No Burgers for Sale
Cover Story, July 2018
In 1983, a Burger King opened on New York’s Governors Island, then a U.S. Coast Guard base. It was the first franchise to serve beer. After scoffing a Whopper combo, officers and enlisted men could enjoy a round of golf, play bingo, go to the movies, or throw balls at the adjacent bowling alley. In 1999, this Burger King featured in issue 615 of ‘The Amazing Spider-man’. After almost two centuries operating as a federal or military facility, the Island was vacated in 1996, and the Burger King shut up shop. The remnants were photographed in 2003 by Andrew Moore and Lisa Kereszi.
In summer 2009, No Soul for Sale – A Festival of Independents brought together more than thirty non-profit centres, collectives and independent institutions from all over the world to the X Initiative headquarters on 548 West 22nd Street – the Chelsea HQ of Dia Art Foundation from 1987 to 2004. At the invitation of the organisers to use the allocated 25m2 given to each of the organisations, Latitudes reached out to New York-based artist group The Bruce High Quality Foundation. The idea was to be ‘out of the office’, but in a surrogate one. The ‘Bruces’ had discovered the Governors Island Burger King in ruins while scouting locations for their zombie movie Isle of the Dead – a commission they were making at the time for Creative Time.
So it came to pass that for five days in June 2009, Latitudes’ daily operations were temporarily transferred to the skeleton of this unique fast-food time capsule. The booths served as a meeting point (plus the festival had nowhere else to sit) and the formica tables and fried-chicken displays, places to chew over publications, and ‘reheat’ documentation and other residues from Latitudes’ projects since 2005. It was also an opportunity to present Portscapes, the project Latitudes was working on at the time in the Port of Rotterdam, and to premiere 6 Hours Tide Object with Correction of Perspective (1969/2009) by Dutch artist Jan Dibbets, its inaugural project.
A year later, a second edition of No Soul for Sale took place to commemorate Tate Modern’s 10th anniversary. Given this new challenge to travel to London, Catalan artist Martí Anson became Latitudes’s chauffeur, driving us to London and back. But that’s another story!