The checklist group show: Olivier Babin, the owner of Clearing gallery in New York and Brussels, cited another practical reason for having an exhibition in the summer: There is still rent to be paid on his Bushwick and Upper East Side spaces in July and August. This year, he put on a show in which every living artist in Clearing’s roster is represented, to give locals and visitors from out of town a full look at the gallery program.
Babin noted that in Europe, where summer vacation is taken very seriously, it is customary to close the gallery for a month or so around August. The cheaper rent of a city like Brussels also means the gallery can afford to make its budget even if they’re closed for a chunk of the year.
“There are plenty of spaces elsewhere that can say, ‘Oh, rent is cheap, I might as well close the gallery and say ‘fuck it’ and go on vacation or something,’” Babin said. “In New York that’s not really an option for people. Most galleries do not close for a month.”
The esoteric themed show: Clearing simply showed work from all the living artists on its roster, but other outfits hone in on a very specific theme. At Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
in Chelsea, there’s a group show named “Pine Barrens,” a reference to a forest-heavy area in New Jersey that’s apparently home to the Jersey Devil—the local legend, not a member of the area professional hockey team
—and at Andrew Kreps
there’s “After Hours in a California Art Studio,” a show that investigates the culture of the artist’s studio. But the most esoteric focus for a group show up this summer must be the 1968 Peter Sellers screwball comedy called The Party
, which inspired a show of the same name at Anton Kern Gallery
, curated by Ali Subotnick.