For the last decade I’ve been serving as one of the curators at a the Window Gallery, an exhibit space for new instruments and sound art. It’s a project of the Center for New Music in San Francisco, housed in the Center’s location in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The gallery isn’t large – a room of just about 8′ x 12′ — but the space has a very nice feeling to it, because the entirety of the 12-foot front wall is a window looking out onto SF’s Taylor Street, like a big department store display window. Everyday people passing by on the street can take in the exhibits, just as can musical sophisticates visiting inside the Center for New Music.
The gallery first opened in 2012, and the main curators since then have been David Samas and myself, with lots of help from a rotating cast of additional team members, notably Brent Miller and Adam Fong, director and director emeritus of the Center for New Music. We’ve had some great shows featuring lots of local makers, plus a smaller number of shows for people from afar; mostly living artisans and musicians but a few retrospectives for instrument-making forebears; a few already-famous types but mostly people who should be more famous; a nice mix of acoustic work and electronic; a nice mix of musically oriented work and more conceptual or abstract sound art; a nice mix of high tech and low. For all of them we’ve had artist’s receptions with performances, demonstrations and interviews to augment the exhibit content and bring people together. I won’t name names here, but you can see the list of who has shown on the gallery’s Past Exhibits page linked above.
It’s all been great. But notice that I’m speaking mostly in the past tense. After a decade-plus of involvement with the Window Gallery I’ll be curating my last show there in a few months, at the end of 2023. At the time of this writing, it’s hoped that the gallery will continue with David Samas and perhaps other curators, but this is not certain; I’ll post an update on that when things are more sure.
One of the very nicest things about the Window Gallery has been the way that it has fostered a sense of connectedness among sound artists and instrument makers in the SF bay area and beyond, and how it has helped in the exchange of ideas and resources among us. That’s the part I’ll miss most. My thanks and gratitude spill out to all who’ve been part of this venture. May it continue.