Almost a year after it closed, the Art Gallery of Knoxville made a small appearance on The New York Times’ website last week. A Sept. 11 article about the ways contemporary artists are incorporating—and commenting on—technology and computers in their work mentioned the Danish art collective Superflux. The accompanying slide show included a photo of the former North Gay Street gallery with the word “COPYSHOP” emblazoned in bright red capital letters across the front.
From late 2007 until its closing in November 2008, the gallery cooperated with Superflux’s Copyshop project, which turned the gallery into a sort of conceptual retail outlet for products like Stars & Bucks coffee and No Sweat sneakers that challenge traditional notions of copyright and intellectual property.
The large “COPYSHOP” painted on the front of the building in late 2007 created some minor controversy. The city’s building codes department initially objected to the sign, which had been put up without prior approval from the city or its Downtown Design Review Board. After consultation with the gallery owners, however, the city decided the temporary nature of the sign, as part of an art installation, did not require city approval.