"Mauve?" is the name of a small art gallery that sits in an office building that is otherwise not unlike any other office building, anywhere. Floor upon floor, each laid out with rows and rows of nearly identical modules known as "cubicles," little boxes where work happens. Amidst this sea of cubes, there is one whose walls and open spaces have been dedicated to bringing art to the office. Every month, this cube unveils a new show of works by a different artist, with the unveiling generating a small buzz throughout the building of people discussing their thoughts about the artwork in hallways, stairwells, and breakrooms. Each show stays up for four weeks, allowing everyone a good chance to study and appreciate the work, and often people in the office are so interested in what they've seen that they're inspired to seek more of the artists' works online and in other places.
Aside from our homes, our cubicles are one of the few spaces most of us have to decorate or personalize as we see fit (without getting arrested for vandalism). And, unlike our homes, the cubicle is more open to the public, with co-workers and other office inhabitants passing by regularly. People's cubes take on various personalities -- some people will decorate with pictures of family and pets, some will post up graphs, keyboard shortcuts, workflow charts, and other work-related items, and some will leave their walls completely bare. But here at mauve?, it occurred to us to use this space where we spend so much of our day to make the world just a tiny bit brighter and more interesting. We decided to turn this otherwise unused space into a vehicle to bring the artwork of up-and-coming artists to an appreciative and supportive audience.
The people who work in this office -- researchers, data analysts, I.T. workers, and the like -- do not seem at first like the stereotypical audience for new art. But, as it turns out, art practice and art appreciation is everywhere. Since we started curating shows in a cubicle, co-workers have stopped by not only to admire the work, but to tell me about their own side-projects -- painting, drawing, singing, printmaking. Hopefully soon some of them will feel ready to show their own work here!
Meanwhile, wonderful, talented, brilliant artists from near and far away who have heard about our little gallery have been thrilled at the opportunity to share their work with an audience they might otherwise not have reached, and to connect with people in the course of their everyday lives. It has been incredibly fulfilling to be involved in bringing these artists' work to the people I work alongside every day. See the end of this post for a listing of all of the shows that have appeared at mauve? gallery.
As mauve? continues to grow in reputation, I hope we can not only continue to attract amazing artists to show their work in this humble space, but also to inspire other cubicle-workers in other offices to do something similar. And hopefully, over time, as office landscapes get dotted with cubicle galleries, we can make office buildings acceptable venues for artwork beyond commisioned lobby sculptures and motivational posters in the hallways. There are, as I've found, more than enough artists doing really great work, and quite a bit of interest in seeing that work.
Here is a (continually updated) list of the artists whose works have appeared at mauve?:
The Stanhope Centre for Transcendental Studies
Jana Moffett McClure
Rosalie Z Fanshel
Brendan Bock and Gabriella Guthrie
Luca Antonucci and Carissa Potter
Amber Jean Young
Chelsea Ryoko Wong
Katie Hoffman and Matt McKenzie
Paloma Checa Gismero
If you are an artist and are interested in showing your work at mauve?, please email us!