Drop City is a collaborative gallery model, working between the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and Düsseldorf, Germany.
Drop City approaches its structure as a flexible, reflective model – functioning in parallel to the infinite organisational structures present in the arts. By continuously developing a model that capitalises on the varied experiences of its founders: an independent curator and three artists, Drop City explores the gaps and potential plasticity between several models of gallery structure and exhibition model with activities gathering around the three prevalent organisational forms of artist-run collective, curatorial initiative and commercial gallery.
With a focus on exploring exhibition making, contexts of site and new frameworks for curatorial thinking, our programmes revolve around our relationships with a core group of artists and their extended kinship. Drop City creates a responsive framework for the representation and support of these artists and of their singular, diverse and convergent practices.
Drop City moves freely between various physical and ideological models, with both the co-operative and the commercial allowing experimentation with new ways of representing and supporting artists’ work through a ‘context responsive’ approach to programming and hospitality. This includes to date a traditional gallery space, a participatory programme of new live and made works throughout the Hotel Ufer, Düsseldorf, and group projects at the invitation of both artist-run, commercial and institutional spaces.
Drop City is Paul Becker, Nadia Hebson, Sam Watson and Eleanor Wright. Please see the Artists page to find out more about the artists we regularly work and collaborate with.
Our activities support our artists and collaborators. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for enquiries regarding the artists and their work: firstname.lastname@example.org
«Drop City Düsseldorf at Lierenfelder Str. 39» is a living and working environment which intends to traverse different rhythms of showing and engaging with art. Interspersed between life and work commitments and appearing on an occasional basis, the programme will set works against an accumulative backdrop of permanent installations, living and working situations and an evolving personal collection of chosen objects and artworks, each accordingly providing a different temporal experience, intensity and interaction.
The programme will stimulate conversation around concepts of hospitality and how we live today: Lierenfelder Str. 39 is a base: a place to return to, reflect and reorient – a support structure for the onward journey. Lierenfelder Str. 39 is also a home, a place for manifesting one’s relation to others through hospitality. The globalised world offers us increased opportunity through networked mobility and flexible or remote working patterns, however this situation is primarily supported through an acceptance of a precarious existence and live-work balance. Now more than ever we are aware of the distances between friends and the necessity to touch base both with those that we love and meet through the mobility afforded through artistic working. The intimate network of peers spread and dispersed across different cities, regions and countries, accumulated during prolonged and ongoing periods of transition is becoming the foundation for a new kind of artistic programming – one built more from relationships and friendships between like-minded people from localised parts of the globe rather than from a particular thematic enquiry. Lierenfelder Str. 39 will foster and galvanise these encounters by providing an intimate and meaningful space for both living and working.
Taking place between January – August 2016 within and throughout the Hotel «Drop City, Düsseldorf at Hotel Ufer» presents a collection of exhibitions, single works and events by artists from across Europe within a private/public setting.
From newly commissioned works, focused on everyday micro-narratives, to live events and exhibitions «Drop City, Düsseldorf» attempts to seek more dynamic interactions between artists, site and audiences, and rather than relegating the audience to the passive role of spectators, looks to foster the active and genuine involvement of participants.
Reflecting on the context of the setting within Hotel Ufer means examining the role of a gallery programme: a diverse body of work that includes film, video, sound, drawing, installation, painting, and sculpture, but also writing, performance, even functional objects, that are able to speak on a wide range of subjects to a wide range of people. In addition to this variety of languages and techniques, each of the programmes’ projects must also be analysed from a broader perspective to include the context and modes of production being employed, and starting, at least conceptually, from the many conversations and interactions with those people the works and artists within the programme encounter. It is on these forms of participatory synergy that the very existence of Drop City’s programme is founded.
Drop City at Hotel Ufer was open by appointment only, as a way of fostering a more direct, more contemplative relationship between audience, exhibition and art object. Alternatively, the exhibitions and artist projects were able to be experienced fully through staying at the Hotel Ufer as a guest of the hotel itself.
The large-scale permanent installation«Hotel Anderes Ufer: The Attic» by artist group hobbypopMUSEUM remains in use as a three-bedroom suite for guests. Information on visiting or staying the night can be found here.
Unique edition plates hand-made in ceramic by artist Katie Schwab, and used by guests during breakfast throughout the duration of the programme, are also available to buy here.
Between November 2014 – October 2015 Drop City, Newcastle presented eight exhibitions in our gallery at 20 South Street. Since it is Drop City’s ambition to work with artists who are at various stages of their careers and whose practices have a particular reference to Drop City and its founders motivations, the gallery space allowed for an intense and complex relationship to develop between artists and audiences during our first year.
As our location at 20 South Street closed for re-development, we are excited to take this opportunity to explore more ways to open up diverse and dynamic potential for our activity and engagement with the city.
Sam Watson, Curator
Nadia Hebson, Artist
Eleanor Wright, Artist
Paul Becker, Artist
Graphic Design and Printed Matter: Sam Watson
Website Design: An Endless Supply
Photos: Sam Watson, Henning Krause, Kristien Daem, Dominic Wynter
“DROP CITY, DÜSSELDORF AT HOTEL UFER”
Concept: Sam Watson
Graphic Design: Sam Watson
“DROP CITY, DÜSSELDORF AT LIERENFELDER STR. 39”
Concept: Sam Watson and Eleanor Wright
Graphic Design: Sam Watson
Concept: Paul Becker
Graphic Design: Sam Watson
Drop City has been supported in a special way by Hotel Ufer, Düsseldorf; Arts Council England; Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice at Newcastle University; Centre for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham University; FRAME Visual Arts Finland; Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport, Nordrhein-Westfalen; and Clouston Group.
© 2014/2017 for text and images: the authors