Gallery workers in the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center pose with Kate Mothes following her presentation

Curator brings innovation to galleries

On Feb. 18, the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC) hosted Kate Mothes, who is the founder of “Young Space,” a compilation of projects that mainly focuses on independently curating an online platform of emerging artists in today’s society. One of the art world’s leading curators and influencers gave a presentation to students on what running online, media enterprise takes in an ever-changing market.

Shortly after graduate school, Mothes created Young Space in order to create an archive of artists and works that also serve as a social networking tool. The curatorial project takes shape in a variety of ways by serving as a website, Instagram empire and site-specific project. Her curatorial project has raised in popularity, taking applications in order to be featured on
the platforms.

“The artists that I share on the website specifically usually apply to be featured on the website. So there’s a submission form that they can fill out and share their work with me. Sometimes I’ll approach for that but that turned into that format because there’s so much and I was getting so many emails, people questioning or asking ‘How can I get featured on your project?’ And the way that I find out about work is also when people just send me the submissions,” Mothes said.

Mothes uses Instagram as a main platform for the project that follows alongside the website. “@yngspc” is one of art’s most leading accounts on Instagram with around 81,500 followers. Mothes uses the social media platform as a primary tool to archive and share artists while also being able to contact artists and galleries through direct message. Calls for entries are also posted for shows that Mothes curates online
and on-site. “I’m really fascinated by online shows at the moment. I think that they’re still a very new idea in general, and I think a lot of actual galleries that have physical spaces are also kind of grappling with what it means to have an online presence for their work because there is still a little bit of a disconnect between work that exists in the real world,” Mothes said, noting on current projects. “How that translates from the real world to a digital world and can you display work online where it means the same thing in person as it
does online.”

The works chosen for each exhibition go through an open call, so artists submit their works that they feel best represent them. Mothes then curates each show based on themes or trends that emerge from the entries. Works chosen are not necessarily the best out of all entries but come together to make a cohesive show. This system is used in both her online and on-site shows.

The Young Space project allows for leeway in the typical art show narrative that hinders some artists from being able to participate and viewers to see. 

“I’m really interested also, increasingly, in the idea of access. And not everybody can get to every gallery show ever … there’s these various levels to access, but the thing with the internet is that it’s not perfect. There’s still barriers to certain access but you can see so much theoretically online, on a website or on Instagram. You don’t have to physically be in the space, so I think it opens up the potential for audiences to experience work. It’s not the same but it’s still there for them to view,” Mothes said.

Mothes’ curatorial work will soon be seen in the main gallery of the JDAC for its upcoming show, “Memory Palace.” This exhibition will feature national artists that revolve around the theme of memory and nostalgia. The exhibition will open March 1 with a reception at 6 p.m.