With the recent opening of a new art experience in Cannondale Village, Wilton just might gain a reputation as a world-class destination for art enthusiasts.

Fernando Luis Alvarez, the owner of the Alvarez Gallery, has announced the launch of Kudos Shed, which he calls “an art exploration that juxtaposes high concept with a humble environment.”

Simply put, there’s some truly extraordinary art inside an old Cannondale shed.

What is Kudos Shed?

The Kudos Shed project is an extension of Kudos Curators, created by Alvarez in 2021 as a platform to honor the important role curators play in the art world.  

“Before Kudos Shed there was Kudos Curators,” Alvarez told GMW. “It all started with giving a positive nod to the hard and important work done by curators, which is a group that is hardly noticed although they do very hard and intellectual work.” 

Alvarez envisioned the transformation of an underutilized shed into an impressive art space that would give one curator a space to present a single work of art by a contemporary artist. 

“It is the physical experience of curatorial expression… in a space that is at once humble, nearly abandoned, and yet elevated and experimental,” Alvarez says.

Credit: GMW

The modesty of the shed is intentional. Alvarez believes art often loses accessibility in “grandiose” art institutions that become “far removed from the reality of the people” and even “reinforce economic inequality.”

He also believes that social media has had the opposite effect on art — but not necessarily for the better.

“With social media, art is everywhere,” Alvarez says, resulting in a loss of gravitas and forcing artists to become content creators.

For that reason, Alvarez says the Kudos Shed concept calls for resisting pressure to share the art on social media or other online sources.

“The promise of the Shed is that none of the exhibitions will be posted, shared or previewed digitally or on social media, until long after the show is over,” Alvarez said. “The concept requires viewers to come to the space itself to experience each unique work.”

Community Mission

The choice of the shed was also guided by the Alvarez Gallery’s community-driven mission.

The gallery’s stated mission is “to build artists’ careers from the doors in,
and community from the doors out.” 

Alvarez speaks passionately about art’s ability — and his personal goal — to foster community interaction, dialogue and action. Calling himself an ‘artivist’, Alvarez has been known to push boundaries. He gained notoriety in 2018 when he deposited an 800-pound sculpture of a heroin spoon in front of Purdue Pharma’s Stamford headquarters in protest of the pharmaceutical giant’s actions in creating the opioid addiction crisis.

Alvarez (who resides in Redding) pointed to his admiration for the Wilton community broadly, and the uniqueness of historic Cannondale in particular to explain why he chose the Cannondale shed as the setting for the inaugural Kudos Shed.

“This beautiful village, full of history, surrounded by nature, is the place for [Kudos Shed] as it is in line with our mission statement,” Alvarez said. “Here between the historical buildings, we found a little, century-old and neglected shed perfectly adapted to our ideas.”

But don’t let the humble shed fool you. The art inside is rather extraordinary.

Humble Shed, Exceptional Art

With the decision not to share details of the featured art on social media, Alvarez is trying to keep an air of mystery and anticipation around the current exhibit. Visitors cannot catch any glimpse through the Shed’s covered windows, or until a curtain is pulled back once they’re inside. Only two or three people can be inside the Shed at the same time.

Alvarez did give GMW permission to identify the featured artist: the acclaimed Robert Longo, whose oeuvre includes drawing, sculpture and photography as well as music, film and television.

For a high-profile artist like Longo — whose work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums and galleries around the world — Alvarez expects word about the Kudos Shed exhibit to spread quickly.

At least for now, GMW has agreed not to be the spoiler of any other details about the exhibit until the public has the opportunity to experience it.  

Alvarez says he hopes Kudos Shed will “foster dialogue around the importance of supporting contemporary curators, what the arts do for communities, and why these humble spaces are essential in an industry that reinforces economic inequality.”

Future Sheds

Alvarez hinted more sheds may be in the works.

“We plan to scale the concept and bring it to other cities in the state and hopefully nationally,” he said. 

He also expects the featured works at the Cannondale location will change over time. The current exhibit will be open through April

The Kudos Shed is located in Cannondale Village at 34 Cannon Rd., next to the restaurant, Baldanza at the Schoolhouse. The exhibit is open by appointment only. Reserve a time on the Alvarez Gallery website. Attendance is limited to 2-3 visitors at a time. Cell phones and other mobile devices are prohibited inside the Shed.

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1 Comment

  1. Here’s to more ART in Wilton and Robert Longo is a terrific artist to launch this effort. I’ve just reserved my spot.

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