The Beginning + NOLA
November was the beginning. After months of trying to figure out how to run a better gallery, we made a simple resolution: to do more things that will create a positive impact on our artists, our community, and ourselves. This also means doing less of the things that don't work. Many gallery traditions no longer served us at Art Palace. Moving forward, we are re-centering on being innovative, receptive, and flexible.
Worldwide, many of our colleagues have been discontinuing their permanent exhibition spaces in favor of more agile enterprises. This presents our community with dubiousness ("How can you produce exhibitions without a gallery?") but also with the possibility of excitement. Unlike a traditional gallery model, this limber undertaking has many venues of expression. You could open an online store. You could deal with private collectors through consultation work. You could adopt secondary market and estate sales. If you're lucky enough to have a mortgage, you could have a parlor gallery. You could focus exclusively on pop-up exhibitions. You could participate in several annual art fairs. What about "all of the above?"
Well-respected galleries like Acme Gallery, Andrea Rosen, and Lisa Cooley have shuttered their brick-and-mortar spaces, while projects like Vacation, Condo, and Proyectos LA are finding success with more innovative models. ArtNet, New York Times, and ArtNews have all published articles on this "phenomenon." The truth is, DEASIL didn't invent the concept, but it is perfectly in line with our history of creative programming, and we believe it is in line with the future of exhibition programming world-wide. It involves forward-thinking, and a bit of trust that the world around us is ready to support and engage in what we have to offer. As the sharing economy becomes the norm, it was natural for us to think about how we could create a cooperative network of art professionals, trading resources and good will so that everyone's efforts flourish.
If you were supporting a business, you would trust that they were doing everything in their power to be successful, responsible, conscientious of the market, and fluent with today's practices. Back in November, we thought we could do better, so we committed to travel more and to have more conversations with artists, curators, collectors, and friends. We committed to show the best work, in the best places, at the best times, instead of adhering to an arbitrary schedule, walled-in by a white cube.
Having not-quite figured all of this out yet, we planned a little trip to New Orleans for Prospect.4. Part of their mission statement reads, "Emphasizing collaborative partnerships, Prospect presents the work of diverse local, national, and international artists in unique and culturally exceptional venues, creating an optimistic cartography through the education and engagement of residents and visitors." Sound familiar? We set out to learn about collaboration and alternative exhibition spaces. WE LEARNED. We wanted to conspire with our contemporaries and hear about the sparks, hurdles, lessons, & victories. WE LISTENED. We wanted to eat beignets and po'boys. WE ATE. AND ATE.
Lead Image: One of Yoko Ono's "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately" billboard installations. Photo thanks to J Caldwell.