Moving culture

imgres-1There was an article a few weeks ago in the NYX this weekend about taking art on the road, like a food truck.   Certainly there have been moving installations for years at museums around the globe.  There are a few of them that I have seen several times over in different cities.  Through summer traveling and then again when the exhibit got to NYC.  Sometimes the same, sometimes just a bit different in how it was curated.

A few summers ago I met with a woman who was looking to create a moving art installation.  It was a very big idea and was skewed towards math and science.  Through many iterations it became something else but the concept always stuck in my mind.  Just like the Ashes and Snow exhibit that was a nomadic museum that made its way around the globe showing photography on rice paper of a journey that took place over a course of a year.  I saw it when it was NYC and the concept stuck with me.  Of course I was thinking about how much money they made based on the tickets, the merchandise that they sold, they brand extension etc. because I can’t help myself but it was unique and very cool.

When I saw that article in the NYX I was intrigued.  Art is essential to everyone.  Food trucks have essentially taken food on the road.  The explosion of the food trucks in urban areas changed the game when it comes to good food vs fast food.

When I was a kid in Ann Arbor Michigan, one night a week in the summer, the book truck would show up at the elementary school parking lot.  I went to school at Burns Park Elementary.  We’d go over there, like a library and return the books from the week before and then take out a few books for the next week.  Ann Arbor, although a college town, is not exactly the pinnacle of urban culture.

Food trucks, art trucks, clothing trucks, any trucks spreading culture is an interesting concept.  As our communities move towards urban environments taking trucks on the road to engage everyone is just a super cool concept.  We have become such a mobile world yet physically being able to experience culture is life changing.  I know that library truck was to me.

Comments (Archived):

  1. takingpitches

    The biweekly visit from the bookmobile in my elementary school parking lot is among my favorite memories. My first summer job was checking out books in the 5 corners public library in JC.

  2. awaldstein

    Depends on the culture of the place.In NYC public art is part of who we are and truck, I’m with you, will work. Other places, even cities I not so sure.Need to mention that my favorite truck is the rescue animal adoption trucks. An obsession and a big charity for me. Can’t walk by without a sizable donation.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Learning to enjoy and understand art is so important. The more exposure to art is an important part of the brain that needs to be tapped into.

      1. awaldstein

        Personally I couldn’t agree more.I started collecting very early as a product of NY in the 70s and spend a long time finding pieces from my heroes like Haring and Lichtenstein and photos from Margaret Bourke White that spoke to me love of the iconography of this city.

  3. Cecelia Feld

    The jingling bell at the curb of my apartment house in the Bronx (1940’s) meant the Bungalow Bar ice cream truck had arrived. Then came Good Humor. Treats!

    1. Gotham Gal

      loved the Good Humor man!!

  4. Brandon Burns

    How does one make money in a truck? At least with food trucks, from what I understand, you’re lucky to simply break even.It seems to me that the mobile restaurant / store / gallery / etc. works better as either a way to launch or test a product on a small scale, or to gain awareness for a product that extends beyond the trucks and drives people into stores. Unless I’m missing something…

    1. Gotham Gal

      I believe the first iteration of food truck made money. Now the rules and regulations has made it more difficult

      1. Brandon Burns

        The “rules and regulations” are a racket. It’s ridiculous what folks have to go through to get a permit for a food truck (or taxis, or alcohol, or pretty much anything else for that matter).It has nothing to do with regulating food for safety to protect the people, but more about greasing the hands of the greedy city hall establishment.I think the whole idea of a permit is silly. Passing a test to make sure you’re running a safe, competent operation: okay. But creating a fixed number of permits that get bartered on secondary markets for large sums of money is terrible.

        1. LE

          a) I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to prevent a race to the bottom in profitability from occurring by restricting supply in some cases. But not all. Depends.b) I pay a permit fee for my office (think it’s $75 per year) and that’s how they pay for the fire guy who shows up and makes sure things are somewhat safe. Totally reasonable.c) It does have to do with regulating food for safety and to protect people.d) Passing a test to make sure you’re running a safe operation is not the same as making sure that the operation is safe with the people operating it 8 months or 2 years later. Employees change. Not everyone gets or studies the memos. Actually nobody does. You need a stick. Inspections are a stick.e) The dentist in the office next door was complaining about all the inspections in NJ that he has to deal with. When I moved in I was concerned because his xray machine is right next to my office kitchen (other side of the wall). He specifically mentioned that they check that machine (or the insulation or something). So you know what? I’m glad they do that and I don’t have to rely on him (assumes they do a good job of course).f) Liquor license are totally needed. You want everyone to be able to sell liquor?g) Along the lines of “f” states set minimum cigarette prices. Because the fish will eat all the food you give them.Lastly:h) “what folks have to go through to get a permit” This is good. I like things that other people view as being “to much work” to me that’s opportunity. Anything easy ends up being something where all the profit dries up. Generally.

          1. Brandon Burns

            Regulation is definitely needed. But everyone knows that situation with municipal-level permits in most big cities is a total shit show.People are paying tens of thousands of dollars for secondary market food truck permits and MILLIONS OF DOLLARS for taxi permits in NYC.…There’s simply no excuse for that nonsense.

          2. LE

            So how would you propose to do this?Some kind of lottery and then a “and by the way you can’t sell it but have to use”?I don’t have a problem with what they are doing (from what I understand about it) which is separate from the fact that there are games that are for sure going on. If you have the $$ and are the high bidder you get the medallion even with the games.What happens if the government wants to buy 1,000,000 loaves of bread and puts that out for bid? The firm that is able to offer the lowest price is going to win. That firm will most likely be the most financially able. It could then sell it’s factory to another operator if it wants.Anyway how would you propose this should be done differently?By the way what are seats on the NYSE worth today:

          3. Brandon Burns

            I wouldn’t artificially control the supply of permits.Let’s take taxis, for instance. When there’s only one taxi company in NYC, you want to control permits because if there are too many taxis, none of the drivers in the system will make enough money due to too much dilution. But the problem is that fact that the taxi industry shouldn’t have been centralized to begin with! Hasn’t anyone in city hall heard of free market economics?!Let permits stand for an achieved level of operation competency of a business, not have them be an artificial control of supply and demand.

    2. LE

      Obligatory mention of local food truck: restaurant that owns this I don’t even go to. I walked in one day to get an everything bagel and the guy at the register handling money just grabbed the bagel with his grubby hands and gave it to me.

  5. pointsnfigures

    Knew a lot of guys that lost big money on the Bicentennial Train.