From the Editor
by Claire Ruud
In the words of artist Cliff Hengst, a number of small galleries “burned briefly, yet brightly” in San Francisco’s Mission District during the 1990s. One of these galleries, Kiki, run by the late Rick Jacobsen, is receiving attention this summer in the form of a retrospective exhibition, Kiki: The Proof is in the Pudding, at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. Last week, Mary Katherine and I talked to Cliff, Scott Hewicker and Larry Rinder about the significance of Kiki within the San Francisco art scene. Although the gallery was open for only eighteen months beginning in the summer of 1993, it fostered a vibrant community of young artists and presented work by such artists as Nayland Blake, Kota Ezawa, Catherine Opie and Yoko Ono. Both Cliff and Scott showed work at Kiki and, during our conversation last week, Larry mentioned that Kiki was his inspiration for In a Different Light (1995), the ground-breaking exhibition he co-curated with Nayland. Looking back, Kiki appears to have been an incubator for an important group of politically minded and, often, queer artists.
The long term impact of a small gallery like Kiki prompts me to consider yet again the critical roll Austin’s alternative spaces, such as MASS and okay mountain, play in creating a thriving art scene. With this in mind, we’ve decided on “Go Local!” as the theme of this issue’s “…might be good recommends.” Frequently now, the press (...might be good included) trumpets the national attention Austin’s visual art scene is receiving. But perhaps these moments in the (relative) limelight are the very moments at which we ought to refocus our energy inward on our experimental exhibition spaces, the resources we are providing for Austin-based artists and the sustainability of their careers. Despite all the national hype, here in Austin, the pool of contemporary art collectors remains small and studio space remains scarce. okay mountain recently lost the lease to its lovely space on Cesar Chavez (due to gentrification and rising prices?). Rather than ride a wave of self-congratulation, it seems imperative that we find ways to channel Austin’s increasing resources into Austin’s artists and small, start-up spaces.
By the way, don’t fret when …might be good doesn’t appear in your inbox two weeks down the road: we’re moving to our summer schedule. You’ll receive our next issue on July 27, featuring reviews of Artpace’s New Works: 08.2, with Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Mark Bradford and William Cordova, and The Station Museum’s Defending Democracy, with Emory Douglas, Otabenga Jones & Associates and The Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca.