BEST DEMOLITION (1998)
There was, admittedly, a kind of eat-the-rich glee among the small crowd that gathered to watch the Conservatory implode just before 7 a.m. on March 16. Ka-boom went the marble halls that had been home to Mark Shale, the Sharper Image, the Nature Company; kablooie went the conspicuous-consumption dreamland that promised, "Not What You Need--What You Want." (Leave it to Minneapolis to jump a bandwagon just as it's about to derail: The Conservatory's grand opening 11 years ago came just two weeks after the 1987 stock market crash.) Schadenfreude aside, we are sorry to see all that Italian marble go, not to mention the indoor waterfall. Which is all the more reason to cheer developer Ryan Companies' efforts to salvage some of the Conservatory's entrails for a tiny, inexperienced nonprofit with a big development project in the works. No Name Exhibitions will use Conservatory marble, Conservatory fire doors, and Conservatory lights as it renovates a riverfront industrial building into a "public arts center for emerging artists." Check out the results at the Soap Factory, 110 Fifth Avenue SE; for a schedule of exhibitions call 623-9176.