"Office Party" at Participant Rental temp space

Lovett/Codagnone All Work No Play 2007 vinyl lettering and mirror [installation view with detail reflection of two bloggers]

Barry and I were both very happy to be able to get to a Participant show this summer, since the gallery had to abandon its previous home on Rivington Street earlier this year. "Office Party" was the title of the gallery's very cool installation in its temporary quarters at Rental [check the link for press on the gallery itself and the press release for "Office Party"]. The show closed August 19, but we're hoping to hear soon about the new permanent address of this vital Downtown non-profit space.

The artists represented this summer, all addressing the idea of work or workplace, were Eric Heist, Lovett/Codagnone. DIana Punter, and Børre Sæthre. In the project room there were additional pieces on the theme by Stephen Andrews, Matthew Antezzo, Michel Auder, Lutz Bacher, Robert Boyd, Kathe Burkhart, Robin Graubard, Michael Lazarus, Virgil Marti, Laura Parnes, Luther Price, Adam Putnam, and Shellburne Thurber.

The gallery concept represented by Rental, now in both Los Angeles and New York, is an interesting and one welcome on both coasts. It helps to answer a genuine need for broadcasting the work of emerging artists in new milieaux, one which is almost never addressed otherwise.

This is Roberta Smith writing in the NYTimes May 25:

Rental, the latest addition to the expanding Lower East Side gallery scene, is the first one to have the light and views -- if not the interior design -- of a Chelsea space, thanks to its location on the sixth floor of a corner building with big windows. But that is not its distinguishing characteristic: true to its name, and like its predecessor in Los Angeles, Rental is for rent to selected out-of-town dealers. The first Rental was founded in 2005 by Daniel Hug and Joel Mesler; the New York version has been set up by Mr. Mesler.

This could unsettle the gallery scene's home-away balance of power in interesting ways. Dealers who give artists their first shows elsewhere will not necessarily have to hand them over to New York galleries to obtain exposure here. They can do the work, walk the walk and talk the spiel themselves.