Since May, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has been hosting informal meetings with the founders of several local art collectives, and it’s evolved into a collaborative project dubbed Think Tank. Rebecca Handelsman, an MCASD spokesperson and one of the organizers, says that ongoing collaborations between the museum and San Diego’s arts organizations is the goal; the museum’s interested in serving local artists despite its limited exhibition space, she says.
The creative minds behind Think Tank include MCASD’s Robert Pincus, Jill Dawsey and Cris Scorza; Perry Vasquez, co-director of Southwestern College; and representatives of 20 of San Diego’s edgier arts organizations, including The Spot, Periscope Project and Double Break Gallery.
Think Tank had been working on a zine that explores these alternative art outlets when Laurie Mitchell from the city of San Diego’s Arts and Culture Commission reached out about a public art exhibit she’s helping organize called Art Boxed. The exhibit includes nine POD storage units that are being transformed by local artists into mini-galleries that will pop up throughout San Diego during Fall for the Arts month.
Think Tank seized the opportunity to take its zine, Other Ideas, and apply it to a POD for a virtual newsstand that visitors can check out along with the eight other Art Boxed concepts at the Fall for the Arts kickoff party happening from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at Liberty Station. Art galleries will also be open for tours that night, and the nine PODs will remain on view until Oct. 12, before being transported to several of the sites highlighted in Other Ideas. The schedule and artist lineup is available at artboxedsd.com.
Vasquez is the volunteer editor of Other Ideas who, in conversations between MCASD and the art groups, came up with a series of questions for each organization to answer about its identity. Ten establishments will each get two pages in the zine—including a space for art—for a profile, Vasquez says, based on answers to his questions.
“Not everyone in the group will be represented with pages in the zine,” Vasquez says. “So, to give it a broader interest, we’re creating a map of the 20 organizations that fall into the category of being critical, alternative art spaces in San Diego.”
Event-goers can pick up a map at the kickoff party and peer into the souls of the 10 profiled groups. Using an informal medium like a zine was important to Think Tank; it conveys the casual “getting to know you” conversations that have been taking place for the past five months, Vasquez says.
That’s not to say the eight or so questions aren’t provocative. “What does a good idea look, sound, feel, smell and taste like?” is one; “Which ideas have corrupted your organization for better or worse?” is another.
“It’s been important as an experiment; it’s allowed us to get to know each other, collaborate and build a network,” Vasquez says.