Collective Hardware used to run a pop-up co-opt from a former hardware store on 169 Bowery. They opened their space to artists, monster-costume makers, fashion boutiques, not-for-profits and not-making-profits. Even the roof of the five-story space was communal, housing a large garden with beautiful vegetables.
“I can give an unknown artist an opportunity to show in a place that consistently attracts tastemakers and patrons of the arts,” co-founder Stuart Braunstein told the New York Post last year. While Braunstein and Ricky Rivellini were doing their best to riff off Andy Warhol’s Factory, they apparently weren’t paying the bills on the five-story building. So last May, city marshals came through and affixed a common piece of hardware to Collective’s façade: a padlock.
The landlord had a weak reason and a strong reason to shut down Collective Hardware. The weak reason was 169 Bowery was “unlawfully” “throwing” “parties” at their space. The strong one was that Collective owed $1 million in rent. After a last-ditch attempt to raise money – artists building a money-raising infrastructure, hahaha – 169 shut down.
Here’s a look at Collective Hardware’s good times in an exclusive video by LaRon Batchelor, founder of My Small Story. Batchelor visited the space in 2007 and interviews small businesses all over the world. Check out his site after the vid for more stories.