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Okey Dokey / Düsseldorf, Cologne

Okey Dokey is a new gallery initiative that takes place September 8–30, 2017, in the Rhineland cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne. Started by three relatively new galleries, Jan Kaps, Ginerva Gambino and Max Mayer, nine spaces across the two cities have been invited to host exhibitions by international galleries that will enact a takeover during this period.

Within this collaboratively minded process, incomers neither pay rent nor engage in a percentage split with the hosting galleries. Instead, supportive relationships are fostered with the aim of solidifying preexisting links between local and international galleries, which are then opened up to the public.

Participants will gather from around the globe, most notably Tokyo gallery Misako & Rosen, who will celebrate their ten-year anniversary while being hosted by Max Meyer in Düsseldorf. Delmes & Zander in Cologne will host Paris-based Galerie 1900–2000, who specialize in avant-garde Dada and Surrealist art, as well as Frankfurt-based Neue Alte Brücke, whose exhibition “Mystification of the Everyday” takes quotidian objects as its subject.

Rob Tufnell in Cologne will host the usually Berlin-based gallerist Tanya Leighton, whose amusingly titled group exhibition, “Pharmacy for Idiots,” will feature artists such as Ansel Krut, Josh Smith, Issy Wood and Ann Craven. Not taking part in this year’s “art berlin” fair — the first collaboration between the former “abc” (art berlin contemporary) and Art Cologne fairs, which will take place concurrently on September 14–17 — Leighton has opted instead for this alternative exhibition model. Not the first of it’s kind, it echoes the collaborative Condo exhibition project, which led the way as spaces throughout London and New York hosted international galleries in 2016 and 2017.

Fair co-organizer and Ginerva Gambino–founder Laura Henseler highlights that Okey Dokey has been organized with further historical precedents in mind: “We see Okey Dokey in a tradition of many collaborative projects that date back to Rhineland exhibitions like “Prospect” in the 1970s and the “Köln Show” thirty years later. The latter was [also] organized by nine galleries without institutional help.”

With Cologne and Düsseldorf having reputations as bustling cities for contemporary art, fueled by the swell of collectors who emerged following the cities’ industrial successes and underpinned by their world-class museums, Okey Dokey adds another variable to this arts ecology.

by Louisa Elderton