Catching up with Third Project Curatorial about cloud 9, on view through August 17th in the virtual Flatiron Project Space
Back on March 8th, I posted an interview with VCS alumnae Victoria Hristoff and Gabriella Moreno, a.k.a. Third Project Curatorial, whose show cloud 9 was set to open in the Flatiron Project Space at the end of that week. Two days later on the 10th, SVA closed its campus and temporarily postponed all exhibitions in response to COVID-19. The show has since been reconfigured into a virtual exhibition, and is now on display online. I thought it would be interesting to do a follow-up interview with The Third Project about how cloud 9 changed for this new incarnation.
First of all, how did you react when the original show got put on hold so close to its opening?
The original show got put on hold about 3 days out of install. We were so excited to execute our vision because it felt like months of work were finally coming to fruition, but we completely expected it as we heard of other major NYC schools closing. Of course there were initial feelings of disappointment, but we trusted Paloma and the team’s judgement to prioritize everyone’s health and safety. Besides, no opening is better than a poorly attended opening where those who attend leave having contracted the plague.
What was it like adapting it to an online presentation? How similar or different was it to planning and staging a more traditional exhibition?
More often than not, our curatorial process takes place intuitively when we select the work we’re interested in showing. While we’re usually familiar with the space ahead of time, the majority of our curation happens outside of the exhibition space/gallery. Of course lots can change during install and once we physically get the works up. We’re always prepared to be flexible. Luckily we knew how we wanted the viewer to flow through the physical space, and move throughout the show. We worked with Justin Elm (as most know, a man of very many talents) as he rendered the gallery space, sent us the floorplan/dimensions, and were able to visualize what pieces we wanted where. We were impressed with how clearly it related to IRL curation.
During my first viewing of cloud 9, it was kind of an odd experience to become a sort of hovering, disembodied eye in a space that I’ve stood in and walked around so often. Was it ever strange for you to see the work presented in this way once the show was up?
When first seeing the exhibition site complete, we were just thrilled to see our vision executed. These works are really incredible and deserve to be enjoyed by the public in any capacity. It was a bit surreal navigating the space from our laptops in our apartments, but we’re happy we have the technology to do so. The disembodiment and hovering you mention feel like an important facet to virtual cloud9. This particular mode of viewing actually lends itself to the show’s subject matter–the intangible acting as an arena for projection. The digital space is kind of mirroring this concept…which is something that was not necessarily on our minds before.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected The Third Project and your plans for future exhibitions?
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted almost everything and highlighted a lot that artists and curators may have taken for granted in the past. More than anything, it emphasized one of our core values–not relying on tradition, or traditional spaces rather, to have fun, put on shows, and work with artists that excite us.
Eventually, galleries and other more traditional exhibition spaces will open up again. Is a virtual exhibition like this something you’d like to try again when that happens, or is this just a temporary solution to a strange and unprecedented situation?
Having the option of simultaneously showing work that can be viewed in person and virtually would be awesome. Why not both? More virtual exhibitions can help tackle the issue of accessibility in the art world. This “new normal” has started (even if just slightly) breaking down some of those white walls. That’s something that should exist in a post COVID world, no matter what.