Photographer Wing Young Huie
is moving from his Seward gallery space to a new location on 38th and Chicago. As a way to celebrate the change, he's having a sale this weekend where he'll be selling hundreds of photographs at up to 40 percent off. Huie is set to move on May 1, with the launch party at the new gallery happening soon after. His new space is much larger, and the artist plans to host monthly performances, ping pong games, and karaoke.
Huie says he's been thinking about moving for a number of years. His hope is to create a communal space, using the sociological term "third space," meaning apart from the first space (home) and second space (work). He experimented with the idea of a third space with the University Avenue Project
, last year's monumental public art exhibit that ran along University Avenue in St. Paul. As its centerpiece was a site where images were projected on a 40-foot screen. The spot, located at a used car dealership across the street from Wal-Mart, was open five nights a week and became a communal space for over 5,000 people.The University Avenue Project
also hosted a cabaret once a month.
Huie says that he had hoped the projection site could have been more of a communal space than it ended up being. "It became more of a spectator space."
He hopes his new gallery will be more interactive, inciting creative processes, and offering a place for people to hang out. The gallery will be located at 3738 Chicago Avenue South. The main space is 1,000 square feet, with a basement underneath that is 750 square feet, almost tripling the amount of room Huie has at his current gallery.
Though not a traditional performance space, the photographer hopes to host salon-style events, where a playwright might do a showing of scenes from a work-in-progress, for example.
Moving to a new gallery is "an end of something and a beginning of something," Huie says. The move, Huie hopes, will mark a shift in focus in what he does. In the past, his income has depended on grants, especially for the many public art projects that he has spearheaded, but he says grant writing is tough to sustain. While he has had a gallery for nine years, he has spent most of his time on larger-scale projects. "I don't want to apply for grants anymore," Huie says. "Hopefully I can support what I do."
"It's time to take a step back and disseminate what I do," he says, "and make a living on what I've done rather than what I'm going to do." It's the business of being an artist, and Huie is building up his business so that he can fund his own projects, have his own publications, and host shows several times a year.
Huie has a vast archive to draw from, and he plans to find different themes to organize around showings, such as immigration or homelessness.
His path has not been a typical one. He realized early on that he couldn't just move to New York, get shown at galleries, and sell his photographs to wealthy people. "A lot of art is driven by exclusivity. My work is driven by accessibility," he says. His art has affordable prices. His constituency isn't collectors, but people who often don't buy a lot of art.
Huie hopes that by creating a communal space for events and socialization, he'll provide more opportunities for people to see and purchase his pieces. For a sneak peak at his work at a discount, check out his sale this weekend at his Seward gallery at 2525 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. The sale runs Saturday, April 23 and Sunday April 24 from noon to 6 p.m. For information, call 612.817.2771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.