Those of you who know me, and Efren at Exhibit V, for instance, he knows me, know that I am the creator and curator of the BALCONY gallery @ Xchanges. Those are the facts ma’am. I ain’t a’braggin’. And I ain’t tryin’ to take no credit where credit ain’t due. And before it starts to look like I’m rushing head long into Jerk pond, via the Asshole Expess, let me just explain that without Xchanges there would be no BALCONY and I would not be curating anything other than a very heavy sink load of dirty dishes. I’m not kidding about that either. You should see my kitchen. In fact I wish someone would see it and would then go crazy cleaning it. But, I digress, as they say.
Xchanges Xchanges Xchanges. I bow to you, I kneel, I genuflect. I tip my hat. I pull my forelock. And I thank you. For the advice, the space, the support and for the money. Yes, that’s right, gentle reader, the BALCONY gallery pays each artist a fee. A fee straight from the coffers of Xchanges! Now, that’s swell, wouldn’t you say?
I’m beginning to sound like I’ve just won an Academy Award or something. I better get on with my story.
My story, my story. Oh yes. I wanted to tell the story from behind the scenes of a balcony show. From the curator’s point of view. Not necessarily a critique, so to speak, more an amusing, perhaps rambling account of one woman’s experience before, during and after an art show.
The essential truth is that I just love the role of curator. Although there have been moments during the past 4 months of art showing when I have been worried or annoyed or ignored or whatever!, there has also been an ever growing appreciation for the experience of being with other artists, and seeing them work. I never heard of Gurgieff, for instance, until I met KitSum Cheng. And I never even considered the importance of confetti until I met Aubrey Burke. Being around artists is mind expanding. For too many years, I thought my own artistic company was enough. I think it was a reaction to art school. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t artists point blank that I needed to avoid. I was wrong. I was not enough.
Now I’m beginning to sound as though I’m writing my memoirs! Onwards, onwards.
Last night was the BALCONY opening of Jillan Valpy’s exhibit Conventional Wisdom. Jillan is the coordinator of Xchanges and although she truly is a very lovely person, she is, to me, somewhat intimidating. This is because Jillan, after years of involvement and hard work, is a part of the Xchanges infrastructure. While I, little old I, am a newcomer and still feeling my way through the intricacies of artist to artist configurations. It’s not easy always. Especially when you’re an idea prone, loud talking, emailer like me.
Anyhow, I was uncertain of my role as curator in the case of Jillan and the Conventional Wisdom. I felt a little out of my element. I held back on asking about the project. I mean Jillan knows Xchanges. She didn’t need me to let her in or to show her where the extension cords are stored or where the fridge is. She just didn’t need me! Fortunately, however, Jillan got sick. I know. That sounds bad. She had the flu and it was suddenly much harder for her to install her project alone. She called me the day before the show and asked for help. Of course I’d already offered several times in the lead up to the big day, but it was the flu that truly opened the door.
The poor woman picks up some nasty dizzy stomach churning bug, and suddenly I’m in, in like Flynn, whoever in the hell that is. And it was great, helping to install a really beautiful show and of course just talking with Jillan and getting to know her. It may seem somewhat sycophantic, telling this story like this. Sucking up to the gallery coordinator. But what it really is, is gratitude.
Conventional Wisdom runs until September 13th on the BALCONY at Xchanges.