Installations are large-scale, often immersive environments that visitors can enter and explore.
Site-specific means that a work of art has been designed for an existing space. It is different from an artist creating a sculpture in his or her studio that could later be placed in any museum or gallery. The space is linked to the work of art in a unique way from its very conception. The space shapes the work and vice versa.
No, we do not accept unsolicited proposals. We seek out and commission artists whose work fits specific criteria relating to Rice Gallery's architectural space, educational mission, and audience outreach.
Rice Gallery invites one artist at a time to create a large-scale installation for our 40 x 44 foot space. We invite artists who live outside of Texas who have generally never had a major show in the state. We invite a range of artists from young, emerging artists who have not had a major museum exhibition to more established artists seeking a unique opportunity.
Every artist comes for a site visit to see Rice Gallery and visit Rice's campus. A site visit is essential to understand the qualities of the gallery in person. The defining feature of the gallery is its glass wall, and how it looks out to a foyer and exterior courtyard. It creates a visual continuum from the inside to the outside of the space. Because of this glass wall, everything in the gallery can be seen from the foyer area which is a thoroughfare for students, faculty, and staff in Sewall Hall, the larger academic building in which the gallery resides. Anyone passing through the building can see the artist at work and can see the creation of an installation from start to finish.
Rice Gallery artists are given a materials budget to create their installation and a modest honorarium. To document the finished installation, they are given a set of professional photographs, a documentary video, and a full-color catalogue.
The material budget is far from exorbitant, and Rice Gallery artists find ingenious ways to do a lot with a little. From cardboard to dirt to plastic sheeting, many installation artists take common, everyday or discarded materials and transform them into complex installations. For example, Tara Donovan used thousands of drinking straws to create an ineffable experience that reminded some of a snow drift or wisps of fog, and El Anatsui explored complex ideas of division and permeable boundaries all with the metal tops from liquor bottles.
Exhibition costs are covered by Rice Gallery patron and member contributions. This generous support makes what we do possible.
Rice Gallery is a lab for research and experimentation. A temporary installation relieves an artist of the pressure to make something archival or salable, and it removes the logistical difficulty of creating a large-scale work that has to be made with plans for shipping and storing in mind.
Like a live symphony performance or a fading sunset, a temporary installation is an experience that gains meaning through its finite nature. With each changing installation, the gallery space becomes a blank page and ready for the next idea, challenge, and moment of inspiration.