Friday, January 4, 2008

DEBRIS: How to Paint a Door

What do we have to look forward to in 2008? Well not much in January for sure. As far as I can tell the museums and galleries hit the snooze button until March. In the mean time, why not throw your own show? It seems as good a time as any- Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are buzzing about Houston and the local scene is stagnant. The December lull seems like that anyway, and if flash mobs and collective work keep popping up in unexpected places we may have an exciting year of trying to catch the next big thing.

Setting up a show? First things first. Invite all your friends and give them free beer. This will make it seem like you have a following- and you do! Next; google the press release for a major exhibit and take out all the nouns and names, replacing them with your own. Send this on to all the galleries and museums by following one simple formula: info@ whatever the website name is. Next, get yourself listed by sending multiple emails to, and these three sites hold all the listings of art events in town and all the writers in town get their info there. Make sure you still have a month before your show. Print quarter-page fliers and leave them at coffee shops on Westheimer.

Finding a space? Easy. Do it at your house! If your mom won’t let you, then throw an outdoor show. If you live outside the loop find someone who lives in Montrose and do it at their place. Make up a gallery name by stealing lyrics from a song from the 80s and putting ‘gallery’ at the end. Hang your paintings everywhere and put big sculptures in the backyard. Type up a list of works; people like to have something in their hand when they walk around a show. Put prices on it even if you think they won’t sell- you never know! About pricing; don’t go too high, try to sell one painting that will cover your beer and fliers cost. You can always go higher later, and it feels good to sell something!

Keeping visible? Start a blog. Go to and start a blog with your gallery’s name. Post lots of photos and use the words ‘Houston’, ‘art’ and ‘installation’ a lot. Take photos of other exhibits you go to or at art openings and label them with the artists’ names. People always google themselves and they will read anything with their name in it. Amanda Mills does! Don’t forget that people steal shit online too, so don’t take any really good pictures; just get the artwork in its environment.

Last but not least, don’t worry about things changing. Your gallery can move every month if you want it to. You can change your name, your style and your persona. Not every event is a success, so don’t get bummed out and plastered. Unless you have a bunch of crappy shows no one has ever heard of it is nearly impossible to get into a good one. Have fun- all your friends are there anyway and you don’t need to meet new people unless they come to you. Write down all the shit you do, too. It’ll come in handy going up for one of the Houston Arts Alliance or Artadia grants where rich people want to give you money to throw shows and keep from being productive.

via Free Press Houston January 2008