12.03.2015 · Support
We aim to stay thankful for more than a holiday this year and celebrate the people and projects that have shaped our year. From thoughtful residencies with twenty-five artists, critics and curators to a neighborhood newspaper organized by kids within walking distance of the gallery, we've presented and experienced more new projects than ever before.
Residencies are the heart of our program. Since starting as a studio space, the vibrancy of housing groundbreaking artists, curators and critics within the daily life of the organization has always shaped our work. This year, we hosted acclaimed residents from Amman, Jordan and Eindhoven, Netherlands to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Among the residents that particularly inspired us this year were Lori Waxman, in which the leading art critic reviewed over a dozen area artist’s work for her "60 wrds/min art critic" public performance in partnership with fort gondo. In a time of divisive language around immigration, artist Helena Keefe’s summer residency also remains particularly poignant. Her time at The Luminary led her to a participatory project at Jay International market in which she exchanged hand-painted watercolors with people of different nationalities who each taught her a family recipe from their home country. The project culminated in a collaborative dinner and performative lecture with her partner Joseph del Pesco entitled An Evening of Not-Knowing.
We’ve always viewed our program as equally important within both a global contemporary art conversation and our immediate community. This year, we initiated two projects meant to connect specifically with our neighborhood: a youth-led publication, Highlightz, produced entirely by neighborhood kids and distributed for free throughout Cherokee Street and the Counterpublic exhibition in which we commissioned artists to work in longstanding businesses on the street for a unique intersection of art and community concerns. Highlightz gathered a group of 8 to 13 year-olds to talk about issues important to them, whether it was school violence and racial tensions or their favorite businesses and paths through the neighborhood. Counterpublic connected our exhibitions with our surroundings in significant ways, with artist Alberto Aguilar creating “Domestic Monuments” of residents’ objects, Chiapas collective EDELO creating a video for El Chico Bakery, Sean Starowitz hosting workshops with Mexican sportswear store GOOOLLL and a group of kids exploring what an “Equal Playing Field” looks like in sports and life, and local artists Work/Play creating a visceral installation in the Sweet Shears barbershop.
This year, we were fortunate to host transcendent events that feel as if they couldn’t have happened anywhere else. We hosted The Marvelous is Free, a recently-closed exhibition on the legacy of the St. Louis-based Black Artists’ Group, culminating in an ecstatic performance featuring many of the remaining members with seven horn players and Charles “Bobo” Shaw on drums. This influential group helped mold the free jazz scene of the 70’s, while intersecting with St. Louis’s present in unexpected ways.
At times, this happens simply by trusting artists and musicians to pursue their vision. For our LAB series, we turn over our entire space to musicians to fully realize their ideal performance environment, with artists like hip hop collective MME and Adult Fur taking over the gallery. BI/OS started out the year inhabiting the gallery with video art commissions, special printed surgical masks and performances from leading producers Ben Aqua, Black James and DV-i. We close the year in similarly ambitious fashion on Decebmer 13th with a new site-specific installation and chamber opera, Drawing Down The Moon, with the Black House Collective.
However, our programs stretch far beyond our space, perhaps most dramatically through our online publication, Temporary Art Review, which documents artist-led projects around the world through essays, interviews and features on disparate art communities. This year, our reach has expanded even further, connecting with tens of thousands of readers each month and helping lead a conversation about emerging artistic practices. Through this, we’ve received international attention, from an invitation to present at the Walker Art Center in May to our editor (and co-founder of The Luminary) receiving a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Award for 2015.
This only happens because of your support. As a small, radically artist-centered space, we are sustained by our members. With an average gift of $30 each year, your donations enable us to take the risks that push our city forward and embed the arts within our communities. Help make this vital work possible into the future by becoming a member or donating to our programs.
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