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Currency, bank vaults and contemporary art meet at defunct LIC bank

Clocktower (Bank of Manhattan Building)

Nov. 27, 2012 By Bill Parry

A vacant Long Island City bank is being transformed into a site-specific art exhibit that asks the public to reflect on its relationship to the monetary system.

Acclaimed museum curator Manon Slome and her public art organization ‘No Longer Empty’ is preparing a contemporary art exhibition at the Bank of Manhattan building in Queensboro Plaza.

The show is called “How much do I owe you?” It explores currency, value, and exchange at a time of financial anxiety, growing debt, and job insecurity.

The iconic Bank of Manhattan Building, known as the Clocktower, will open its doors and vaults as part of the exhibit. The exhibit aims to promote discussion among attendees about the monetary system—from non-monetary barter networks to the virtualization of money.

The show opens on December 12th and runs through March 13th. It will feature 26 artists from 15 countries. “One third of the group are local artists, and that strengthens our connection to the area,” she said.

No Longer Empty places its exhibits in commercial spaces that were left vacant in the aftermath of the financial crisis. “This is our 14th exhibit in the last three years,” Slome said, “and our first time in Queens.”

The group’s mission is to expand the audience for contemporary art while helping revitalize whole neighborhoods. “Huge numbers of people come to our shows,” explained Slome, “and we’ll hand out cultural and business maps to everyone so they can explore the neighborhood and spend some money in the community.”

The Clocktower was built in 1927 and was the tallest building in Queens until the Citigroup Building opened in 1990. The building has largely been empty for the past 25 years.

  • Location: The Clock Tower, 29-27 41st Ave, LIC
  • Opening: Wednesday, Dec. 12-March 13, 2013
  • Regular Hours:  Thurs-Monday, 1-7pm


Manon Slome and the bank vault

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I adore this building. It’s so odd no one’s turned it into condos or whatever yet.

Congrats to the arts group adding creativity to the neighborhood!


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