DLK on Summer group shows


General Photography

DLK Collection offers some thought provoking commentary on summer group shows: “Like kudzu covering every inch of the roadside, the summer group show is an invasive species, crowding out all other offerings, creating a monoculture of culture. The formula is simple: gather together a handful of artists already represented by the gallery, select 4 or 5 works each, and hang them in groups in the gallery space, covered by a catchy summer related title. Think of it as the pu pu platter of Americanized Chinese food: a thrown together sampler of otherwise unrelated items.”

The way out: “I think the solution here is relatively straight forward. Rather than make better summer group shows (and to be fair, there are always a few well curated, thematic shows that have interesting connections and juxtapositions, rather than just a random grab bag of work), we need to abandon this crutch and go back to real thought-provoking shows. Given the fact that the traffic and sales are somewhat lower during this period, I think the summer slot should be dedicated to first time solo shows by emerging artists, who have yet to earn a better spot on the calendar. An abundance of photographers would love to have a solo show at a gallery of substance any time of the year, even in the summer. Just think if the galleries were filled with fresh edgy work each summer; it would be like a meadow of wildflowers, rather than the weed strewn vacant lot that it is today.”

If you think this is a bad idea, here’s something to be aware of: “A recent article by Charlie Finch […] posits that it will be collectors that will need to lead the art world out of the recession. My answer as a collector is that this is almost certainly true; we as buyers need to grease the wheels of the system by prudently getting back in the game and supporting the galleries and artists that we care about. But my challenge to the gallerists out there is as follows: your summer group shows are driving real collectors away.”