This weekend, Danielle Vu will pack her bags and her favorite people (artists and otherwise) and take them by the hand to a Washington DC creative island in New York City, where she is curating a District grown art show “YOU ARE HERE:WASHINGTON THIS”, which opens this Saturday at DORIAN GREY GALLERY on 437 E.9th Street, NY.
The show, which has been getting some solid gold buzz, both locally and up north, is intended to celebrate the “works (that) make a statement of what it’s like to live in a city where arts are often overlooked and the front page is instead embroiled with the latest congressional scandal” and in true DC-sticks-together fashion will be accompanied by even more things DC: Literary journal The Folly will provide a few issues on hand, homegrown brewery DC Brau will provide refreshments and DC rockers Shark Week (alongside NYC’s Cracked Latin) will be performing the afterparty at Lit Lounge.
We sat down with Danielle to talk about how the show came together, the artists she chose to participate in it and well, what’s next after this. And hey-there’s still time to plan a road-trip up to it.
BYT: So, Danielle-tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, how did you get involved in the DC art world etc…
Danielle Vu: I am originally from Los Angeles and moved to DC three years ago. Although I have appreciated the arts and have gone to numerous openings around the city, this exhibit is my first time being hands-on in the DC art world.
BYT: How did the idea of YOU ARE HERE:WASHINGTON DC hatch? Do you remember the exact moment it happened or is this something you’ve been thinking of doing for a while now?
DV: The idea of You Are Here: Washington DC was hatched with the owners of the Dorian Grey Gallery in NYC. They are personal friends of mine, and I was telling them about the (then) upcoming (e)merge fair; and how, in general, the art scene in DC is growing and getting more interesting and diverse over dinner one evening this summer. The next day, the DGG called me and said “I want to do a show in my gallery showing all artists based in DC. Can you curate one for me?” I am always interested in trying something new to push my own personal boundaries, so I happily agreed and dove into it.
BYT: Tell us a little bit about the name…
DV: The name of the show is rooted in a photograph that is in the show that depicts one of the ubiquitous Metrobus maps with an arrow bearing the inscription “You Are Here.” I think outsiders perceive DC as a city with nothing but politics and touristy monuments, and I hope the name reinforces the notion that people really do live and create here in our nation’s capital.
BYT: Why NY? Will DC itself get a chance to see the show?
DV: Well, NYC was an obvious choice since the Dorian Grey Gallery is located there and NYC is the center of the fine art world! The gallery is open to the public so if anyone from DC would like to see the exhibit, they are more than welcome to. In fact, the DC DJ duo BlueBrain is coincidentally having a launch party for their Central Park app and rented buses for the occasion. They heard about my art opening and have now made it a stop on their itinerary; so there will be at least 50 people from DC being bused in for the show! In terms of bringing the show to DC, there are no plans to do so.
BYT: Tell us a little bit about the artists involved? How did you select them and why?
DV: I really wanted to showcase the diversity of the DC art scene so each piece (I hope) is unique and let’s each artist stand out in his/her own right. There is a mix of new and established artists. Some are young, while others have lots of life experience to share. The selection process started with my friends whose work I admire, followed by word-of-mouth recommendations and lots and lots of Internet research.
BYT: There’s quite the DC exodus to NYC this weekend, you have bands, The Folly, DC Brau etc joining you-how did you create this, so to speak, DC dream team to go?
DV: I’ve been very fortunate that everyone I asked to be a part of this project has been extremely excited about it and immediately said yes. I think the artistic community in DC is united in the sense we are tired of being overlooked by the political/government industry, so everyone was happy to be recognized and part of this ambitious project.
BYT: What are your goals with the show?
DV: My main goal with the show is to help promote the artists involved and showcase them on a larger platform (NYC) which will hopefully help them build their careers. On a more figurative level, I’m tired of the cliché that DC is drab and full of bureaucratic wonks that wear suits all day and have no real passions. I am hoping that this show, and all the other awesome DC things surrounding it, will help dispel this stereotype.
BYT: What did you learn in the process of organizing this…
DV: This is my first foray into the fine art world, so from that alone I have learned a lot. There are very delicate relationships between galleries, curators, artists and media, so I had to learn very quickly to balance all these components in the show. But a bigger lesson I learned was that the creative industry in DC is very united and supportive of each other. It was very inspiring to see their enthusiasm to help me make this show possible.
BYT: What has it been like promoting this in NYC? Is the show getting press or is it more of a grassroots effort?
DV: The show has definitely been getting press! I’ve been very happy with the media response and I’ve had a few NYC-based “corporate” outlets do stories on it. It’s been a mix of both grassroots and corporate responses and we are happy with both realms of media who have offered to cover this show.
BYT: I say “DC Art” you say….
DV: …amazing, diverse, interesting, exciting
BYT: What are, in your opinion, some of the DC Art events and artists to keep an eye on as 2011 ends and 2012 begins?
DV: I am by no means an expert on the DC art scene so I do not feel qualified to answer this question in any meaningful way.
BYT: What next?
DV: I really don’t know! I guess it depends on the response that this exhibit receives. Although I am having tremendous fun curating and organizing this show, my true passion is music so I am planning to focus on my band Shark Week in the immediate future.(Trevor Young – Olivia) (Ryan Florig – Respect Please)
BYT: And finally….a shout out (to anyone, anything etc)
DV: First and foremost a major shout out to the Dorian Grey Gallery for putting on the show, as well as their support and excitement about it. Thank you to the artists involved who had faith and trusted me to promote their work. DC Brau gets huge props for donating refreshments for the opening party. Huge shout out to BlueBrain for organizing buses to stop by the show and the after party. And thank you DC for being such an awesome place to live and create – everyone thought I was crazy for leaving LA but three years later I am proud to call DC my home.
SHOW DETAILS:You Are Here: Washington DC October 15 – November 13, 2011 Dorian Grey Gallery (437 E. 9th Street, New York, NY) Opening reception: October 15, 6 – 9 pm Featuring works by Billy Colbert, Lily Desaussure, Ryan Florig, Marissa Long, Joey Manlapaz, Alexa Meade, Adrian Parsons and Trevor Young Curated by Danielle Vu