Studio Tour #007 - Space 1026
Studio Tour #007 - Space 1026
A long time in the making is our studio tour of Space 1026. I went there more than a year ago while visiting some friends and everyone over there really showed me a good time. Enjoy.
First a little note from Alex Lukas: I am answering, as Alex, to the best of my ability as a newer member of Space 1026. Some of these answers are things I have only heard of second hand, or are out of my sphere of knowledge or were before my time at 1026. I sent out the responses to the whole group so everyone could pitch in, and got some good feedback, so I feel comfortable with it, but I also am not the general spokesperson for the group, only the mouthpiece for this interview.
Chad Kouri: You guys run on a very similar platform to us. Rather than seeking out grants and funding, the individuals who share the space share the rent and expenses of running the studio. By taking the financial responsibility off the gallery it gives you the ability to schedule shows without regard to their profitability. Do you find that this helps or hinders your space as a whole?
Alex Lukas: I think it is a HUGE advantage. We actively tell people "Show what you want, make it ambitious and don't worry about selling it" as opposed to, "We need ten small pieces under five hundred bucks to try to move." We often have shows that actually don't have anything for sale, which is really liberating, but that also means that we are not able to buy our artists plane tickets or anything. If someone shows here, it is because they really want to show here, and that excitement is really integral to what we do.
Chad: What is the most people you have had with studios in the space at one time?
Alex: I think there are 25 people who have studios here right now, and a few more who use the space just to print. Originally there were five founding members, so it has grown a lot over the past twelve years. I think 25 is about critical mass; we really don't have room for more studios, unless we get rid of something, like the bathroom maybe?
Chad: I would assume that you guys have quite a waiting list for studio space there. How do you go about choosing who takes the place of someone who leaves?
Alex: There are a few ways it can happen. Generally, when someone leaves 1026, a current member can call dibs on the open space and vacate their old studio. If no one in-house wants it, and because the spaces are so intimate, the other members of the room that has the vacancy (most studios are shared by two to four people) get to invite one of their friends from outside 1026 who might want to join; that is how I got my studio. Our HR committee also has a running list of people waiting to get in. There are also a big number of our former interns who express interest in becoming members once their internship is done, and a lot of current members are former interns. Honestly, it is all very informal and pretty much works on a case-to-case basis.
Chad: Is there a lot of collaborative projects going on or does everyone seem to keep to themselves and just rock out their own stuff?
Alex: That is constantly changing. My understanding, from older members, is that initially Space 1026 was a place where everyone would come to make their own artwork individually but share common space and resources. At some point, this label of 1026 as a "collective" came about, and from that, the idea developed of making collaborative work together versus individual work along side one another. There has been some debate as to weather this definition of 1026 as a collaboration was put on ourselves or was given by someone else. Irregardless, that label is there now.
Day to day, everyone here makes their own work, individually but under the same roof, but when we are invited as "Space 1026" to do a show, we work collaboratively. We have long planning meetings where everyone proposes ideas and we throw around themes. We approach each collaborative show with essentially a blank slate, keeping in mind what has worked before and what hasn't, but not staying confined to previous stylistic tendencies . Because we are such a large group now, and we do have a bunch of new people here who have new ideas and new skills, the nature of the collaborative projects is always changing and evolving depending on who is involved. The collaboration that would have occurred five years ago is completely different that the collaboration that would happen today because there are so many new people contributing as "Space 1026", and I think that evolution has been really exciting. The level to which everyone participates is up to them, but usually everyone gets into it and chips in as much as they can.
Chad: Does any one person actively seek out press for your shows and events or is it all different individual efforts depending on the show? Is there anyone that acts as the studio manager that makes sure that everyone pays their rent, takes care of returning artwork to artists after shows and so on?
Alex: The shows in our gallery work like this: Once a year we have a series of meetings to look at submissions. Submissions come in two forms, ones that people mail us out of the blue, or suggestions for shows by current members. Whoever advocates for a show becomes responsible for the submissions execution if it is accepted. This way, everyone gets to have ownership over the gallery for the show they are excited about. Once a show is accepted, the member who advocated for it takes on the facilitator roll, which means doing everything from sending out the press release, getting postcards made, coordinating shipping, painting walls, getting beer for the openings and making sure out-of-town artists have a couch to sleep on. Outside of the gallery committee, which is basically everyone here who wants to be involved, we do have smaller committees like HR, Fix-it, Print shop, Team Finance and so on. This division of labor ensures that everything works somewhat smoothly and no one person is saddled with too much work. Everyone is expected to help out with at least one committee. We also have an unwritten policy of "do-what-you-want-but-check-with-two-people-first-and-if-someone-else-doesn't-like-it-later-they-can-undo-it."
Chad: If you could wish one thing what would it be?
Alex: We were thinking about buying the building, but that was just unrealistic. Right now, I'd wish for everyone to either donate or attend our annual art auction on December 11th. It is our one real money-generating event a year. We have some really good people confirmed to donate art, like Eddie Martinez, Andrew Schoultz, Ryan Wallace, Matt Leines and many, many more. All items start with an opening bid of five bucks.
Chad: How do you choose what kind of events to have at your space? With so many people using studios in there at a time I can't image you get everyone involved in the curation of one show.
