The unfolding story of Fort Worth’s contemporary art scene would be missing a few chapters if not for the efforts of several young artists whose names have become familiar recently.
Aimee Cardoso, Shasta Haubrich, Dee Lara, Brandon Pederson, James Talambas, and Jay Wilkinson have organized, volunteered at, or participated in pretty much every popular pop-up art show over the past two years: Exhibitionists, 100 for 100: 100 Artists for 100 Dollars & Under, Viva La Vulva!, and now, Amuse-Bouche.
Up now at Gallery 76102 downtown through October 15, the last exhibit signifies a sharp departure from the one-off events for which the collaborators have largely been known. Amuse-Bouche is a real exhibit in a real gallery for an extended period of time.
Now working as Art Tooth, a “hybrid gallery project,” as Lara described it to me recently, the collaborators have multifaceted goals. But their overarching mission, Lara said, is to elevate the creative practice of the artists involved, whether that’s through shows, networking events, educational workshops, or increased social media presence.
Recent exhibits at Gallery 76102 and Brik, a Near Southside special events venue, are part of the group’s efforts to bring public attention to spaces that may not normally experience heavy foot traffic, Haubrich said.
On Saturday as part of Arts Goggle, Art Tooth will debut another endeavor. The Pop Up Print Project will feature prints by 10 emerging and established artists. The latter group includes twin brothers Daniel and Dennis Blagg, who have shown work all over the United States, including at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. High resolution prints (many of them signed by the artists) will be available for sale. Prices are based on the original value of the work, divided by 50. A print of a piece valued at $1,000, for example, will sell for $20.
There’s also a contest to win original works. If all 50 prints of a piece are purchased, the original work will be given away based on contest instructions provided by the artist. Only purchasers of prints are eligible to participate.
Part of the print expenses and access to the established artists were provided by Dallas’ Ro2 and Artspace 111, the downtown Fort Worth gallery/studio cofounded by the Blaggs nearly 30 years ago.
Art Tooth, said Artspace 111 Assistant Director William Grella, is “creating a needed conversation around the importance of supporting our local artists.
“By finding creative ways to reach out to art lovers while being mindful about the realities of the artist as a professional,” he continued, Art Tooth is promoting an audience that understands why the local artistic community is important.
Another unique feature of the Pop Up Print Project will be the use of temporary gallery walls, thanks to a grant from a donor who asked to remain anonymous. Pederson, whom Haubrich jokingly calls her “Bob, the Builder,” has volunteered to handle construction.
The collective seems to be doing well. After announcing a call for artists for Pop Up last summer, Art Tooth received 100 submissions from all across North Texas, Haubrich said. Of all of the guidelines, the most important, Lara said, was the personal information. All too often, she continued, viewers are left guessing who created the art and why. As part of Art Tooth’s effort to foster greater public engagement, Cardoso will host a discussion with the Amuse-Bouche artists as part of closing night at Gallery 76102, 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.
Art Tooth also has an educational component. Last July at the Fairmount Community Library, Art Toother Chris Williford, an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, led a workshop on polishing CVs and crafting artist statements. About 40 people attended.
On opening night last month, Amuse-Bouche drew about 250 bodies. Four works were sold that evening, including one purchased by a prominent local collector, Lara said. Like its namesake culinary sampler, the show offered a taste of what Art Tooth plans to give Fort Worth and all of North Texas.
“We wanted to present a more traditional art show,” Lara said.
Amuse-Bouche, she continued, demonstrated “the kind of work we want to focus on — young contemporary artists working in a variety of media.”
Many aspiring artists don’t have an MFA or BFA, she added.
“Those people often feel left out. We want to create spaces for artists to collaborate. We want to create access for artists to meet the movers and shakers in our local art world.”
[box_info]Art Tooth’s Pop Up Print Project
Sat at 1455 W Magnolia Av, FW. Free. 817-923-1649.[/box_info]