Exhibitionists, a recent pop-up art show at Shipping & Receiving, featured some familiar names, but it mainly served as a platform for new, emerging artists.
That may not seem like a revolutionary concept, but in a city where it’s almost impossible for young artists to break into established galleries, the show gave dozens of new faces a chance to show and sell works that otherwise might have never had an audience.
Several hundred culture vultures showed face to see the drawings, paintings, photos, and sculptures not by just any artists but employees of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and Sid Richardson Museum. Works were hung all over the Near Southside bar’s cavernous special events room and throughout the labyrinthine hallways of the Supreme Golf Building. Bands played in the event room and the bar’s outdoor patio.
One intricate piece by Modern marketing director Dustin Van Orne could have easily been mistaken for a sketch by a skilled mechanical draftsman. It was a visual commentary on Libya’s quirky octagonal neighborhoods. Fort Worth painter James Lassen had two works (“Find Us on Facebook” and “Facial Recognition 2”) that used oil paint to create a neo-pop effect for social media logos.
At least one prominent group from Fort Worth’s art establishment took notice.
Artspace 111 directors chose 23 pieces from Exhibitionists to display from October 16 through November 27 in Studio B. The exhibition will coincide with Magnificent Tempest by local painter Winter Rusiloski.
Artspace 111 assistant director William Grella said he and the gallery’s director, Margery Gossett, selected works from the recent show that patrons “can spend time with” and that “inspire mindful observation.”
Almost all the artists will be showing in a major public gallery for the first time.
Exhibitionists began a year ago as a conversation between two friends working the front desk of the Modern.
Photographer Dee Lara and painter Aimee Cardoso started their museum gigs two years ago and were immediately struck by two things: First, most of the non-administrative staff (receptionists, guards, gallery attendants) are talented visual artists. Secondly, there can be a surprising amount of downtime working at the Modern.
“Often, if we have special events after the offices have closed, we’re the only ones there,” Cardoso said.
Cardoso, Lara, and Modern night watchman Shane Green saw a side of the museum that few folks ever get to see. Between shows, installation crews would remove old artwork and set up new pieces. On the days when the employees helped set up new exhibitions, they would joke about being exhibitionists. The name stuck.
Last year, a chance meeting with Grella gave the undiscovered artists a little push.
From Oct 16 thru Nov 27 at Artspace 111, 111 Hampton St, FW. Free. 817-692-3228.[/box_info]
“He was there for a film event at the Modern,” Cardoso recalled. “We were joking with him about how the [Metropolitan Museum of Art] has an employee show and that the Modern should do one.”
The gallery director gave the museum staffer his card and asked her to call him when she was ready to put a show together.
“Oh, he’s serious,” Cardoso recalled thinking. “It’s now or never.”
With the help of Lassen, a gallery attendant at the Modern, the four friends started the Exhibitionists.
“Part of why we called it Exhibitionists is because so many people are intimidated by participating and actively exhibiting art,” Lara said. “Many artists find it hard to say, ‘Here’s my art. Look at it.’ I don’t know if it’s just a museum thing, because we have all these great pieces on all the time. We hope the [artist participants] will take our concept and run with it.”
Grella said the vision behind Exhibitionists is what Fort Worth’s art scene needs now more than ever.
“The spirit of the Exhibitionists effort is collaboration,” he said. “Their existence contributes to growing Fort Worth’s art scene by providing a new outlet for art lovers and creatives. [Exhibitionists] not only encourages art enthusiasts but artists who may not have had the opportunity to display their artwork publicly.”