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August 27 2014

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Dia: Chelsea’s X Factor

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Screw Art Basel. Screw the Biennale. Why go jet-setting around to see art when New York City has got its own extravaganza opening right here? This week, X Initiative launches No Soul for Sale, an agglomeration of more than 30 arts organizations from around the world that have been invited to present work at the former Dia: Chelsea building. “We’re so lucky to have this space at no cost,” explains X Initiative director Cecilia Alemani. “We wanted to share that gift with other groups that, like us, are operating as nonprofits. The whole thing is very free.” In keeping with the free spirit of the event, Alemani and the X Initiative team have eschewed borders and partitions, instead marking off exhibitor spaces Dogville-style and organizing the foot traffic so that visitors pass through all the installations as they make their way from entrance to exit. “We really want people to come out and participate,” Alemani says. “For example, we’re opening tonight with a performance by the Mexican artist Martin Soto Climent, who will be creating a sculpture, live, from empty beer cans as people finish drinking.” A good excuse to booze, sure, and an additional inducement to check out the space is the newly Astroturfed roof deck designed by L.A.-based architect Jeffrey Inaba. The roof will remain open after No Soul for Sale closes on the 29th. In the meantime, artist Peter Doig is curating a screening series of Caribbean films that will play from 9 to 11 p.m. each night. Also chipping in: United Bamboo designer Thuy Pham, who created the X space uniforms. “Ultimately, we’d like this to be a place where people come and have a drink and a dialogue after they finish up at the galleries,” notes Alemani. Naturally, entrance is gratis.

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