Car Gallery Takes Art On the Road

by Regena Vanostberg

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E. Myrus at his gallery/home

When Masque Gallery was forced to close its doors in the spring of 2009, owner and curator E. Myrus found himself not only without a gallery,
but also without a home. Myrus had maintained a steady schedule of
exhibitions out of his Humboldt Park apartment for two years until the
simultaneous desertion of his roommates and loss of his job put him and
his art out on the street. The deepening recession forced Myrus to
rethink his curatorial approach and contend with some major issues in
art exhibition - operating on a small budget while still managing to
bring art to the masses - and lead to his re-opening as Masque Mobile
in June 2009, part of a recent explosion in car galleries throughout the city.

Car galleries draw their philosophy in part from alternative exhibiting groups like [prak-sis] who stage shows in non-gallery
spaces left vacant by the poor economy. This vision of taking art to
the streets is combined with the intimacy of exhibiting in the place
where one lives, as Myrus - like many car gallery owners - has had to live out of his gallery for the past three months while

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E. Myrus discusses work at Masque Gallery

waiting for his employment situation to improve. Myrus embraces the close-quarters of his car,
saying it allows him to connect with visitors and artists on a more
visceral level. Mari Ferruso, a recent graduate of the School of the
Art Institute, wrote in her thesis - "Ultimate Road Trip: The Rise of
Automobile Curating" - that "car galleries are
some of the most important, growing art spaces in Chicago," predicting
their expansion to other urban environments by the end of the year.
Chicago already boasts three other such spaces, and Myrus hopes to
bring other car gallery owners together for a collaborative group exhibition staged in any number of empty lots around the city.

It is this extreme mobility and flexibility that makes these
galleries so successful. Visitors can track the current location of
Masque Mobile via Myrus's Twitter as it constantly updates with
coordinates sent from his GPS phone. Myrus is able to strategically
place his gallery wherever the latest hot spot
is on any given Friday night, or according to the work he has on
display: one weekend he's parked at the corner of Fulton Market and
Morgan, the next, at a metered space outside the Chicago and Franklin
Starbucks. So far, artists have been excited about the possibilities of
working with both the car's interior and its
exterior form. Masque Mobile's fall schedule includes a line up of
installation, video, and performance, in addition to a steady rotation
of painters, printmakers, and graffiti artists.

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Tags: E. Myrus, hoax, Masque Gallery

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