We’ve all heard of them, and probably even been to one. You might haven even spoken about it with your friends and organised a night out at the latest and trendiest pop-up restaurant/gallery. The premise sounds fine, and all of those who visit usually have a rad time. BUT…
What does the ‘pop-up’ say about the state of business for the creative industries? Our main contention with this temporary concept, it the lack of longevity given to dedicated professional artists. As makers and creators of quality art, it is disheartening to think artwork is popularly accepted as nothing more than a space filler and light entertainment. Art has a tangible effect on those who consume and enjoy it and for professional artists, art is more than pretty and palatable pictures at some trendy warehouse, it’s an income and a culture. By making art fit into the paradigm of the pop-up shop, it limits and constrains artists and art.
“But wait a minute.” I hear you say. “What about the flexibility and providing a platform for emerging artists?” Sure, there are some positives about the pop-up, otherwise it wouldn’t be popular. What we don’t appreciate at The Sauce Studio is how these pop-ups usually come together. In our experience, it is less about curating quality and more about who is friends with whom and who is cooler than whom. And, if an artist does get the opportunity to showcase their talent, more often than not they’re exploited and expected to work for free, which is not cool. Not cool at all. Just ask any mirco-business owner or emerging artist how many hours they put into their work, and how much profit they actually make. For sustainability and longevity, emerging artists need a hand up, not a hand out. As far as flexibility is concerned, this is a false assumption. Again, in our experience at The Sauce Studio this has not been the case, especially in relation to the types of art shown in the pop-up environment. The pop-up paradigm is really more about the cool kids wanting to label and control their own expectations of what art is and can be. Trust us, the number of times we’ve been rejected or excluded from these types of events is ridiculous.
Long story short, pop-up shops and galleries are devaluing art, reinforcing mainstream trends and are based on high school clique. Which is why we decided to open The Sauce Studio. At The Sauce Studio, we don’t rely on grants, funding or donations from the public, we’re an established business with overheads and mortgage payments, just like evey other business owner.