Can Buildings Curate is curated and designed by Shumon Basar, Joshua Bolchover and Parag Sharma of the London-based practice Newbetter ( /

The modern gallery setting remains a contentious, inspirational, and problematic cultural battleground. Venerated shrine, shop window, subject matter, or an anachronism awaiting a total re-vamp, the gallery continues to be these things and more. It’s the backdrop to a fascinating love/hate triangle between artists, architects, and curators. Sometimes egos compete. Occasionally envy is engendered. And every so often love prevails as new and collaborative relationships are born. 

Marcel Duchamp, Friedrich Kiesler, Alexander Dorner, Yves Klein and Arman evoke a historical trajectory of ideological provocations, provocateurs, and early twentieth century visionaries pushing the boundaries between art and the dimensions of its display. Their legacy continued through the 1960s and 70s where context became content, and ‘institutional critique’ was at the fore. Michael Asher’s now seminal installations of this period exemplify this turning point. The collected participants of Can Buildings Curate continue to provoke questions about art’s production, presentation and consumption through the irrepressible filter of the modern gallery. 

London-based artist Neal Rock will produce a new large-scale work that responds to Storefront’s façade project by Vito Acconci and Steven Holl (1993), colonizing neglected areas inside and outside of the gallery, using his grotesquely beautiful silicon splatter-sculptures. Drabble + Sachs, a Swiss-based curator/artist duo, continue their research into the discourse of art’s economy by meeting with architect Isa Stürm and thrashing out the ménage-a-trois between art, architecture, and curation as a live performance-debate. Dee Ferris, a London-based painter, draws connections between her studio, and the space of the exhibition through an instructional work that is growing as the piece travels. New York painter Yuh-Shioh Wong will complete it in-situ at Storefront. The Lausanne-based architectural office, Décosterd + Rahm, present their latest built work, the Lucy Mackintosh Gallery: a building that epitomizes their fascination with the physiological effects of the ‘invisible’ dimensions of space, distorting temperature and humidity. 

A collection of ‘Indicative Projects’, built and unbuilt, stir up further themes. Lina Bo Bardi, OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Diller+Scofidio, SANAA (Sejima/ Nishizawa), RßSie, AS-IF, Hirsch/Müller and Zaha Hadid represent some of the most inventive architectural approaches, all collaborating closely with notable artists, curators or art institutions in unorthodox ways. Davide Bertocchi and Goshka Macuga represent a generation of artists fuelled by twentieth-century Utopian architectures and visionary display makers. Cai Guo-Qiang escapes the curatorial limits of the gallery altogether and forges new life in half-forgotten structures. And curators Barbara Vanderlinden (Roomade, Brussels) and the late Igor Zabel (Moderna Galeria, Ljublana) with Josef Dabernig reflect on the logic of given architectural spaces in their curatorial practices. 

The exhibition design engages the unique space of Storefront and is dedicated to the memory of the ‘white cube’ gone wrong. For the show, it dissolves into discernable display fragments, such as walls, floors and plinths. Fabricated from a palette of lightweight, secondary construction items culled from modern galleries and minimalist art, the ‘miscreant cube’ tampers with Storefront by colonizing and amplifying its idiosyncrasies.