Bringing a New Model to an Ancient City, Condo’s Compact Gallery-Share Initiative ‘Condo Unit’ Is Headed to Athens

After a successful venture in São Paolo, the single-venue collaborative exhibition has chosen the Greek capital for its second edition.

In Search of Happiness by Arbit City. (2018) at The Breeder. Courtesy The Breeder, Athens.

As the art world continues to grumble on about big-box art fairs, the alternative gallery-share format continues its mitosis worldwide. As further art scenes grow hungrier for cost-effective ways to connect to institutions and collectors, the decentralized exhibition platform Condo has steadily expanded. Just this year, the initiative has debuted in Mexico City and Shanghai. Meanwhile a compacted version, cutely named Condo Unit, was inaugurated in São Paulo this spring. Next, the smaller format is coming to another dynamic and yet unlikely art location: Athens.

Opening on October 25 and on view until November 24, Condo Unit will align to the day with the opening of the 6th Athens Biennale, which is centered around the dissident concept “Anti” this year.

Earlier this year, Jaqueline Martins Gallery hosted six galleries in its São Paulo space—the Brazilian city being the right fit to debut a pared down version of the platform, where galleries can have more intimate and direct encounters with local collections or institutional contacts. Why now take that model to Athens? Condo founder Vanessa Carlos and George Vamvakidis, owner and director of Athens’s the Breeder gallery, are old friends, so the city—still recovering from austerity measures and a deep economic crisis, but with a vibrant and storied art scene—felt like a natural follow-up location for a second edition.

“Athens has been reborn after the massive crisis it went through over the last 10 years and following the momentum of the documenta last year,” Vamvakidis tells artnet News. “There is also a very active young generation of collectors who mostly come from traditional Greek shipping families and have the background, the education, and the means to collect high-quality emerging art that we felt will appreciate this initiative in their city.”

The Breeder will now be hosting seven galleries in the Greek capital: König Galerie and Galerie Barbara Thumm from Berlin, Art:Concept from Paris, Raster from Warsaw, Condo founder Vanessa Carlos’s London gallery Carlos/Ishikawa, Dastan’s Basement from Tehran, and Grey Noise from Dubai.

“Athens has a small but really interesting art community, so a Condo Unit made sense,” Condo founder Carlos tells artnet News. “The Condo Unit format works really well in those situations because we’re able to organize intimate events where the visiting galleries can spend time and get to know curators and collectors. The smaller groups of seven or eight galleries in Condo Units allows for these really direct and quality introductions to an art community in a different city.”

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