Coagula Curators College: Mat Gleason Schools Us

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Is curating a successful art show just calling a few artists, throwing some pictures up, and hoping people will come?

The keyword in the that question is successful.

For the past four weeks, and for a few more, eight of us have been heading down to Chinatown on Saturday mornings for a seminar led by Coagula’s Mat Gleason on how to (successfully) curate an exhibition. Six students, along with Mat’s interns, Wendy “Art Slave” Sherman and artist Erica Rawlings, are learning the fine ins and out of the business of art (and because Mat is Mat, enjoying his juicy gossip, shrewd observations, and cynical spot-on comments—none of which are for repeating, let alone attribution!). We’ve done studio visits, engaged with gallery visitors, discussed publicity, how to hang a show without wanting to hang yourself, and what best and worst case scenarios we can expect. The end result: Three teams of two each get to curate a show with interns there to help us, if we ask nicely.

Starting this Saturday, March 30, the first of the two teams,  artists Leah C. Dixon and Patrick Servedio present INSIDE OUT:
Portals, Passages and Transformations, curated by Leah C. Dixon and Patrick Servedio.

The following Saturday, April 6, artist Gina Mead Howie and CARTWHEEL founder Cindy Schwarzstein open their show Yes!

And then on April 13, artist Wini Brewer and I do our thing with 13•4•13 [Is He Coming Back?].

Mat has thrown us some challenges: We can only use the artwork stored in his Top Secret Storage Space, aka the Coagula office. And we have to use at least ten of the artists. As there is a limited a selection, some artwork, and definitely some artists, may end up being shown more than once. Plus Mat, the mastro is doing the final show April 20th.

Additionally, some artists have prior commitments to their artwork and need to substitute out pieces, while others only want several of their pieces grouped together, all hurdles that “real” curators will have to overcome at some point.

Come on down Saturdays in April to check out and support what each budding pair of curators have done. Remember, the next show we curate could be your own (we hope!)


At rapt attention.


Mat explains the why and how of Tim Youd’s placement

Top photo: Lisa Derrick. Bottom: Leah C. Dixon

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