Thursday, June 15, 2006

Statement from MOCA DC Gallery Director

I've heard a few comments ostensibly attributed to artists who are respected within the art community; yet the comments I've heard are hardly correct, but what is more disturbing is that the people who said them haven't set foot in the gallery at all, or at least not in the recent past. The "buzz" is that MOCA DC is a Vanity Gallery and that people shouldn't bother going there.

This kind of talk reminds me of the time when Blake Gopnik chastised Artomatic because it didn't have the kind of art - or the work of "respected" artists - that should be seen in DC. Well, the art community got huffy about that - and I'm pretty disturbed myself when people speak from someplace besides their mouth.

The truth is that DC desperately needs the kind of gallery that MOCA DC is - one where artists of all stripes can show their work. The so-called emerging artist, emerging art form - - - - - - but especially the hundreds of good artists throughout the greater DC area who produce good work, but don't have a place to show it. Doubting Thomases should come see the current exhibit - East meets West. It is a spectacular exhibit, and not unlike the vast majority of our exhibits since I took over curating shows in January of last year.

So, it's a bit long already, but here is our current Mission Statement:

Oh, before you go further - check out the article about MOCA DC in the July issue of New York Arts magazine.

MOCA DC has a long-standing tradition of being open to emerging artists and emerging art forms, a philosophy established by Clark when he founded the gallery some 15 years ago. As Executive Director since January 2005, Dave has not only embraced this philosophy; he has expanded it to include a greater emphasis on the nude figure, an art form often neglected by Western cultures. That said, however, more than half of our exhibits feature other art forms, although figurative art may also be in some exhibits.

In the past year we have had the pleasure of hosting from 4 to 8 or 9 artists each month who are exhibiting in an established gallery for the first time. We are perhaps the only gallery in the area that can make this claim; we will continue this practice in the future.

There have been many improvements in the physical space in the past year and a half, leading to many opportunities to rent the space for a variety of events and activities to the extent that it covers roughly half our basic rent. Now, it is time to begin to implement new and innovative ways to be more than a venue for exhibitions for our growing list of artists and other clients.


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