Christine Hill
Small Business

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

November 13, 2012

Christine Hill
Small Business

November 17–December 22, 2012

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
31 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10013

“Art is the expression of joy in labor rather than an exclusive luxury.” –William Morris

“Ms. Hill’s installation neatly blurs, and mocks as improbable, distinctions drawn between art and business, and offers instead a laid-back model of art-as-business.” –Holland Cotter, The New York Times, March 6,2009 

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts presents Christine Hill’s latest work in a solo exhibition, Small Business. Opening November 17, Small Business is the stateside branch of Hill’s storefront workspace in Berlin and the latest iteration of her long-running proprietorship of Volksboutique, the multifaceted production label she founded in 1996.

Small Business Model (2012) represents the day-to-day activity of Hill’s entrepreneurial exchanges. It features a scaled-up Kaufladen, or model store, based on the popular German children’s role-playing toy of the same name. Small Business Model explores Hill’s ongoing study of the structure, ethics, and behaviors of small business enterprise and features a custom inventory arranged and labeled with detailed taxonomies and assigned meanings and priority, forming a three-dimensional glossary of better-business practice. 

“I think about the divisions like phrenological mapping … how thoughts and priorities are structured,” says Hill. ”I love that an inventory structure can shift and evolve and that contemporary concerns can be treated like wares on display and as a supply for a certain demand. People can peruse the items for elements they recognize in their own lives.” 

A shop counter complete with cash register and shipping scale delineates the wall between audience and shopkeeper. Visitors are invited to enter Small Business Model, play the role of proprietor, and pose for snapshots—effectively testing how they might keep shop and present themselves.

Small Business Model is accompanied by a collection of carefully labeled and displayed shop-related sample boards, advertisements, and paraphernalia—objects situated as elements of exchange and value, as well as visual representations of commerce, a force in our daily lives.

Hill has examined intersections between small business and art throughout her 20-year career. Previous projects include the original Volksboutique, a second-hand clothing shop located in Berlin-Mitte for one year and subsequently featured at documenta X in 1997; Tourguide?, a SoHo-based walking-tour agency in New York, produced by The Public Art Fund in 1999; and Minutes, a suite of five custom-made steamer trunk time capsules filled with paraphernalia used in a variety of sole-proprietor tasks (Management, Reception, Public Relations, Accounting, and Production) exhibited at the 2007 Venice Biennale. For her solo booth hosted by Feldman Gallery at the 2009 Armory Show in New York, Hill created the Volksboutique Armory Apothecary, the first stateside iteration of her Berlin-based shop complete with intimate consultations and metaphorical remedies prescribed for visitors by the artist.

Hill’s long-term installation Hotel Volksboutique (a functional, rentable hotel suite) will open at the GFZK Leipzig in fall 2012. Past public art commissions include The Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects, the NGBK, Berlin, Creative Time, and the Public Art Fund. Hill’s monographs, Inventory (Hatje Cantz, 2003) and Minutes (Hatje Cantz, 2007), feature essays by Lucy R. Lippard and Rick Moody. She has exhibited projects at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Serpentine Gallery, London; GFZK, Leipzig; MoMA, New York; Kunst-Werke, Berlin; MassMOCA, North Adams, MA; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; capcBordeaux and migrosmuseum, Zurich.

Since her appointment in 2004, Hill has been Professor and Chair of Media, Trend & Public Appearance at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. She opened the Volksboutique Small Business shop at its current location on Choriner Strasse 51 in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg in October 2010. The shop is open regularly to the public on Fridays from 12 to 6 and by special appointment.

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 17, 6–8pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10-6pm. Monday by appointment. For more information, contact Eleanore Hopper at (212) 226-3232 or eleanore [​at​]