My first time in Lora Reynolds Gallery and I was not impressed. I have opinions on both the art and the space. Allow me to share my thoughts on the space, galleries and other exhibition possibilities.
Perhaps I am growing a repulsion to “white walls”, but I was a little uncomfortable in the space. A “commercial gallery” is not where I have been going to see good contemporary art. I had imagined the space to be wider and not so tall. Maybe I have been spoiled by the fact that I tend to visit alternative spaces and artist studios, which tend to be larger and more forgiving to the art. The absence of context from the space that the artwork exists is bland compared to the gritty studio spaces such as the ex-Fresh Up Club, Bolm Studios, etc. Even the limited spaces on campus added some sort of reference for the works to live with. Of course the New Gallery tended to give the works a negative effect, but what are ya gonna do about it?
I may be slow, but I, am not stupid. I realize that this gallery is a local example of where the art market exists in cities like New York, LA, Houston. But because of the lack of such spaces here in Austin, and the recent activity of alternative spaces Lora Reynolds feels like a darn furr-ner on our prop-tee. If it wasn’t for smaller, artist-run spaces and the artists’ studios, we would only have museums. And although I appreciate the support they provide for local artists and the community, they are large institutions. Too large, in fact, to act and react in real-time and confront problems or concerns that the arts community may have.
On the other hand, there appears to be some increased activity between artists and museums. The recent Robleto and Blake show at Arthouse, the prospective Open Doors show at the Dallas Contemporary, both point at the museum’s ability to cooperate with the artist. Maybe those are not the best examples of sponsorship on the museums’ behalf, but there is more of a reliance on the behemoths to bestow credibility and promote aptitude. I don’t think I’m alone on this one.
Now I am no commie pinko, but weren’t video and performance art the forms of choice during the 60s-70s so that their art could not be taken hostage into the commercial world of the gallery? Don’t artists hate gallerists for not being much more than salesmen? But don’t artists enjoy eating more than just Ramen noodles? Can’t we all just get along?
I think that is where the museums are stepping into this godfather role. No longer are they relegated to showcasing the history of art, they are working with other institutions in channeling its path. Can you say Big Brother? Or is it just Big-hearted (deep-pocketed) Grandma?
So I got the heebee-jeebees going into Lora Reynolds, so what? I am still appreciative of Ms. Reynolds for bringing in some of the outside world into the hippie island that is Austin. Until Lora Reynolds’ next opening, I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.