City limits: Bortolami Gallery’s ’Artist/City’ upends the traditional exhibition model

City limits: Bortolami Gallery’s ’Artist/City’ upends the traditional exhibition model

New York’s Bortolami Gallery is well on its way to disrupting the traditional five-week exhibition model. Since the end of last year, the gallery has been pairing different artists with a city to stage work over the course of a year. The experimental platform, called ‘Artist/City’, presents work in two phases and thus charts a creative evolution of each artist, while also giving visitors reason to return during the time.

Bortolami unveiled its first pairing with a bang – Daniel Buren in Miami, opening during Art Basel last year. Comprising a series of new works in which Buren uses striped linen fabric to mimic his painted linear pieces, the exhibition is installed at The M Building, a former 1950s manufacturing warehouse restored by architect Chad Oppenheim, in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood district.

The exhibition’s second phase saw Buren install five colourful porticos throughout the gallery space, a site-specific piece entitled Passage aller-retour. The installation toys with the viewer’s idea of space, while also considering the stripe as a different visual tool that Buren uses to explore the notion of art.

In May, the gallery unveiled its second union: the Los Angeles-based artist Eric Wesley in St Louis. Wesley has pitched up within an empty Taco Bell restaurant and filled it with five new tondo paintings that greatly resemble an open burrito. Employing a variety of painting techniques, Wesley depicts different ingredients on each of the wood panels in abstract fashion.

Wesley’s year-long intervention includes several projects, such as casting a bronze bell for the Spanish Colonial structure, planting a vegetable patch for the grounds and creating a series of abstract sculptures that respond to the local Pizza Hut, located across the road.

With future collaborations including Barbara Kasten in Chicago and Nicolás Guagnini in San Francisco, ’Artist/City’ presents a new chance to get to know these artists a whole lot better.

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