3standardstoppage breaks through the existing methodologies of art, design, and fashion and builds a bridge of dialogue between the United States and China
In 2016, three graduates of the San Francisco Art Institute decided to «break through the existing methodology on art, design and fashion», opening a multidisciplinary studio for artists, book publishers, fashion designers, and musicians.
Shisi Huang, Xiao Yong, and Nanxi Zhou took inspiration for the project from Marcel Duchamp’s piece in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. By dropping three meter-long threads from a height of one meter and preserving their form and length using varnish, Duchamp changed a one-meter unit of measure from a straight line to a curved one. For them, Duchamp’s oeuvre 3 Standard Stoppages represents the idea that all standards of measurements are «an intellectual construct, rather than an absolute».
To better explain the idea behind the studio, Shisi Huang underlines the importance of the San Francisco Art Institute as the place where it all started. Founded in 1871 and situated in a luxurious residential area of the Russian Hill, it is one of the oldest contemporary art schools in the United States with a long list of alumni with an impeccable reputation. Piercing this bubble has become possible for the founders with a lot of reflection and self-criticism.
Originally based in San Francisco, the studio now has two locations, Beijing and New York. The two spaces are still as different as the two cities hosting them.
The first, called Postpost, is located in one of the Beijing Hutongs, narrow historical streets considered a part of the Chinese cultural heritage. As Shisi Huang explains, «the name has many layers of meaning – post office, receiving a post, an Instagram post, defining post – 3standardstoppage 1.0 with a new location and functions». The bigger space, the Beijing studio, hard to find even with a GPS, has a coffee shop and exhibition space.
New York’s storefront, located in East Village, is smaller, with a variety of books, design objects scattered throughout, a coffee lab, and an art space utilized as an events and exhibitions area. The atmosphere here is welcoming and relaxed compared to the studio’s secret spot for a few in Beijing.
Customers reading books and magazines, debating about photography and art, and exchanging conversations about the pieces they have just tried have become a feature of both places. Huang reveals how the 3standardstoppage she co-founded is aiming to «create chemistry» and foster a creative exchange among visitors. Photographers, artists, art and design students, fashion lovers, and tourists passing by are free to intervene in the dialogue and express ideas, «making harmony out of chaos».
Satisfying customer’s needs is one of the objectives of the studio. Shisi Huang says in earnest: «In the beginning, we chose everything based on personal experiences. For art books and publishers, we selected from our readings. For fashion brands, mainly from mine and Nanxi’s personal preferences and buying experience. We loved clothes and bought a lot of items together during our school time. Over four years have passed since we founded this studio, and now we are more ‘mature’ in making choices and decisions».
What is in the pipeline for the studio? Staying independent in decision making despite any financial challenges connected with being located in cities such as New York and Beijing.
The Beijing store has recently opened a new reading room. Also, the studio curated a virtual event series and has several publishing projects coming up.
In a quest to find new artistic languages and synergies, last year Huang curated the Bungee Project, a subsidiary of 3standardstoppage – an experimental program that creates «a self-sustaining ecology system by taking on the role for further thinking, exploring and archiving the path of building variable intellectual constructs from the standard ruler». The project’s space on Canal St is functioning as a designer clothing boutique, art space and bookshop, showroom, and live music house.
With their projects and ideas, the founders of 3standardstoppage are walking down the path to «interdisciplinary community to support international creative intellectuals building a cultural bridge between the US and China».