Yes! it's here, the #Rank Miami project is coming up in two weeks time. Based at the collective space of Seven on North Miami Avenue, Wynwood District, spanning December 1st-5th with Seven's opening night on November 30th.
Initially this group of galleries started as three sharing a space at the Miami Art Fair back in 2006. And has now grown to seven including Winkleman Gallery from New York, home of the #class project earlier in the year and hosting #Rank in Miami.
Funnily enough when I came to look at the #Rank Miami space at Seven. I noticed that by chance, I'd had a mentor-y-type-meeting a long time ago in ’98 with one of the founders of Hales in London. I’m not entirely sure how to describe this really because I only met him once.... but Paul Hedge from Hales Gallery, located as it was then on Deptford High Street, made a lasting impression on me:
The Guardian had run a tiny-mini-article about a talk Paul was going to do, on galleries and their day-to-day running. And I was an out of town rookie looking for some insight on how galleries were run, so hopped on a train to The Smoke, Deptford, and was not disappointed!.
As with all gallery owners who have deep enthusiasm and encouragement for artists, Paul was no exception in showing us exactly how they had started out and any of our questions were answered diligently and humorously. So, after a welcoming and warming-on-a-cold-November-day cup of tea and really, really good cake!.......
This was my impression of the Saturday afternoon open-meeting and tour of the gallery that Paul Hedge gave way back then :
Paul explained he and his business partner had the idea of creating a space for art after leaving Goldsmiths, and so acquired a building on Deptford High Street with a basement which had doors to an accessible back yard. And a ground floor facing the high street, directly opposite Deptford Street Market.
They created a cafe (vegetarian) on the ground floor and kept everything open plan so the kitchen had a counter and the cooking and service went on in tandem. Downstairs were the loos and the gallery - this was just how it was, because the gallery space was not part of the money making business equation at that point as they aimed to get the cafe earning its keep.
Deptford Street Market
So they opened and served what the stall holders wanted - large mugs of tea (to take out and return) hot sustaining foods, the same eat in take out - bring plates back etc -even if some stall holders sometimes complained of lack of sausage rolls and meat pasties!.
They made sure they were open when the market was – early - and on other days of the week the traffic from passing shops also dropped by. All the while building up their artist’s events and all the while market traders and shoppers getting a firsthand view – on the way to the loo – of people like Tomoko Takahashi’s pile of tv screens alongside artists who had thrown a lump of clay at a wall – and Paul said, expressing their opinions on both.
The gallery also had it's none fruit and veg market visitors including people like Saatchi a few years on. And it can’t have gone without notice that although not in the London arty square mile it was on the same turf as the salubrious Goldsmiths College of Art – so dragging interested parties away from art-central can't have been that difficult. They were in a good spot – built it up slowly with the emphasis on the cafe as bread and butter.
Deptford Town Hall Building Goldsmiths College
The after-hours use of the cafe came into its own as exhibition launches and special nights became more the norm. These days around 18 years on Hales has long since moved to a more time relevant location North of the river to Bethnal Green Lane, Shoreditch.
Hales Gallery,Tea Building, Shoreditch
I truly believed Paul Hedge back then when he said you can do it and I do even more now, on seeing how they (Hales) have also kept their mojo – especially when so many have flown the nest, packed up their art catalogues and ventured to business pastures new.
He wished me well when I re-introduced myself in an email a couple of weeks ago mentioning #Rank Miami – I think he thought I was actually going ! 'cos his parting words were see you there!. Alas no! but I am doing my own bit with the Stereotype/Cliche Tally, watching out for the events on twitter and through the #Rank site. Which, if it emerges anything like the last time, as did with #class it will have some sort of live feed so people can interact with that too. Either way it’s going to be good!!
Here is a snapshot of the calendar of events as posted on the #Rank website....(click to enlarge)
.....Check for updates and Tune In!
Back next Thursday 25th....