This Was FUTURE PRESENCE 4...and this was The FUTURE PRESENCE Gallery

This Thursday, from 6-11PM, in an old Northeast Minneapolis building that has come to be known as The FUTURE PRESENCE Gallery, an art show called FUTURE PRESENCE 4 is closing.  Unfortunately for myself, and for the many artists, performers and visitors who have supported it, the Gallery itself may also be closing. Just one week after receiving 'BEST NEW GALLERY 2011', we were informed by our landlord that our verbal agreement had ended, and that the space we occupy will be turned into apartments.  This post is not meant to be a call to arms or a complaint, but rather a reflection on the impermanence of art, scenes and time.

First off, I would like to clarify that we are not completely sure that we are closing, at least not yet.  Our landlord has told us several times that he would like to develop the space, and since he has not yet, we have been lucky enough to remain here.  FUTURE PRESENCE was always intended to be a temporary and traveling group show and not a Gallery at all. But as we were allowed to stay, our visions of what the space could become and its impact on the local art scene got bigger. Our policy to improve the space one large project per show slowly drywalled new walls, built bathrooms, fixed toilets, and refinished entire new rooms. By the time we opened our doors for FUTURE PRESENCE 4, we had a well-lit, open white showspace, a grindhouse-style movie screening room and a bonified music and performance basement we called The EON Soundspace (a title taken from a grafitti tag on the front of the building). Now seeing the progress we have made we would like to stay, even though it was never meant to be permanent. I see this as art evolving, out of necessity of course, but by taking an idea to its natural conclusion and also leaving a positive impact to our Northeast neighbors.

Northeast Minneapolis itself is a prime example of this.  One of the oldest areas in the Twin Cities, it was not really on many people's radars in the 90's. The local corner bars, a relic mostly lost in South Minneapolis, had not been invaded by kids from across the river and their Music and Trivia Nights weekends. It wasn't until the industrial loftspaces of Downtown and The Warehouse District began getting snatched up by developers that many artists and musicians began to look North for cheaper, available workspaces.  Just like the Soho and Chelsea neighborhoods of Manhattan in the 80's that were filled with working artists that made them cool, hip and trendy places, the arts transformed Northeast Minneapolis and brought a new life and community to the area. Art changes things, usually for the better. But art often thrives when artists can work without strains of high-rent and living costs, and fails under monetary pressure. Similar Minneapolis project spaces ART OF THIS and TARNISH AND GOLD Gallery (who I absolutely think were two of the most solid and exciting Galleries in their prime years) faced similar fates; after revamping spaces and attracting more retail interest, they could no longer afford to stay in a spaces that they had improved, victims of their own success. Both groups are still in operation though, each with their own style and artists and supporters. The only thing that would really be ending is THE FUTURE PRESENCE GALLERY, which after the work we have put in would be disheartening. But the group of artists the space was able to assemble will surely have been influenced by each other, exchanged ideas, enjoyed their time together, and will show work together again at other venues.  The saddest part would be if the only thing that was holding this group together was a building.

Now to our friend MONOLOG, performing during the event as part of the FREAKONOMIQUE Experimental Music Series.  No one is quite sure who s/he/they are, and as it has become a closely guarded secret, I will not reveal this either.  I do know that I became aware of MONOLOG the way most people find music they love - through friends with similar interests. After hearing her/his/their music, I struck up a conversation and a genuinely collaborative relationship began over a few years. We have created a very FUTURE PRESENCE-style set for the show, and are extremely excited to share a completely unique, experimental musical performance that truly could only happen in a raw,space like ours. It could also only have happened with us working together.  I am not at all certain what our interests and styles are as a group...I would say design has influenced our work, as have works of either limited color-palettes or extremely colorful palettes. Other interests lie in technology, futuristic concepts, reflective and shiny materials and finishes, and less distinctively Outsider Art. We all seem to be very connected to musicians and music (even the way we promote our shows, with distinctive flyers that we painstakingly design seems to mirror the way bands promote themselves), and all of us dabble in several mediums.  I have called this style the Untitled Movement in previous posts, and will continue to use this label for convenience and brevity's sake.  It is very Minneapolis, and I think very unique to THE FUTURE PRESENCE GALLERY and the artists we have found, attracted and begged to be in shows with us. And this Thursday might just be your last chance to see it.

So, we are closing. We are just not sure how soon. We will almost certainly retain the space through our next scheduled show, I'M NEW HERE a group show of artists who have made their way from New York to Minneapolis to take advantage of the art-friendly community we have here - a marked reversal of a trend for local artists to "make it" and move to New York. However, I am not sure closing would be the worst possible outcome. Our biggest concern would be finding a venue to guarantee shows to the talented groups that have submitted proposals and have been working with us, a problem which we are trying to solve as it comes. After that, it would just be regrouping of talented, motivated artists to keep creating work like there was a gallery that wanted to show them, no matter how unique their vision and work was. Personally, I would be extremely sad to see it go, yet happy it ever happened - that all of us met for eight short months and created something distinct and energetic and incredible. That we were the best new gallery and flamed out before we got old and started putting on tired, boring shows. And I am also excited to see what we all create next, either alone or together, though hopefully, together.  

See you then.

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