Things are getting pretty crazy in Dallas's art scene. Museums are handing keys over to inspired and innovative artists; houses are converting into galleries; one-off group and solo exhibitions are popping up in vacant Deep Ellum properties; and artists are adopting multiple roles as curators, musicians and publishers.
We want to find out more about the strange minds behind these wonderful movements, so we've begun a weekly interview series with area artists, curators gallery owners and anyone else who's expanding the reach of -- and conversation around -- regional emerging art.
This week we burst through the fourth wall of "Post Communiqué," an interactive installation gallery by Fort Worth art collective HOMECOMING! Committee that's part of The Dallas Museum of Art's newest exhibition, DallasSITES: Available Space. Jamie Laughlin described the living diorama-like piece this way recently on Mixmaster:
The working, evolving installation is equal parts production area and output gallery/conspiracy indoctrination reading room. Confused? Good. It's here that the Fort Worth art collective assumes a falsified existence, playing the part of a group that's forging artistic works, their documentation and assorted ephemera from within the exhibition.
We tried to set up a interview with H.C. founding member Kris Pierce, but he declined to be the sole subject of this discussion. Instead, our questions were passed onto the committee, which answered under the moniker Agent of HOMECOMING! In short, the conversation takes on the may-be-true, may-not-be true narrative of the collective's DMA exhibition.
How's things at the office? Bureaucratic.
The crew liking their new space at the DMA? Interacting with civilians has been one of the main benefits of the new location. Some people have been perpetrating pretty hard and have had to be dealt with accordingly. I always feel like taking a nap when I'm at a museum. Now I have a bed to lay down on.
I'll be stopping by the office again this weekend, I think I might have lost my time card. Got another? Yeah, but replacing it will cost you a finger.
Any juicy Real World type shenanigans to report from the Post Communiqué? Hmm, where do I begin? All of our interaction with visitors to Post Communiqué has been interesting. We have resigned a lot of control to people exploring the space, but everyone seems to be obsessed with the second floor, probably because that is the only part of Post Communiqué off-limits to visitors. Access is limited exclusively to employees, but we encourage persistent ones to fill out a job application. Needless to say we have a good pool of applicants as a result, not to mention all their personal information. Regardless, I would say we are the main offenders when it comes to impermissible ways to behave in the space, but I won't bore you with details.
You think Saburo Murakami would mind if y'all played a hearty game of touch football? We are no longer speaking. Ironic Murakami-san produced "Iriguchi" after we took him to a high school football game.
Contrary to DMA policy, you guys are letting visitors be pretty hands on. Any highlights? We have definitely opened the floodgates. It's funny how the smallest thing inside a museum can act as a barrier. During the opening many people mistook the tape used on the PA cord as a line they shouldn't cross. But for the most part people seem to cautiously acclimate to a more participatory environment. Kids have no problem climbing on the furniture and playing with things in the space, but adults have to be invited in more often. Sometimes you'll tell people its OK to do this or that, and they just shake their head no, which is interesting. Others don't handle the freedom so well. They have been told all their lives that when they're in a museum they are to be quiet and don't touch anything, matter of fact don't get too close ... without that barrier they can over-react, sometimes even beyond our limits. We have physically removed people from the space.
How have patrons taken to propaganda? I think it's different across the board. There is definitely a large majority that is programmed to believe unconditionally what those wall texts say. We get it, and honestly feel the same way sometimes. Contemporary art can be intimidating to navigate, especially if you don't have familiar aesthetic cues to guide you through the work in some way. That being said, I think that people who really investigate the space start to connect the dots. We hope to facilitate that green light moment while in the space and hopefully people will start to question the way history is presented to them and its source of power. Favorite quote thus far ... woman walking out of the space blurts "you gotta love conceptual art!".
Seen any men in black snooping around the compound? We see everything. Visitors have been under 24 hour recorded surveillance since moving in two weeks before the opening. That's one sign people are not noticing outside the space. We see everything you do ... everything.
How are the neighbors? You're sharing the DMA with some pretty interesting folks for Available Space. You know what they say about your neighbors.
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I guess they were wrong about the revolution being televised, I think it'll be Vined. We're not familiar with most consumer technology.
Any other special guests coming to the Post Communiqué? Danielle Georgiou and Marco Godoy. They'll put a nice little bow on this mess.
You guys are moving on the 18th of this month. Have you found new real estate yet? We are always moving. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
You can visit HOMECOMING! Committee's installation at the DMA through August 18. There will be a guest performance on Thursday, August 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. when Danielle Georgiou performs I hate it when a book smells bad, and again on the closing night when Marco Godoy visits the compound.