The Summer Group Art Show: Turning the Art Gallery World Upside Down

Design Features Visual Arts
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The Summer Group Art Show: Turning the Art Gallery World Upside Down

Art galleries often appear to be icy white cubes that encourage a competitive nature amongst artists, a cut throat attitude towards co-workers and a generally passive-aggressive attitude towards those dubbed outsiders. These portrayals may or may not be true but what is indeed true is that during the sweltering months of July and August, most galleries resort to the group show, a hallmark sign of summer time. Group art shows are the art world’s answer to team sports and summer camps as they encourage galleries to become temporary playgrounds for up and coming curators and yet to be discovered artists.

A group show is an art exhibition that is made up of several artists—ranging from three to upwards of twenty—and takes place in the summer when most high end art collectors are “out east”, sailing in a yacht in the Mediterranean or sipping wine on the cape. These shows keep the galleries programs going through these less busy summer months but are rather low-key during this seasonal time where the stakes are slightly lower. At times these group shows elicit similar feelings that a group project may have brought you at school, it requires more work for the galleries and curators to wrangle art from various artists and to make sure the show is still visually cohesive. But on the positive side, group shows provide a fertile breeding ground for new artists to showcase their work. These shows offer a fresh breath of air, some raw-ness and a relaxed attitude. It can launch the careers of artists and curators by letting them bring their talents to an already establsihed, professional space. Group shows tend to offer a more welcoming scene where those new to buying art can feel at home. Some galleries hit a home run with these summer shows, selling out art and proving themselves to be capable of innovative programing.

These art shows are kind of like a box of … DMs on Instagram, you never know what you are going to get. Going to group art shows during the summer becomes a cultural adventure were you encounter anything form a sweaty room that smells like the morning hours of a dance party or a grandiose freezing elegant room. Anything from high-end art delicately resting in traditional frames to nude performers standing on haphazardly painted colorful sculptures. The beauty here comes in the discovery of the show its self, the great team spirit that is felt when several people come together for a wonderful cause that is near and dear to their hears.

If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few of our favorite summer shows to catch.

“Tomorrow Tomorrow” at CANADA in the Lower East Side revolves around art that deals with ”... physical abstraction, changeability, and working with materials to shape space with emotional purpose.” Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the artists are part of a highly collaborative artistic community with a history of migration, mysticism, indigenous strength, and literary soul-searching.

“Eternal Youth” at MCA is a Chicago-based exhibition is actually takes part in a museum but captures 90s era culture that took place in the art world at that time.

An LA gallery has an interesting quirky show up this summer that features faces in paintings and ceramics.

Hal Broom in NYC has a large group art show currently on view.

Another west coast pick, Fabien Catanier Gallery, features artists from ”...the L.A. art scene—a unique presentation of today’s cutting edge image-makers”