We’ve professed our love for repurposed bookstores and libraries, and we frequently find ourselves in awe of what people do inside abandoned buildings. How are art galleries making use of these unique spaces? Head past the break to see how creative gurus have reclaimed subway cars, crypts, old nightclubs, and more to display incredible works of art. Many of these repurposed art galleries have incorporated shades the structure’s former life, and others have invented something entirely new. Click through for more great art galleries.
Street Art Museum
The abandoned ruins of Torino, Italy’s former zoo (Parco Michelotti) were given a facelift as part of an urban renewal effort known as the Border Land project. The location has been transformed into a cultural hotspot dubbed the Street Art Museum in hopes of raising awareness about the neglected space, to promote local street artists, and to improve the aesthetics of the crumbling site. The above video shows how various building facades have been covered in eye-popping murals — some which reference the animals that once called the forgotten area home. Visit the official website for more photos.
Riviera Seaside Art Gallery
An abandoned 1950’s/1960’s nightclub on Israel’s Mediterranean Sea coast has been repurposed as a seaside art gallery and artist colony. The facade has been opened up by architects to allow sand to seep inside the structure — a dreamy, casual addition to the on-site artworks that span the walls and exterior building. Several creations hang on movable panels to allow for flexibility. The openness of the space provides immediacy, inviting people on the beach to enter the space (yes, even in their bathing suits).
This Seattle phone booth is home to over 206 local artists and acts as a moveable exhibition space across the Washington city. Multiple Plexiglas windowpanes in the repurposed phone booth have been replaced with original art, while the overhead lighting panel houses an installation (solar powered). The phone plays music when the receiver is lifted (Dave Abramson’s “Sidney Abramjits), and a phonebook acts as a directory containing the work of all 206 artists.
The Crypt Gallery
The crypt of London’s St. Pancras Parish Church has been resurrected as an art gallery, alongside 557 gravesites. Founded in the early 19th century, the crypt closed in 1854 after the city banned burials in churches. It later became a canteen during the Second World War and an air raid shelter during the London Blitz. Now, its underground tunnels and archways are shared with contemporary artists looking for an atmospheric, historical locale to display their finest.
The Underbelly Project
This underground art gallery project originated in a network of abandoned subway tunnels below the Brooklyn streets. It was an 18-month-long installation process done by cover of night, bringing together street artists and a videographer who captured the murals, graffiti works, and installations. Since then, the project has spread across the globe, including the Paris Metro. Most people will never set eyes on the secret gallery, but we’re certainly happy it’s there.
Art on Track
Art on Track is the largest mobile, on-going art exhibition in the world, having transformed a six-car CTA train into an alternative gallery space. A look through the organization’s Flickr feed and website reveals a number of elaborate installations that quickly make you forget you’re standing inside a speeding hunk of metal.
The Grindbakken pits in Ghent, Belgium have been turned into an ultra contemporary gallery that incorporated traces of the city’s industrial past in its design. The abandoned pits were used to transfer sand and gravel between ships and lorries, but the dockside space was cleared, cleaned, and redesigned for exhibitions and events. Architects made use of the existing grit, leaving building fragments intact and graffiti-covered walls.
Tremont Underground Theater Space
There’s exciting potential in this “digital art gallery” and cultural space:
“The TUTS is dedicated to transforming Boston’s long-abandoned Tremont Street subway tunnel into the United States’ first-ever underground, experimental theater and arts environment. The new space will engage the public and become a must-see destination for theatergoers, culture vultures, visitors, design mavens, subway enthusiasts, history buffs, and urban explorers of all ages.”
We can’t find proof that the project has been completed yet, but if any Boston residents out there have been keeping tabs on it, please fill us in, below. You can learn more about Sapir Ng and Andrzej Zarzycki’s vision in this TEDxBoston talk.
Casula Powerhouse Regional Arts Centre
A derelict power station in Australia doesn’t sound like a place fit for beautiful works of art, but the space was transformed into a stunning gallery and arts center, with a 350-seat theater. Designers preserved the heritage of the building by leaving the coal hoppers and steel access system in place. The result is a stunning, contemporary arts haven enhanced by its industrial origins.
First a department store, then a Nazi prison, the Tacheles (Yiddish for “straight talking”) was reclaimed by an arts collective. They took over the interior and exterior with colorful murals, graffiti art, and whimsical sculptures. After being threatened with eviction through the years, the group of nearly 100 artists finally abandoned ship after the authorities shut it down. The future of the site seems unknown, but the collective started an online venture to keep the spirit alive.