New York City artist Jojo Annafim is taking over the Meatpacking District this summer

Walk down Historic Washington Boulevard in New York City’s Meatpacking District, and prepare for a double-take. A new electric space with vibrant nostalgia panels, modern design and an unlimited dessert bar located in the shadow of The Standard Hotel. It is not a living room, it is the latest exhibition of the famous visual artist Jojo Annafim. The gallery, titled No Need to Buy, is a space unlike most New York art lovers or travel buffs who are used to it. Abandoning the existing gallery model, the space is relaxed, lively and welcoming.

Here’s an interview with Anavim about his raucous new show:

Why did you decide to set up an exhibition now?

Summer in the city is a bit unusual. Lots of locals out of town and there aren’t many art openings until fall. My friend Sarah who represents the owner reached out this spring and urged me on a potential summer collaboration. With its proximity to the Whitney Museum, The Highline, and all the great restaurants, it felt like the perfect setting and a great way to reach a larger international audience.

In a city with so many art galleries, and many of them near you, what is your different face?

The space is supposed to be opposite the Chelsea Art Gallery. The mood is relaxed, almost like a great room. While the artwork is for sale, the “no need to buy” theme has a double meaning as you can take a look around and enjoy the art without the unwelcome attitude some might use to navigate the gallery in the area. The alternate meaning of the show name is inspired by all the competitions you used to get into when you were a kid. They usually live on the back of cereal or ice cream boxes. The fine print always reads “No need to buy” and the artwork displays this magical optimism for the chance of a big win.

Tell us about the art on display.

The pieces are a reflection of my childhood and adolescence. They represent the brands you’ve known, seen, consumed, and loved. It radiates very positive energy and as one visitor said, “Why does everything have to be so serious?” No matter how much access one can have as an adult, I think it’s impossible to re-create the feeling of a Saturday morning bowl of cereal or a Shepwich on a hot summer’s day as a kid, so these paintings were my outlet for trying to re-visit those experiences.

Your art, in many ways, honors New York City. Is your gallery doing the same and how?

One could be forgiven if they walked into the fair and thought it was a grocery store or a grocery store (I’m kidding, of course). None of the businesses were directly based in New York City, but they certainly do dabble in the old Pepsi machines you used to see on the first train, or the claw and arcade machines that were so popular at nearby pizzerias for so long.

What about other amenities like drinks and food? How do they identify, and how do they relate to art?

Part of the show’s philosophy is to engage more than just your visual senses. There’s a free candy bar filled with favorites like M&M’s and Twizzlers, (no need to buy) and if you’re lucky and show up at happy hour we have an open bar compliments to my friends at Laneta Tequila which is amazing. It makes for a really fun summer vibe.

Will you be hosting other events and activities? Tell us about those.

We’ve hosted several special events, most recently for Lazzoni who also furnished the space beautifully. I also hosted an NBA player’s birthday party last night, and we’ve got some other special events going through August.

How is this gallery different from the standard art gallery model?

The way it all came together was really a coincidence. The RFR company that owns the building is a huge supporter of the arts and has a long history in New York City. When they reached out to Mona Retail about the collaboration, there was no thought. The space is much more than just a traditional gallery. It’s a place to relax for our friends and family, watch current collectors and meet new collectors. There’s nothing annoying about it – it has such a casual vibe that anyone who enters it feels right at home.

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