Hip and High-Profile International Dealers Will Descend on Prague to Participate in a New Gallery Share Program
After two successful runs in Warsaw, the Condo-like initiative Friend of a Friend is expanding to Prague.
The gallery share model is expanding to a new city: Prague.
After two successful runs in Warsaw, the program known as Friend of a Friend is launching in the Czech capital. It is just one more sign of how these collaborative arrangements—which started with Condo in New York and London, followed by proyectosLA in Los Angeles, Okey Dokey in Cologne, and Various Others in Munich—are increasingly becoming a popular option for galleries seeking to increase visibility for their artists without the high cost or high stakes of a full-fledged art fair.
The inaugural Prague edition will include 22 galleries, with shows opening this weekend and running through October 8. Participants include frequent guests on the gallery share circuit like Kosovo’s hip dealership Lambdalambdalambda and forward-thinking Polish outfit Galeria Stereo, as well as a few surprising names, such as the high-profile international Galleria Continua, a regular at megawatt fairs like Art Basel Miami Beach, and the Wellcome Collection, a museum in central London. Galleries hosting the visiting dealers include stone projects, SVIT and Zahorian & Van Espen.
Organizers of FOAF, who include Ewa Borysiewicz, Zuzanna Hadryś, Piotr Drewko, and Michał Lasota, originally developed the idea after they asked to join the Condo franchise, but were turned down because Condo has a one-per-continent rule. Unlike Condo, FOAF and other regional gallery shares aim to generate heat in areas far from art-market hubs like New York, London, and Shanghai.
Even after they developed FOAF in Warsaw, however, the group did not anticipate they would franchise the program. “Our main goal is to provide an international context for the gallery scene in Warsaw, build new networks, and allow foreign guests—gallerists, collectors, curators, and journalists—to get to know the art scene of Poland’s capital,” they told artnet News in a statement.
However, their plans changed when Michael Manek, the founder and owner of participating Prague gallery SVIT, became interested in organizing a local version of FOAF after witnessing its warm reception in Warsaw. The model has proven to be “a useful format for building new networks and exchanging ideas between contemporary art galleries,” the founders said. “Since it’s simple, it can be easily applied to other scenes and cities.”
Moving forward, the founders don’t feel the need to limit themselves to Eastern Europe. The Warsaw editions have included galleries from Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, and London, they note, and they are open to bringing it to other cities further afield in the future.
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