curators have gotten together to do something unusual in an unusual space, many of them using only what was readily at hand. It’s an exhibition about things that often go unseen and unmentioned (art fabrication, unsold inventory), and as its name, “Means of Production,” suggests, it has a political undercurrent, with some pieces that address labor issues. Sierra Pettengill presents footage of the 1926 fur-trade workers strike that won a 40-hour workweek, while Jen Liu’s video The Machinist’s Lament (2014) examines industrial production by way of surreal collage and a Theodor Adorno-quoting voiceover.

A color photo shows a painting of a leg wearing checkered socks. It hangs on a wood-paneled wall.

Becky Kolsrud, Red Heels, 2024.

On June 8, as part of this experiment, the space will host an “Art Workers’ Town Hall” that will take up ways of “resisting extractive labor practices, divisions of labor, and institutional/systemic racism within our workplaces.” Who knows what that might inspire? Things are bleak in many parts of the art industry right now. Small and mid-size galleries are closing, and salaries (and artist’s fees) are stalled. The other day, an artist acquaintance reeled off for me the day jobs that a bunch of recently celebrated mid-career artists are currently doing to make ends meet. As the international art market becomes ever more top-heavy, corporate, and unequal, this smart and scrappy production is registering the pervasive discontent—and modeling another approach.

“Means of Production,” which is open only by appointment, runs through July 31 at 74-12 88th Street, Glendale, New York. See more photographs of the show below.

In a color photo, a Pez candy dispenser sits under a glass dome and spits out tiny bricks. It is atop a wire rack surrounded by cardboard boxes.

Jacob Kassay, Case, 2021.

A glass hourglass filled with dark sand-like material is attached to a motor and sits on a cardboard box in a color photo.

Serena Chang, Us, 2024.

A white sculpture of a small, smiling cat is nestled in a burgundy pillow-like form in this color photo. It sits amid cardboard boxes.

Natalie Skinner, Untitled (crying cat), 2024

In a color photo, a cardboard box is opened and filled with packages of pantyhose.

Footless tights by Sheerly Touch-Ya: queen-size leggings with capri lace.

In a color photo, cardboard boxes are stacked in a warehouse and a small painting—mostly blue and vaguely abstract—hangs on a thin metal column.

Anjuli Rathod, Net, 2024

In a cavernous warehouse space there is a sculpture made of a clothing rack adorned with many items. A van is in the background. This is depicted in a color photo.

Three 2024 works by Vy Trinh.

A dramatic photo hung in an office

Work by Thuy Nguyen, top left. Photo by Ben Davis.

In a color photo, a photo in a black frame is hanging on the edge of a shelf in a large warehouse. The photo shows a doll-like figure stuck inside a refrigerator.

Poyen Wang, Endearing Insanity, 2022.

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