Alex: Beyond the curation of shows, which I talked about before, if a member wants to host an event, they just ask everyone else if it is cool. Most of the things we do are member-driven; a member needs to be really excited about it because they will be the one making it happen. We sometimes get e-mails out of the blue asking if a band can book a show here, and we don't usually do that, but if a member has a friend who's band is coming through town and can't find a venue, then we try to make it work. That isn't anything against the band e-mailing out of the blue, but events here just work better if someone is really invested in it happening, especially since no individual makes money off of anything. So, the member who wants to host the event asks the group and if no one objects, then we do the event. Generally the only reason we wouldn't host an event is if we are worried it would hurt the artwork in the gallery. For example, if we have a show that has large installation elements, we don't have music events that month.
Chad: I see from your about page that you choose to keep everyone wide open and don't narrow down your explanation of the space. We've always found it hard to explain what it is we do at our space as well. Give us an explanation of your space and what happens over there in 10 words or less.
Alex: Do It Yourself with Other People.
Chad: How often do artists come in and out of your studio spaces? Are you getting new people in there and people leaving at the end of every month or does it stay pretty consistent? Who's been there the longest? Who just moved in?
Alex: 1026 has been around for twelve years now, and Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Max Lawrence and Ben Woodward have been here the longest. We just welcomed Greg Pizzoli, Anni Altshuler, Kay Healy and Ketch Wehr into the fold. Clint Woodside just returned too. I think 1026 is like any place, you have times when it is really steady and you have times when it is in transition.
Chad: Got any tips on who/ what to looks forward to in the next year? Events, artists, magazines, and other projects inside or outside the 1026 crew?
Alex: We are just firming up our 2010 Gallery Schedule, but we have a show of Baltimore painters curated by Nudashank Gallery, a show curated by Hilary Pecis that I'm really excited about, another installment of Rich Jacob's MOVE shows, Philadelphia painter Dwayne Boone and a lot more. We are also working, as Space 1026, on creating a reading room for the Philadelphia Print Center as part of Philagraphika 2010, an international printmaking conference that kicks off in January here in Philadelphia.
Chad: You guys have a wicked amount of posters, stickers and graffiti plastered all over your walls in the space. Was there a time that you tried to keep the space clean and minimal or was it always just a crazy freak out of stuff everywhere? I believe someone over there told me that the walls are the only complete timeline of the space and it's past events and residence. Is that pretty accurate?
Alex: I think the walls serve as a pretty good archive of what has happened and who has been here. A lot of the studios downstairs were built out of wood from the half pipe that was painted by Jim Houser, so you can still see remnants of that if you know where to look.
Chad: Have you done any residencies with out-of-towners in the space?
Alex: I think Luke Ramsey, who runs the zine publishing venture Islands Fold, spent a month drawing and making zines at 1026 a few years back, and occasionally our couches are taken for a night or two by people passing through, but nothing formal.
Chad: Can you give us a highlight reel so-to-speak of the past shows and residencies there? Is there any projects that started within your walls that have moved on to having a space and reputation of their own? Have you had any projects that started outside of the space and moved in to utilize 1026's network of people and space?
Alex: There are a ton of projects that 1026 members run out of the building. Free News Projects is based here, They publish great art books (including an amazing Matt Leines monograph) as well as releasing records by people like Plastic Little, and Pink Skull. There is Mark Price's Zine of the Month Club. We hosteled the Vaudvillians Mummers brigade for a few years, Spare Change Films, my own Cantab Publishing, I know I'm forgetting something. When the Philadelphia Independent was being published, it was out of here. Megawords Magazine, which is one of my favorite publications out there, is run by two former members.
There used to be annual Fort Thunder shows with Forcefield and Lightning Bolt performances; there were Paper Rad shows, a really early Ed Templeton show, Ryan McGinley was in a three person show here that Brendan Fowler put together called Alleged Galleries at Space 1026. We hosted one of the only times REVS has shown in a gallery, alongside Steve Powers back in 2000. This past year alone we had Andrew Schoultz with AJ Fosik in the gallery, a Seripop poster retrospective, a big Dennis McNett show, just to name a few things. We also have some really kick-ass artists that have studio space here.
Chad: if there is one thing that you would like in your space that you don't have, what would it be?
Alex: A second bathroom.
Chad: Do you guys have a show that you have done that you feel has been the best representation of space 1026 outside of your walls?
Alex: Both were before I was a member, but the two shows 1026 has done at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art are legendary. Everyone is very excited about the reading room we are building at the Print Center this January, I think that promises to be another good one.
Chad: How was it working with bigger institutions, galleries and museums in the past? I can imagine that they work completely differently than small galleries and artist run spaces. Do they really have it all worked out or are they running around last minute on everything like we are?
Alex: From what I have heard, having a budget is nice, but it seems like regardless where we are working, it is always down to the wire.
Chad: If you could only have 5 different colors of screenprinting ink in the space what would they be?
Alex: Who needs five when you can use three transparent ones and overlay them?
Chad: The community record collection is super impressive. how did that come about and are people still actively adding to it.
Alex: That belongs to Max and Ben. About two years ago they hired someone to inventory and catalogue it, but I'm not sure anyone at 1026 still has a working record player here.
Check out the Flickr set for more images and higher resolution images of everything you see here.