Gallery  July 21, 2018  Nicole Restaino

Collaborative Condo Takes Over New York Galleries in July

Condo Complex

Installation view, Georgia Dickie and Shawn Kuruneru at Rachel Uffner Gallery

On June 29, the collaborative project Condo, which invites galleries to stage exhibitions outside their home city, opened its second New York iteration. Founded in London in 2016, Condo has since expanded to host cities across the world, including Mexico City, Shanghai, and São Paulo. This year’s New York roster of 47 galleries across 21 spaces is similarly international, engaging participants from Cairo to Dubai to Auckland with particularly robust domestic and Western European representation. The project sprawls across the city, at downtown and uptown galleries, with a smattering of locations in Chelsea. 

Condo’s content is as diverse and disparate as its sites. Programming does not cohere around a theme or medium, and participants choose whether to stage collaboratively curated exhibitions or host home gallery/visiting gallery projects side-by-side in a divided space. Overall, this approach benefits the project. It allows both home and visiting institutions to articulate their curatorial voice and imparts a welcome diversity.

Condo Complex

Shawn Kuruneru, Untitled (black dots with transparent shapes), 2017, ink and acrylic on canvas

The tripartite exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery demonstrates this point particularly well. In Uffner’s upstairs galleries, Cooper Cole of Toronto and Night Gallery of Los Angeles collaborate on a striking group show that pairs painter Shawn Kuruneru with sculptor Georgia Dickie. Kuruneru's large, black-and-white canvases serve as wall-hung backdrops to Georgia Dickie’s colorful, raw, and hauntingly unfinished sculptures suspended from the ceiling, among other works. The unplugged, tangled-up, stretched and snaked cords at the bottom of Dickie’s pieces render the utilitarian as useless, matching the choas of Kuruneru's canvasses.

Condo Complex

Georgia Dickie, BFFs, 2018, extension cords, rope, inflatable rubber donut, wireless intercom set, place cards with found objects, cable ties

Downstairs, the Uffner-curated group show, tears then holes, is a visual contrast. Here, two-dimensional work neatly and evenly lines the gallery wall, bereft of the tensions and textures on view upstairs. tears then holes does, however, stage a diverse and cogent declaration on contemporary painting, drawing, and 2D practices; it is nuanced yet coherent as a gallery group show should be. Uffner’s staging of three contrasting yet complementary curatorial voices pools resources and courts the unexpected, two of Condo’s explicit and stated goals.  

At the same time, not all the exhibitions in Condo are particularly indicative of the project’s objectives. Some appear as standard gallery shows, hardly demonstrative of Condo’s goal of supporting experimentation and new approaches. And, while the locational breadth of participating spaces is conceptually important to the project, it can be a practical hurdle—rendering it nearly impossible to see the entirety of Condo, New York. Furthermore, many New York galleries have settled into summer hours, closing on weekends almost immediately after Condo’s launch, creating a mixed message for a project encouraging generosity, diversity, and community. Despite these minor concerns, Condo, New York, is both an impressive feat of practical organization and a delight for art-fatigued New Yorkers eager to encounter new artists, galleries, and curators.

About the Author

Nicole Restaino

Nicole Restaino is an arts administrator, project manager, and programs and performance curator. She's trained in Art History and Public Humanities, and has a deep interest in the interpretation, circulation, display, trade and curation of art and cultural production.