Petrella’s Imports


Last Sunday opens Petrella’s Imports a news­stand ini­ti­ated by artists Anne Libby, Elise McMa­hon and Soph­ie Stone provid­ing a fine selec­tion of zines and news­pa­pers as well as post­cards, pre­pack­aged food, umbrel­las and cigar­ettes. Until June 14th, 2013 Petrella’s Imports can be found at Bowery and Canal Street in New York…


In the last ten years the New York City news­stand has exper­i­enced a massive trans­form­a­tion, under­taken with rel­at­ive ease. The move extends from a muni­cip­al belief that older news­stands cluttered the city streets and were incon­gru­ous with a tour­ist cul­ture in need of rein­vig­or­a­tion. The con­tem­por­ary solu­tion is a more uni­form glass and steel con­struc­tion built by a single con­tract­or, in a single style. It has now gradu­ally replaced those oper­ated by sole pro­pri­et­ors, whose unique stands often reflec­ted a heightened level of indi­vidu­al taste and char­ac­ter.

One of New York City’s old­est and most cel­eb­rated news­stands was known as ‘Petrella’s Point’. It was loc­ated at the inter­sec­tion of Bowery and Canal. Owned and oper­ated by Adam Pet­rella, for 30 years, its brash red exter­i­or coat­ing and hand painted dir­ec­tions to nearby sub­ways and neigh­bor­hoods were well known to those famil­i­ar with the area. As a per­son­al­ity, Mr Pet­rella was a neigh­bor­hood fix­ture, con­vers­ing with pat­rons and often hand­ing out his own draw­ings of Mar­ilyn Mon­roe and Bruce Lee to pass­ersby. In 2004, ‘Petrella’s Point’ was removed and replaced by a stand of the new­er design.

On this ori­gin­al site, Petrella’s Imports (2013) is con­ceived as a hybrid recon­sti­t­u­tion at a time when the ori­gin­ary pur­pose of the news­stand as ›source of inform­a­tion‹ wanes. Petrella’s Imports aims to both reima­gine the offer­ings of these nodes of dis­tri­bu­tion, provid­ing a dif­fer­ent solu­tion to their utile prob­lem. An ini­ti­at­ive by artists Anne Libby, Elise McMa­hon and Soph­ie Stone, Petrella’s Imports works with a large num­ber of cre­at­ive col­lab­or­at­ors in order to assemble a sur­rog­ate invent­ory of items (zines and news­pa­pers as well as post­cards, pre­pack­aged food, umbrel­las and cigar­ettes) found typ­ic­ally at com­mer­cial news­stands.”
 — Petrella’s Imports

Petrella’s Imports
at Bowery and Canal St.
New York

April 14th to June 14th, 2013