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Co-op and Condo Lobbies As Controversial Art Galleries

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One of the horrors joys of living in a co-op is the hellish friendly collective-decision making that ensures all tenants are equally pissed off pleased with what happens in the building. But if there's one topic that can turn these calm discussions into rage-inducing events, it's the subject of what type of art should be displayed in a building's common spaces. Surprisingly, some buildings are starting to take a less traditional approach and using their lobbies as art galleries, according to the Times. At 350 Bleecker Street, a 110-unit co-op where apartments have sold at an average of $1,235 per square foot, the residents opted to make one tenant the sole decision maker about the art, and every six weeks, the lobby hosts a new show. The system has been going strong for six years. "If you like it," says one resident, "you can buy it. And if you don't like it, it'll be gone in a few weeks."

In Chelsea, 251 West 19th Street takes a similar approached by renting super high-end art from artists. The board and tenants had no problem agreeing to that, but when it came to painting a wall in the lobby, people seem to have forgot how to be reasonable. Residents would leave sticky notes on the wall, crying "I hate this color!", so naturally, the board just kept repainting it until people stopped leaving notes.
· In Co-op Lobbies, Arguments Over Art [NYT]
Photo of 350 Bleecker's lobby via Douglas Elliman

251 West 19th Street

251 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011