If the Dallas curator scene had a cypher, Kevin Rubén Jacobs would be Riff Raff, refusing to stay on beat, dropping obscure references, making meta-mash potatoes out of the other MCs and showcasing his deep knowledge of the pop culture and art world. His Oliver Francis Gallery has already kicked open the door of the local art scene, introducing a fresh new paradigm in exhibition spaces.
Jacobs started at the Goss-Michael Foundation a few years ago, landing a much sought-after internship. Since then he's has brought what Goss-Michael Foundation Executive Director Joyce Goss calls "energy within the foundation that made us expand our programing to a new, younger, and fresh approach."
Jacobs has been rewarded for his tireless work ethic and progressive approach. GMF just promoted him to Assistant Curator/Exhibitions Manager, which means he'll be working with GMF Acquisitions/Curator Aphrodite Gonou to bring in new artists for exhibits while continuing his work with "New Practices."
Jacobs said the promotion "is an addition to the responsibilities that I already have as Exhibitions Manager." His duties include logistics, conservation, maintenance, researching artists and exhibitions and planning one full-scale exhibition a year in its entirety.
Goss said the foundation wanted to attract more university students and young people to visit the foundation. They feel Jacobs will lead that charge with his "thirst for learning."
"Any new artist that we've introduced to the foundation, whether they came in as a guest or someone we exhibited, he wants to learn all he can about the artist and the work," Goss says. "He defiantly does his homework and it's been a pleasure to watch him grow."
His new responsibilities include handling the logistics of getting work to and from the Foundation as well as developing relationships with artists and galleries he wants to work with.
"I am indeed set on bringing new eyes, ears, and other sensory receptors to the Goss-Michael Foundation to help illuminate the great exhibitions and programs the Foundation has already supported, and to use that as a springboard to something greater," he says. "I have always believed in the Foundation. It's potential to be a larger influence in the Dallas community and more importantly, an international one, is very important to me and how I see these future exhibitions and programs developing."
It was last fall that Goss told Jacobs about the idea for "New Practices." The program "extends support to younger contemporary artists, most of which are based in the increasingly progressive Dallas area." The new showings would exist inside the gallery, but outside of the pre-existing dialogue of the current exhibitions, to inspire new patrons who might not be aware of the foundations work.
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The job suited Jacobs, who was already challenging the traditional practices of gallery management and bringing in the best international and local talent into his East Dallas gallery.
Now Jacobs will have even greater creative control, as well as larger exposure which should work as a conduit between GMF and OFG. "I would love to infuse my future projects with an attitude similar to what I have developed with my own gallery, Oliver Francis Gallery. If it were not for OFG, I don't think I would be in this position here talking about this exciting new venture."
Neither Jacobs nor Goss could preview upcoming exhibits, except Jacobs hinting at a group exhibition for late summer, but Jacobs promised it will be well worth the wait.
"As far as teases go, I'd rather not lead you on," he said. "I just hope to bring a lot more excitement to the Foundation and exhibit really incredible work worthy of international attention and acclaim. And that will begin one step at a time."