Curating at the Intersections of Community, Internet, and Gallery Space

As “How’s the Water?” traveled from El Monte to Pomona and from our front yard into a gallery space, we had to do a bit of “re-curating.” In keeping with our first show we wanted the exhibit to be in a public space, to engage and interact with the cities’ residents, and to give art to the community (literally give them something to take home). For the Bici Bici Bici project we invited Pomona bike riders to pose for free portrait photographs from 4 to 6pm, right before the show’s opening at the Metro Gallery. We took photographs at the Sculpture Garden, courtesy of Daniel Romero (of Blackdot gallery), in front of the water fountains on Second Street, in the middle of the street near the Glass House, and in front of the gallery (during the show). We then projected these images onto a screen inside the gallery which could also be seen by audiences outside on the sidewalks. Even visitors who did not enter the gallery saw their cousins, neighbors, friends, or that dude who always rides his green bike become part of “How’s the Water?”  After the show we uploaded the photographs to our facebook page. We were very excited to see several bike riders use the pics we took as their profile picture. In the end, the bike riders became co-curators and art subjects and we happily surrendered our curatorial authority.

Christopher Anthony Velasco’s project “Juan Valdez: The Tourist” resonated with Pomona residents on many different levels. Juan Valdez under the 10 Freeway San Bernardino sign reminds all of us of our long commutes to work, to a Saturday night party, to a museum outing, sporting event, concert, and ultimately  to a shared experienced of being “East of East.” For Juan Sanchez, the coach of the national champion Mt. Sac Men’s soccer team, the image of Valdez at Whittier Narrows park brought back  memories of his childhood on the soccer field. Other members of the audience tried to imagine what places and landmarks Valdez would visit in Pomona. We hope that people who view the Juan Valdez project will also imagine what are the places they think are important culturally, historically and even personally.

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