Unframed Artists Gallery
I’m curating the Unframed Artist Gallery on Huguenot Street. We pretty much got everything set and ready to go for the galleries opening on April 5th. The whole experience has been an interesting one, I’ve never curated an event before. It was a pretty involved process and took a lot of planning and scheduling. It started with a meeting where the owner and a board of gallery members, as well as newcomers such as myself, got together to decide when shows would begin and what themes each would have. Each show is centered around a theme; for the April 5th show titled Art Speaks which deals with word and image. The next show examines art that references the Hudson Valley. These themes give the artists who intend to contribute work to the gallery a basis to work from. The theme operates as a tool of curation since it narrows down what type of artwork will be submitted/accepted.
After this meeting where which shows we’d have, as well as other administrative stuff was discussed, the process of putting out a call to artists was undertaken. The call to artists was about a page long describing the show, what we as curators were looking for in submissions as well as the shows purpose. Once the call to artists went out it was a matter of waiting along with constant PR. We had a drop off date for artists to come and drop off their work. It was then up to the curators, myself and a woman named Vivien who was helping me out, to get the works organized so we could hang the walls. The organizing process was a lot of fun. We linked works together based on content, color scheme, aura, size; we pretty much mixed and matched traits inherent in a variety of different works until they synchronized in some cohesive way on the walls. My way of going about organizing things on the wall was by the energies I felt they emitted, kinda like Feng Shway (Yea . . . that’s not how that’s spelt). The Mrs. in charge, Michelle, shifted some of my decisions, but for the most part I had a pretty good feel for my first time. There were things she taught me that I hadn’t been completely aware of while hanging such as, how to hang and why certain works should be placed at a certain level on the wall for the viewers vs others works. An example is a photo realist drawing of a glass of waterthat is having water being poured into it. It looks like a photograph, the work is so accurate and expertly undertaken it would have done it an injustice to place it too high on the wall where it would not have been able to be viewed as directly. Michelle asked me to move it to around eye level which was definitely a good decision.
Along with organizing all the art I asked my friend John to join me so we could organize a few nights of live music. This too was a curatorial practice. We had to get together bands that would fit the vibe that we were going for each night. Along with getting bands we have to create an atmosphere through activities and decoration that also illumines the vibe we’re going for. So far so good, but this is still in the process of working itself out.
Although the paintings in the gallery are pretty much all set in their spaces on the wall there is still some more curating and planning to get done. What I’ve learned from this experience so far is that in a gallery setting the responsibilities of curating lay in the hands of the curator, but none of it can occur without a communal effort and cooperation from the artists and others who are willing to help make whatever the event is come to light.