Apartment tour: 2BR in Brooklyn Heights

A contrarian couple have turned their Brooklyn Heights pad into a museum-complete with wall text and guided tours.

  • "The external element to HoMu is very important---I take this collapsible booth...

  • "HoMu now has ironically become the most exclusive museum in New York by...

  • Meet Florence Coyote, director of public relations at HoMu. Says Noterdaeme of...

  • This is the $0 Collection. "It's basically junk, color coordinated to match...

  • "This is an original Le Corbusier chaise lounge, a very famous piece," says...

  • No detail is exempt. In the HoMu Pharmacy, located in the Curatorial Department...

  • The Goya Con Goya piece features prints from Goya submerged in Goya olive oil...

  • The Homeless Simulator is an interactive exhibit. "You know the expression, to...

  • "These are hair samples of artists or their direct descendants," says Isengart...

  • "It's a spoof on the Duchamp," says Noterdaeme of "Scented Candle Descending a...

  • "Since we couldn't afford to publish a book, we found these vintage linen bound...

  • "Walk into any normal cultural institution, chances are you're gonna stumble...

  • Marina Abramovic was reenacting one of her vintage performance pieces at the...

  • A leaky roof inspired this exhibit. Says Isengart, "It was raining and the...

  • "This is the MoMA cup, and we just stamp homu all over it," says Isengart. "And...

  • "Here is our flour arrangement," says Noterdaeme. "You can rearrange it any...

  • "This is an architectural model for a proposed museum that exists without any...

  • "Look at this, how sad is this!" exclaims Noterdaeme. "You have your Swiss over...

"The external element to HoMu is very important---I take this collapsible booth...

Seven years ago, conceptual artist Filip Noterdaeme and cabaret performer Daniel Isengart began making works for a project they called the Homeless Museum, located in their two-bedroom Brooklyn Heights apartment in the attic of a brownstone. The couple opened HoMu to invited guests in 2005, partly as a way of exploring the idea of actually living with art, and partly to thumb their noses at the pretensions of the art world. "We're a museum that questions the place and the role of art within our society, and how to an extent it's homeless," says Noterdaeme. The 800-square-foot rental is crammed with exhibits and artwork, and each area of the space fulfills a museum function: The kitchen is the caf; the bathroom is the curatorial department ("It's where we have to attend to serious business," Isengart grins); the bedroom, or Staff & Security Department, is monitored with closed-circuit security cameras; and so forth. Besides the exhibits, Noterdaeme and Isengart have a modernist aesthetic, mixing classic pieces (like a Le Corbusier chaise) with functional basics from hardware stores. Much of the artwork is developed from found objects. ("The yard sale, the Dumpster—there's a continuous exchange of trash in New York," says Noterdaeme. "For a European, you don't sell your shit on the street! Here, it's unabashed.") And though their landlord put the kibosh on public visits two years ago, the pair has continued to evolve the project. "We approach every aspect of mundane life as if it was an art project," says Noterdaeme. "This is not just two faggots decorating their apartment." For more info, visit homelessmuseum.org.

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Blick Art Materials (1--5 Bond St between Broadway and Lafayette St; 212-533-2444, dickblick.com)
Noterdaeme and Isengart have built most of their furnishings from scratch, and this is one of their favorite go-to supply stores.

Canal Plastics Center (345 Canal St between Greene and Wooster Sts; 212-925-1666, canalplasticscenter.com)
Some of HoMu's art installations require plastic or Plexiglas; this is where the couple goes to have it cut to size. The shop also sells sign holders, acrylic display cubes, deli cases and wall-mounted shelving.

Las Venus (163 Ludlow St between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 212-982-0608, lasvenus.com)
The couple rarely shops, but has found some unique items at this midcentury modern store. The furniture can be pricey, but we love it's selection of glass vases, animal statues, old-school TVs and vintage phones (you know, like with a dial and cord and everything).

Artemide (46 Greene St between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-925-1588, artemide.us)
"I abhor decor and only like things that are functional and simple," says Isengart. But the couple does own one whimsical piece—a white mushroom table lamp—which they sourced here. The shop specializes in decorative, architectural and Rezek lighting, including floor, ceiling and table lamps, as well as recessed and track options.

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