Thursday, July 30, 2020

Simone DeSousa Gallery to close its exhibition space, another small business closes during COVID

Images above include a shot of me n Simone in 2014 at my second solo show in the space that’s closing
I know it’s just high ceiling white walls, and @SimoneDeSousaGallery can be proud of being at this spot for a decade, but in the context of ppl talking about trying to support Black owned businesses I can’t not think about Simone DeSousa Gallery as being run by an immigrant, a woman of color (Do we have another word for POC that’s not white-centric yet?) and the difference/disparity of connections and wealth that other galleries enjoy that will weather this COVID storm.

I vividly think about #SimoneDeSousa working so hard to get publications made, international connections, things that those with deeper pockets, bigger names, wouldn’t bat an eye at being able to produce on a whim.

Anyone else hear about the gallery that refused approved PPE loans because their rich family refused such handouts, so... instead the director fired all of the staff who made the gallery run? What if that gallery could’ve taken the loan and their privilege to pay the staff that would be hit the hardest and have THAT go forward as the gallery’s image...

Getting help from artists Karianne Spens-Hanna and Alissa R Lamarre, but also a shout out to the help me and my art has gotten from artist Virginia Torrence too!


it reminds me that #SpiralCollective also used to be on this block with #Goodwells (RIP vegan pocket sandwich) and even longer ago there was Willis Gallery, and of course before that, a place of trade for Indian/Indigenous people, the ‘Three Fires People’ (Ojibwe, Odawa and Botawatami.) There’s a quote I came across that was chilling, look up its context some time: “I had an elder tell me one time that we were conquered by our own love. And I believe that.” - Sue Franklin

I feel lucky to have been represented by Simone who is more concerned about trying to figure out how to support more artists of color than how the gallery might look after posting Black Lives Matter to all of the gallery’s followers…

So I do think that this is kindof a big deal that Simone DeSousa's exhibition space is coming to a close because without loans/support/a flush backer, it simply can't survive the pandemic, when other newer galleries will have benefited from galleries run by POC making something ‘a cool place to be’… 

What if these galleries were to take this time and reflect on the loss of Simone DeSousa’s space and with intention function less competitively, y'know kindof like the artists we know in Detroit? (To show support for how prior to her success maybe ya’ll didn’t think it was safe to open a contemporary gallery in the city...)

Thank Simone for her vision by giving the kind of support that you get automatically. Offer the grant writer or banker you pay that may know of an opportunity for small businesses that she wasn’t able to land, help to partially fund upcoming projects so she doesn’t shoulder that burden on her own funds, have information about ‘Editions’ at your own counter and tell people that Simone DeSousa Gallery had to close down the main gallery space and that is that spaces/projects run by people of color of too few and far between in this city with these demographics.

Kindof my 4th show that I put on with the gallery, was curating 'Over Over Over', this is an image of one of many banners by Ross Sinclair

wonky mini concrete pillars I imagined for future fundraisers for Simone, still available at Editions!

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