212 W. Thomas St.
Tampa, Florida 33604
Open during exhibition openings and by appointment.
Founded by: Jason Lazarus
Operated by: Jason Lazarus, Walter Matthews
Opened: January 2016
Most recent exhibitions: Thaddeus Kellstadt, Bribing the Hourglass (November 2018); Walter Matthews, Colorless green ideas sleep furiously (October 2018); Sanaz Sohrabi, Documents Infield (October 2017); Sue Havens, A C T U A L F O R M S (September 2017); Chris Meerdo, Sub-Ohm (March 2017); Benjamin Zellmer Bellas, un match nul (October 2016); Thomas Kong, Fillerup (March 2016)
Coco Hunday exclusively mounts solo shows. Is this because of the constraints of the space or because of curatorial vision?
This is my favorite way to learn about an artist’s work, and many young to mid-career artists never receive time and care to develop a longer and more sophisticated conversation when exhibiting their work. Multiple back-to-back group shows become too draining and too complicated logistically, whereas solo exhibitions become about the work, co-scholarship and care, new directions for risk-taking, and there’s time to do a published interview about the work [on our site]. This is what an artist-run space can do really effectively.
Where does the space’s name come from?
Coco Hunday is a phonetic play on a car dealership named Cocoa Hyundai in Cocoa, Florida, which I first encountered on the radio. The first time I heard it, I thought of it as a two-word poem—I still do! It’s readymade: an example of the gifts Florida can give once you attune yourself to its particular treasures. There are other readings that are possible, but for me, Coco Hunday and Cocoa Hyundai represent the twin paradigms of late capitalism and the subtropical setting that we work under down here.
Walter Matthews has become Coco Hunday’s first-ever artist-in-residence, which is a unique position to have at an artist-run or DIY space. What can a smaller space like Coco offer to support artists-in-residence in the emerging period or midpoint of their career?
Walter had a show scheduled in the fall, and I had the gallery empty all summer as I was in Miami doing a residency, so it was a matter of surplus—I knew Walter had no other studio options that were free, big, and well-lit, so it felt organic to turn over the space to him. I also wanted to create every opportunity for the exhibition to be as strong as possible, and I thought him making the work in the space of the eventual exhibition would be helpful. In its first year, the gallery was more focused on bringing artists in from out of town, but now I am starting to include more local artists. There is such talent here in Tampa, and it is exciting to showcase work that deserves more attention from across the country.
Coco Hunday is currently seeking submissions for its upcoming exhibition RULERS, benefiting Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Submissions should be mailed to arrive in Tampa by May 27, 2019.