What’s the role of the art gallery in the 21st century? Why are some artists successful, while others spin their wheels, forever seeking career satisfaction? For Austin Thomas, artist and owner-director of Pocket Utopia Gallery, the art world is a kind of ecosystem, and we are all viable elements within it, sustaining it and make it whole.
In this intimate conversation with Thomas that took place at Pocket Utopia—the gallery she started in Bushwick and then moved to the Lower East Side—you’ll glean some of the answers. Full disclosure: Thomas and I are recent collaborators; on August 4, we conducted a mind-blowing, four-hour lab session with nine artists called “Session One” of “Pocket U-niverse-ity.” To put it simply, we felt we could forge a radical anti-grad-school form of collaborative learning whereby an art gallery serves as the hardware, the art market serves as the software, and the artists provide the content.