100 Dallas Creatives: No. 5 Kevin Rubén Jacobs, Irreverent Art World Organizer
When you ask Jacobs to send you a photo, this is what you get.
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Kevin Rubén Jacobs isn't your average Dallas curator. In a city that worships blue chip artists and lets money do most of the talking in the art world, Jacobs is far more interested in shaking things up. He's a young, energetic curator who, just a few years out of his undergraduate studies at University of Texas at Arlington, has already worked as a curator at Goss Michael Foundation and started both his own alternative space, Oliver Francis Gallery, which he describes as having "the in-your-face sensibility" you might find in New York's Lower East Side.
He's tenaciously irreverent and critics have praised both his taste and enthusiasm. After a short hiatus, he's recently rebranded Oliver Francis Gallery as OFG.XXX, because a visit to his space after a day spent in the Design District feels adventurous and off color, in all the best ways.
What inspired OFG.XXX in the first place? Space. Opportunity. Feeling in the dark. As the story goes, I was looking for a studio space as I had just started to work full-time at the Goss-Michael Foundation as Educational Programmer (mind you I was still in undergrad at UTA working on my BFA in Studio Art after completing my BA in Philosophy). I was still living with my parents at the time and had a salary for the first time ever. 209 S. Peak St. was the cheapest commercial space I could find and I went for it. With great excitement I invited my dear friend Francisco Moreno to check it out and he proposed to create an exhibition for the space. At that moment, I created Oliver Francis, made a Facebook page for the gallery and then promoted the first exhibition of many. I never thought I would be running a gallery, or "curate" exhibitions. It all just kind of happened and I keep looking forward.
Why add the .XXX? Impulse.xxx
How would you compare the experience you had as curator at The Goss-Michael Foundation with that of curating and running OFG.XXX? While I was at the Goss-Michael Foundation for the last four years, I was a part of a great team of people. That team made things happen, especially with the incredible support of Kenny Goss. With OFG.XXX, it's just me and I love that challenge. I have to create my own way and there's nothing else I'd rather do.
What should we expect from OFG.XXX in the future? OFG.XXX is inviting artists and galleries/curators you've never heard of (BUT WILL and SHOULD KNOW) to create the best exhibitions Dallas has ever seen come out of a small hole-in-the-wall space ... ever. More "educational/public" programs. I'd still like to get a chess club going.
What are some side projects or pursuits you're dirtying your hands with these days? I'd like to curate exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Berlin and Mexico City by the end of next year. I am planning on several trips -- some random/ some strategic.
You've got quite a bit of experience under your belt for someone in their mid-20s, what world will you conquer next? I'm an INFP and Sagittarius, so if that means anything to you, I will be spending the rest of my life restless and floating about pursuing things that are super important to me and give me meaning in life. I'll just keep doing what I am doing and be guided by my principles and excitement, while striving to be flexible, accepting, tolerant and open-minded.
100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans 65. Writerly Wit Noa Gavin 64. Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia 63. Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi 62. Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson 61. Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch 60. Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings 59. Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks 58. Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz 57. Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry 56. Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio 55. Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick 54. Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens 53. Experimental Filmmaker and Video Artist Mike Morris 52. Flowering Fashioner Lucy Dang 51. Insightful Artist Stephen Lapthisophon 50. Dallas Arts District 49. Farmer's Market Localvore Sarah Perry 48. Technological Painter John Pomara 47. Progressive Playmakers Christopher Carlos & Tina Parker 46. Purposive Chef Chad Houser 45. Absorbing Artist Jeff Gibbons 44. Artistic Integrator Erica Felicella 43. Multi-talented Director Tre Garrett 42. Anachronistic Musician Matt Tolentino 41. Emerging Veteran Actor Van Quattro 40. Festival Orchestrator Anna Sophia van Zweden 39. Literary Framer Karen Weiner 38. Man Behind the Music Gavin Mulloy 37. The Godfather of Dallas Art Frank Campagna 36. Rising Star Adam A. Anderson 35. Artist Organizer Heyd Fontenot 34. Music Innovator Stefan Gonzalez 33. Triple Threat Giovanni Valderas 32. Cultural Connector Lauren Cross 31. Critical Artist Thor Johnson 30. Delicate Touch Margaret Meehan 29. Fashion Forward Charles Smith II 28. Dedicated Artist Carolyn Sortor 27. Political Cyber Banksy Wylie H Dallas 26. Dance Preserver Lisa Mesa Rogers 25. Rob 'Ain't No Creative Like A Bow-Tie-Wearing Creative' Shearer 24. Scholar of the Stage Susan Sargeant 23. Photographer of Record Justin Terveen 22. Music Man Jeffrey Liles 21. Keeper of the Safe Room Lauren Gray 20. Playwright Jonathan Norton, Man of Many Words 19. Filmmaker and Funniest Comic in Texas Linda Stogner 18. Gallerist Jordan Roth, the Art Scene Cheerleader 17. Artful Advocate Vicki Meek 16. Ballet Queen Katie Puder 15. Carlos Alejandro Guajardo-Molina, the Book Guy 14. Janeil Engelstad, an Artist with Purpose 13. Will Power, Playwright and Mentor 12. Gallerists Gina & Dustin Orlando, Boundary Pushers 11. Moody Fuqua, Music Community Organizer 10. Joshua Peugh, Choreographer to Watch 9. Allison Davidson, Advocate for Art Accessibility 8. Ben Fountain, Man of Letters 7. Fashion Maven Julie McCullough 6. Contemporary Curator and Artist Danielle Avram Morgan
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