A pop-up charity shop in a luxury department store melds art, commerce and justice
Much like the ‘thrift stores’ of the US, ‘charity shops’ in the UK are often run by faith-affiliated nonprofits, and sell mostly secondhand goods, but they tend to be smaller and dedicated to a single cause. In 2017, the US director Miranda July devised a plan for a unique experiment at the intersection of art, identity and commerce, which was inspired by her love of London’s charity shops, as well as her sense of injustice at the discriminatory scrutiny faced by the charity Islamic Relief over its shops’ funds. Partnering with Jewish, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim charity shops in London, as well as the public art organisation Artangel, she led the opening of an interfaith ‘pop-up’ at Selfridges, the luxury department store in Oxford Street. This charming short chronicles the inception, life and closing of the project, including how it developed into a living work of crosscultural art during its six-week lifespan.