Armory Week 2012

Wanna Buy a Gallery? D.O.R. Is a Steal at the Nordic Pavilion

armory focus nordic countriesgallery dor Wanna Buy a Gallery? D.O.R. Is a Steal at the Nordic Pavilion

The wall of contracts. (Photo courtesy of Artterritory.com)

One of the weirder booths in the Armory Show’s Nordic pavilion—no small distinction, trust us—has to be Gallery D.O.R, which is out of Brussels, though originally founded in Oslo. As we approached it yesterday afternoon, gallery worker Sverre Gullesen was explaining to a short woman with frizzy grey hair why one work by Marte Johnslien was on offer for zero dollars.

The work is a negative space sculpture, of sorts, a tribute to Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column that essentially recreates the highest and lowest elements, in concrete, on your ceiling and floor, should your application be selected.

“So she’ll just come to my house and make it for free?” said the short woman. “But, why?”

Mr. Gullesen, in a sharp black suit, seemed just as confused at her confusion. “To be generous?” he said.

D.O.R is also a “neo-relational” collective, according to their website, and while they are selling works at the Armory Show, whose prices range from free to $10,000, they’ve chosen to go about it in a curious way. All of their artists have negotiated contracts whereby their works may be destroyed or recreated by the gallery, following rigorous legal instructions. Their contracts, all very thick, hang on brown clipboards at the far right of the gallery, and are a critique of the gallery model at large.

“And just as we’ve tried to make things difficult for the artists,” Mr. Gullesen told The Observer, “they try to make things difficult for us. Here we have a piece that requires us to draw a hand using a pen, and our ass.” He gestured to a brown piece of paper on the wall that contained a number of scattered and suddenly tragic horizontal lines, in ink.

“We are also selling the gallery,” he said, and coughed. “In an edition of five.”

The gallery is valued on a sliding scale, but so far they’ve sold one to Jacob Fabricius, curator for Armory Focus: The Nordic Countries. He paid $5,000.

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