ART & DESIGN

Lele Saveri Looks Back at the Newsstand


In the age of Tumblr and Instagram, The Newsstand was something of a minor miracle. Over eight months, from June 2013 to January 2014, a small, grimy newsstand inside the Metropolitan/Lorimer subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was turned into a hub for artists and photographers and writers—anyone with a point of view to express, really—to drop off and pick up homemade zines, pins, and comics. They stayed, hung out, performed—some even ended up manning the booth. Curated by the photographer Lele Saveri in production with Alldayeveryday, the Newsstand, which hosted freewheeling events by the likes of India Salvor Menuez, somehow ended up at the Museum of Modern Art, reincarnated at its New Photography 2015 exhibition last fall. On February 23, Rizzoli will publish a retrospective of the shop. Here, Saveri remembers a few of his favorite moments.

1

Tales From the Tomb “When I opened the Newsstand I was hoping to get some music fan zines, but those aren’t popular anymore. I guess it makes sense, if the original intention of making a fan zine was to promote the work of lesser-known bands as cheaply as possible; blogs and social media have replaced that completely. Anyway, this was the first real music fan zine that was dropped off—it’s all about metal, made following the old fashioned style brought to us in the ’70s by the punk scene. When German Fernandez dropped it off, it was his first zine, and I got so excited that I asked him to do an event and eventually a radio show.”

2

Army Food “Andy Tyson is a photographer and video maker based in New York. Because he used to be in the Army for years, every few months he would still go and do training missions with other soldiers. This is a compilation of all the meals he was served during one of those missions, taken by Andy with a disposable camera. I remember one night, just when I was about to close the Newsstand, a strange-looking couple walked in looking for sodas. Like many others, they were perplexed over what we were selling. They started looking at the things on sale, and picked up ‘Army Food.’ They got excited, so I asked them if they had been in the army. But I was wrong; actually, the zine reminded them of a time during which they were both kept apart while they were both locked up in jail. They had a very sweet and tender memory of that time. They ended up buying a pin that said ‘I’m a Gang Member.'”

3

100 Minutes From the Newsstand “This zine is a selection of images shot by a hunting camera installed by Pat McCarthy on a day he was working at the Newsstand. The camera is normally used by hunters to follow the path of dears and bears in the woods, and shoots pictures every minute (or anytime something moves).”

4

Slice Harvester “I wasn’t aware of this project when we opened the Newsstand, but it had been going on for a while already. It’s a compilation of reviews of pizza shops in New York, divided by neighborhood. Colin Hagendorf went to every place, tried a slice, and wrote a pretty serious but funny review the taste and the atmosphere of each pizzeria. It is the perfect zine for someone who’s visiting New York and wants to read something while on a train to Manhattan. (That’s probably why it was always sold out.)”

5

Booklub “This was a zine that documented one of my favorite events. India Salvor Menuez and her friends asked if they could put together a reading event. For a couple of hours, they all performed, read poems, sang songs. They also kept an open-mic aspect which encouraged commuters to stop by. On that specific day, this girl on her way home from school decided to read out loud a page from her personal diary. She confessed to feeling lonely and unaccepted by her classmates because she was attracted to other girls. India ended up redoing the Booklub several times after that, last one of which (the 10th) was at the installation of the Newsstand at MoMA.”