Traditionally, the art world takes a holiday summer. Galleries, if they're showing at all, switch to reduced hours for Juneand July—offering primarily group shows—and close completely in August. We spoke with Steven Stewart, director of the Sue Scott Gallery on the Lower East Side, about why this is.
Why do most galleries close during the summer?
It began as a traditional thing. Its roots are in that whole boom that happened in the art world in the '50s, and [Jackson] Pollock forging this "summer camp" out in Montauk. Gallerists, artists and critics would make this mass exodus from the city. [They'd] make work and talk about the work that they'd made.
Has it since then?
It used to be that after the Fourth of July [everyone] hit the "off" switch. I think that it's changed becasue there's a lot of European tourism that comes to town during [the summer]. Through most galleries do close their doors in August, everybody's still kind of available to answer questions or do business if necessary.
Is there anywhere to go to see art in August?
It's not a total rule any more. But the art world is not as accessible those months as it is during the other ones.
Is there a typical type of summer show?
I think that a lot of galleries do put on an easy, breezy summer show. Galleries have a hectic pace to their schedule [during the "on" season, so] they just knid of want to wind down and have fun for the last lap of the race.