Six galleries turning a school in upstate New York into a collective art space

A group of six galleries with spaces in Manhattan has collectively bought an abandoned school building and 22 acres of outdoor space just east of Hudson, New York, in a new joint venture. The galleries Bortolami, James Cohan, Kaufmann Repetto, Anton Kern, Andrew Kreps and Kurimanzutto plan to use the old mid-century Ockawamick School building and its surrounding property for group exhibitions—open on weekends in the summer under the name The Campus.

Kreps, who spearheaded the search for a group space, told Laura van Straaten of The New York Times that the project was indicative of “a new way of working” that has recently been taking off in the art world—towards collaboration and away from the traditional, more competitive model of each gallery for itself. A few gallerists in the group also said they were excited by the amount of storage the new space would open up for their inventory of artists’ works.

The gallerist collaborative will leave the Ockawamick School gym as is—as inspiration for curators and artists Photo: Yael Eban and Matthew Gamber, courtesy The Campus

The Campus’s inaugural exhibition, opening on 29 June, will feature pieces by 80 artists, including Nairy Baghramian, Spencer Finch, Jenny Holzer, Sanya Kantarovsky, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Mullican and Yinka Shonibare. The collective of dealers will largely leave the school untouched, encouraging curators and artists to install works in response to its historical atmosphere—including in the old, smelly gym. The galleries originally bought the building in 2021, after which they rented it out to the TV show Pretty Little Liars to use as a set for the HBO high-school drama.

Hudson, a small town of less than 6,000 people about two hours north of New York City, has become a hot spot for both contemporary art and vacation homes for wealthy New Yorkers in the past decade or so, driving up rents and displacing longtime residents. With fewer children in the area, schools have shut down, their buildings left abandoned—and sometimes sold to Manhattan gallerists. In 2013, Jack Shainman opened The School, a 30,000 sq. ft exhibition space in an old high school in Kinderhook, just north of Hudson.