SEPTEMBER, 2019: Samuel Freeman will reopen as Iris Project to celebrate our new home in Venice, California. The new gallery is a restored 1916 Craftsman house, set back from Lincoln Boulevard in the Venice Walk Streets. Here we will host rotating exhibits and private sales for emerging and mid-career artists, with the addition of a no-cost, no obligation artist residency in the adjoining carriage house.
Iris Project is the result of a lengthy examination of the changing landscape of the contemporary art world, questioning and imagining what an art gallery can and should be. What relationship should a gallery have to artists and patrons, what role can it serve in the community? What does an art gallery mean in the age of social media, online auctions and weekly art fairs? Two years of gallery visits and art fairs predictably led to even more questions and lengthier conversations. Without expectation of definitive answers, Iris Project will attempt to find a new way forward, responsive to the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in.
With Thanks: The Iris name and logo are an overt homage to Billy Al Bengston, with thanks, praise, and permission. He taught me early on to do my own thing, not to chase after other people, and fifteen years later I might have started to listen. Using his Iris image as the basis of our graphic identity is an acknowledgement of his wisdom, idiocy, and charm. Iris Project is a way to sharing just a few of the lessons Billy has taught me, lessons that can’t (and shouldn’t) be distilled into words. Yes, there will be coffee.