This story originally published as BREAKING NEWS on November 28, 2017. It has since been updated. As of last Friday, Carlos Iglesias reported: “It’s been nuts, in a great way!”
A chat with co-curator/artist William Wray
By Janice Bremec Blum
Pink. It’s not just for girls anymore!
The color pink as well as its varieties that range from bubble gum to flamingo to cherry blossom, is most often associated with little girls and their delicate femininity. But when you give the color to a group of creative, visual artists and ask what pink represents to them, you enter into the color behind the color. Meet William Wray, artist and co-curator of the Pink Pop-Up show happening at the Castelli Art Space in Culver City, California.
I sat down with Wray as he and a team of people were preparing the gallery for their Pink show. Sitting on an outside patio next to a wall of sparkly, pink curtains, I simply asked, “Why pink?”
“It’s a common thing in the gallery world to have a theme. I detest themes.” Wray gives a chuckle and a smirk. “Generally, they’re a choice to get commercial attention hoping for salability.” Wray tells me. “But I wanted to have a theme that didn’t tie the hands of the artist in any way.”
From that declaration, the only instruction the artists were given by Wray and his co-curator Carlos Iglesias, was to present a piece that has pink in there somewhere. Whether that meant a painting of the vocal artist Pink or the look of a healthy glow, the choice was up to the artist. As I walked through the gallery still in the process of getting assembled for the show, there was indeed a plethora of pink in all its glory. “Pink,” Wray explains, “is going away from being just a ‘girl’ color and being an everybody color.”
At the Pink Show, there is only one agenda on the table which, I’m told, has nothing to do with the title. It’s about how all art can live together in harmony.
“There’s a certain kind of classism in the art world.” Wray explains. “A lot of very contemporary art might not be so open to art that is narrative or illustrative. Oftentimes, there’s a sense that that world may be left out of a certain kind of art gallery or a show. And vice versa. There could be a more conservative gallery that may embrace the noble savage type of stuff which is the opposite extreme. I’m looking to be in the middle.”
In the “Pink Manifesto” defining the philosophy of this show, the question about the controversy of different concepts of art is addressed clearly. “Can very contemporary art live in the same room with cartoon surrealism and some variation of narrative traditional art without the room bursting into flame?” Looking at the various “pink” work that was still being hung on the walls, I can assure you that the local fire department need not be on speed dial. From what I’ve seen so far, the work is magnificent. Classic. Whimsical. Surprising. Unique.
And all pink. The wide realm of artistic expression by some of today’s leading artists rest upon the unifying comfort of that color.
“Curating an art show with such varying artists,” says Wray, “is somewhat like trying to seat a family at a dinner.” Whereas, according to the manifesto, this show, “gives many disparate artists a chance to eat together at the same table,” placing the art around the gallery takes a meticulous eye making sure that everything is complimentary and hostility is left at the curb. It’s about finding the balance. “We look forward to the tension of the merry go round of possibilities,” states Wray.
Before leaving, Wray couldn’t impress upon me enough the immense gratitude that he has for all of the contributing artists. There is diversity not just in the artistic expression of the color pink, but also within the artists themselves. Collectively, Wray feels that this collaboration encompasses narrative + contemporary + skill + technique. A winning combination for a pink-tastic show!
Janice Bremec Blum is Editor in Chief at TribeLA Magazine. This multi-talented artist is an MFA graduate from Antioch University and creative writing is her domain. Janice’s work will debut under “Meet LA’s new voices of fiction in 2018.” Her extensive background as a makeup artist in the Hollywood entertainment industry has allowed her to write a book on makeup and beauty, soon to be released. A die-hard romantic, she and her husband Hunter (both art collectors) live in Los Angeles. You can contact Janice at firstname.lastname@example.org.