The Art Foundation
Contact: Lucia Simek
How is the project operated?
We are an artist-run collective that does not currently operate for-profit or maintain nonprofit status.
How long has it been in existence?
The Art Foundation formed in February 2012.
What was your motivation?
We came together to initiate a level of artistic and intellectual dialogue that we felt was needed in Dallas, and to intervene where we saw a lack of daring among the local commercial galleries. We are, as group, interested in elevating the art discourse in Dallas and beyond, and so we tend to choose projects that we feel will challenge art audiences and broaden the scope of exhibition strategies both here and elsewhere. After our initial catalyst we discovered that change was more effectively manifested by actively creating instead of responding to what happens immediately around us, in other words, taking the lead to create and be the art community that we want to be a part of.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
There are four of us: Joshua Goode, Ryder Richards, Lucia Simek, and Andrew Douglas Underwood.
How are programs funded?
We fund everything we do out of pocket, each of us taking ownership of certain aspects of our projects. We also have the support of many local property owners and cultural venues who have generously donated spaces for our projects.
Who is responsible for the programming?
We program as a group, each pulling from our individual connections and resources to make projects happen.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We have mounted two curated exhibitions that have been open for two days and two months, respectively. We are currently working on facilitating a land-art piece for the artist Robert Andrade and programmed a highly successful series of artist talks on public art in correlation to Andrade’s project. Our goal is to maintain a biannual exhibition schedule, at the very least, with many smaller events between.
What kind of events are usually organized?
Our chief interest as group is in the curation of high-caliber, internationally focused exhibitions. We also are focused on artist advocacy, collectively assisting local and non-local artists in the execution of difficult-to-realize projects.
How is your programming determined?
As yet, we each sort of throw out an idea, either for a show or an event, and we all sort of work it into a lather. We’re always vetting ideas off each other, building on things, and paring things back until an idea takes its best shape. It’s a very organic process.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes. We are currently helping CA-based artist, Robert Andrade, realize an earthwork that he could not find land for in CA. We encourage other artists to toss their conundrums our way and we’ll see how and if we can help. We’re all about pooling brain power.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
We’re all fairly interested, as many contemporary artists are, in ideas of authorship and ownership and what these things mean in the digital age. We try to envision shows and projects that both push forward notions of the artist’s identity and the art object’s identity to see how elastic these things are. We endeavor, in whatever we do, to strike an intelligent balance between the erudite and the pedestrian in a non-commercial setting.
What’s working? What’s not working?
The four of us work really well together – we’re each able to pull from our own strengths to see a project to completion. We’re a motley crew, all artists, most of us writers too, and a few of us have pretty extensive exhibition experience, so between the four of us we can make things happen pretty efficiently. In terms of what’s not working, we certainly could use some outside funding to help offset the costs of mounting shows – shipping work, prepping gallery, promotional materials, etc. – as well as having a little capital to really get inventive with our programming.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
As mentioned above, we’re really concerned with proving that an independent group of artists, with slim financial means, can curate really intelligent exhibitions in an innovative way. We are building bridges between those two worlds, opening up dialogue between the various art camps, and hopefully elevating and enriching the critical and visual discourse in Dallas.
We also want to have a role in promoting the work of artists we really believe in – artists that make work that maybe doesn’t jive with the commercial galleries agenda but that’s really good or innovative, or artists that we think should receive a bit more attention. We hope that we can create enough ripples from what we do that we begin to break through the roadblock of “local” and push some of these artists and ideas out into a wider sphere. We’re committed to the idea that what we do be good enough to happen anywhere – that it be that important, that universally relevant – while at the same time helping to add layers to Dallas’ fantastic art scene.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Part of what makes this group vital is an openness to try new things, be it exploring new ways to present work, or creating an exchange to generate excitement in our art community. We also hope to mount shows in other cities and collaborate with other art collectives in the future.
Images courtesy of The Art Foundation.
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