Monday, April 2, 2012

Little Free Art Gallery Project as an art work itself

Rough prototype of XXS Little Free Art Gallery
The Little Free Art Gallery project is an art work itself. The display/exchange box is an art object, designed by an artist, as well as the individual art works displayed within. The interaction between a person and a Little Free Art Gallery amounts to a conceptual art performance that can be scripted in advance to a certain degree, and which can be streamed to online audiences, and recorded for later viewing or other artistic use.

Signage can educate re: the project -- What's this All About? -- and give instructions, How to Use this Little Free Art Gallery;  reading it should be entertaining for the visitor.

QR codes and urls in the Little Free Art Gallery box and on the individual works of art displayed therein, send smartphone and tablet/portable computer users visitors down multiple activity paths as they connect online with whatever resources the artists and organizers have waiting for them on the Web.

A high-tech installation could be rigged to play music/sound/speech and display video on a screen, when the door is opened, or by some other triggering event(s) as a person approaches the Little Free Art Gallery.  

If the box includes a web cam, the whole interaction of visitor and art can be recorded (for later viewing or other artistic re-purposing) and streamed online.

Little Free Art Gallery thus examines the relationships between artists, art-lovers, and the art marketplace, in an effort to understand what constitutes “value” in a work of art, what a work is “worth”, and who should be able to own one.

The project also addresses the issue of how artists are compensated for their work in a world where people expect to get all media, "art" included, for free by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. & etc., where they need many very good reasons to spend real money on any kind of media experience and don’t often spend any on “Art”.

In a series of Little Free Art Gallery installations placed in a variety of settings freely open to the public in communities around the world, artists invite people to engage with their art works in and take possession of an original work of art, for free, at no cost. The project thus serves to subvert popular conceptions of Art and Artists as remote and inaccessible due to cost or distance, and somehow separated from the ordinary people of the community involved in daily life, work, amusements.

At the same time, the project connects art-lovers to specific artists; they can move on to purchase works of art from the artist and otherwise support their work by attending future art shows & etc.

XXS Little Free Art Gallery

An extra-small version, made of recycled materials (to keep cash cost low-to-no), just big enough to contain a single art work + label with brief info about the project + QR code link to project web site.

After an initial network of permanent Little Free Art Gallery kiosks is installed (no matter how few nodes, more than 1 is a network!), the participating artists could make some of these XXS Little Free Art Gallery boxes and put them out in public in locations where art lovers have a chance of encountering them. As such, making and placing these little boxes out and about, may enter the sphere of outlaw street art, or the XXS Little Free Art Gallery installations could be sanctioned.

Adding a geocaching element could turn the installation into a public competition.

Teaser photographs and videos of these XXS boxes and the process of installing them would be shared on the project blog as well as in social media (Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.). Plus an out-bound public relations effort to get news of the project to interested journalists and bloggers so they can in turn write about it for their audiences.

These single-serving Little Free Art Gallery boxes each with 1 art work inside, could also be a product that the project markets and sells (from the project web site and via a variety of online and other distribution channels), in addition to t-shirts, caps, and other merchandise carrying the Little Free Art Gallery project logo.

One artist functioned as a mobile drawing studio and invited guests to offer their talents for a piece of liberated currency (zinc exploded pennies). Another artist had a gallery of mini-dioramas/terrariums featuring animal insect hybrids enclosed in Plexiglas.
Last weekend during the New York art fairs, Occupy Museums reminded attendees of the Armory Show that having a big bank account wasn’t the only way to obtain the art.

The Free Art Gallery

The Free Art Gallery is an ongoing art project consisting in providing art completely free of charge.
Works available are non-editioned, one-of-a-kind pieces and are completely free of charge without any other sort of strings attached. Because of the high volume of requests, interested viewers are only asked to fill out a simple form requesting a particular work or works, explaining the reasons for their interest. When more than one viewer is interested in a work, one request will be favored over the other based on an asessment of the viewer’s degree of sincere interest in the work. TFAG does not discriminate in terms of social hierarchy or influence.
The project was first presented at the Armory Art fair in New York in March 2008, and later at Mexico City’s art fair FEMACO in that same year.  In addition, certan works were given to specific individuals from the art world, including artists, critics, curators, and others, with a letter stipulating that they were free to do as they pleased with the free work,  and should they return it back to the gallery it would be immediately destroyed.
Olivier Debroise with one of the Free Art Gallery works, FEMACO, 2008
Olivier Debroise with one of the Free Art Gallery works, FEMACO, 2008
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