Germany Is Crazy for Condo: Munich Will Host the Country’s Second Gallery Share in Less Than a Year
With the new gallery share initiative Various Others, a gang of Munich gallerists hopes the Condo format will foster a whole new era of cooperation.
Munich will be the latest petri dish for Condo, the gallery share format that continues its mitosis worldwide. The recently announced initiative, Various Others, is set to launch this September with a slew of joint openings across the German city. The project is the brainchild of a group of preeminent Munich galleries that are determined to bring attention to their artists, project spaces, galleries, and a powerhouse roster of institutions and museums.
This is the second Condo initiative to pop up in Germany in less than a year after Okey Dokey launched with significant acclaim in Cologne last fall. It also comes on the heels of Friend of a Friend, another gallery share that launched in April in Warsaw. As with previous gallery shares inspired by Condo, Munich galleries and project spaces will host their international partners (who have yet to be announced) to work together on a collaborative exhibition project. In tandem, some of Munich’s best museums, like Espace Louis Vuitton, will be launching various thematic programs that also host international guests, in the form of artist discussions or lecture presentations.
The founding gallerists behind Various Others officially formed an association last summer with the goal of uplifting the Munich scene. Calling themselves “Promotion of Munich’s External Perception as a Cultural Location,” the group is wielding its collaborative power to bring awareness to their art-market region and to find new strategies for exchange between galleries, institutions, and curatorial projects.
“Despite a dozen galleries operating successfully on the international stage, a top-quality museum landscape, a world-famous art academy, numerous acclaimed artists working in the city, and extensive promotional funding for art, Munich’s external impact leaves much to be desired,” the association’s official statement says.
The association began with a launch event called SMS (Shit Must Stop) that featured a first-ever performance by the esteemed German artist Gregor Hildebrandt. Up next will be Various Others, which the association plans to mount every year. But it’s not just about producing events. The group is doing background work, too, like recently meeting with the city of Munich to discuss more effective ways of supporting the younger generation of artists and galleries.
One of the co-founders is a young gallerist himself. Johannes Sperling opened his gallery SPERLING in Munich three years ago. “From the beginning, Munich galleries have always been really close and collaborative,” he tells artnet News. “Not a lot of people come to Munich, so it becomes really important for us to be visible outside of the city. It’s a very different situation when you’re based in a city like Berlin.”
Sperling also participated in Not Fair in Warsaw last fall, a gallery-focused group exhibition that was founded by Michal Wolinski of Polish Piktogram Gallery. Sperling says the decision to go was an easy one, due to the substantially lower costs associated with going as compared to the fees of traditional art fairs. As a result of the network he made there, Sperling will also be hosting Piktogram at Various Others, he told artnet News. The official list of invited guests is expected to be announced in June.
Sperling sees the wave of new gallery shares as an important addition to the market for young galleries, and he hopes that the format will eventually force art fairs to reconsider their current formats. “The main problem [at the fairs] is that the young galleries often have lower prices for artworks, but the booths cost the same,” he says. “I basically have to sell out the whole booth just to cover my expenses.”
While the Condo format has not yet proven to be profitable, it certainly has garnered attention. It seems that, by working together, gallerists are confident they can raise visibility and bring collectors to their cities.
“The generation before us more or less fought against each other, but our generation is working together,” Sperling says. “We’re stronger together.”
Various Others will open on September 14. See the participating galleries and institutions below.
Espace Louis Vuitton München
Barbara Gross! Galerie
Jahn und Jahn
Galerie Sabine Knust
Städtische Galerie am Lenbachhaus
Galerie Christine Mayer
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle
Galerie Jo van de Loo
Museum Villa Stuck
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