Assembly 2: Open Storage: Sodi

Bosco Sodi

In the epic blizzard of December 2022, Assembly lost power for nine hours. Without heat the pipes and fittings in its fire protection system froze and burst. Unable to reopen without resolving the damage, Assembly officially closed to visitors to undertake a full building assessment and analyze its options. With quotes to repair the fire suppression system coming in over $100,000 and no quick fix on the horizon, the decision was made not to try to reopen Assembly 1: Unstored, which was subsequently deinstalled, with the works returning to the artists. 


When Assembly first opened its doors to the public in the spring of 2022, it seemed such an unambiguous triumph: an ideal case in the creative reuse of distressed real estate, resource matching, and civic renewal. Here was a spectacular but long defunct space reclaimed to display a type of work that many artists have in storage (large and difficult and therefore institutional) that would otherwise go unseen, for the benefit of a distressed community. 

But, in a storyline that is becoming the global rule rather than the occasional local exception, nature has taken to exposing the fragility of our assumptions. With its vast, airy, almost natural-seeming open space, Assembly is a perfectly sympathetic environment for showing art. But that is not the same as being a perfectly suitable space in which to safeguard it—at least not in a supercharged climate. 


The calculus of responsibility and care having thus changed, Assembly 2: Open Storage: Sodi could be described as a holding action organized under the banner of self-insurance. The works are still ones that would otherwise be in storage, but everything now on view was made by and belongs to Assembly’s artist-founder Bosco Sodi (b. 1970). With only his own work at risk, Sodi takes a different view of Assembly’s imperfections as an art storage space. Being made in collaboration with nature and comfortable with all of the vulnerability to chance and change that requires, Sodi’s work tends to center imperfection and contingency. So intrusions of rain, sleet, and snow, massive temperature variations—often in the same day, from one side of the space to the other—and excoriating rays of direct sunshine, make it not only not inhospitable, but an ideal environment for the presentation of his work. And that is how Sodi got himself into this wonderful mess in the first place.