Written By: Danielle Toriumi
The Mills College Art Museum has long been the center of campus art culture, but with the unveiling of Slide Space 123 – a new community-based exhibition space open to students, faculty and non-Mills artists – this might all change.
Located in the Aron Art Center, Slide Space 123 opened its doors on Sept. 14 to an exhibit called “(Intro) Writing’s On the Wall” that is available for viewing until Oct. 21. The opening show will feature both local and international artists that focus on themes of identity. The news of this show caught the attention of KQED and was featured in one of its articles that highlighted anticipated local shows and exhibitions for this September.
Upon realizing the neglect of the visual slides that the room once housed, Catherine Wagner, Mills College studio art department head, made the decision to transform the old visual resources department into Slide Space 123, due to its proximity to the other studios and the Art Museum.
Isabelle Chiosso, faculty administrative assistant of the department of art & art history, describes Slide Space 123 as the ideal space.
“Before its formation, we saw a desire to utilize and activate the space in ways that could be shared within a community unlike a space found within formal gallery settings,” Chiosso said.
The exhibition space is divided into two main sections. The first is the main entrance area, a well-lit space with the specific intention of showcasing artworks ranging from paintings, sculptures, photographs and performance art. The second space is known as the black box, a darkened room that artists can utilize for video projections and installations.
Deciding on the name Slide Space 123 was, as Wagner describes it, “a very organic transition.” Due to its history of being a slide library that contained over 160,000 images and slides (which have since been digitized) and the room number literally being 123 – Slide Space 123 was born.
“Within this space, students will be able to experiment with ideas in a more formal and professional setting outside of their own studios,” Wagner said.
Wagner also adds that Slide Space 123 will give individuals an opportunity to refine and rethink their ideas while encouraging artists to work collaboratively. Through this new space, artists will develop a gathering space on campus for individuals from all backgrounds.
The current exhibit was curated by Jackie Im, Mills alumna and co-founder and director of Et al. and Et al. etc. in San Francisco. A press release for the event described the exhibit as featuring art and artists “who grapple with how they are defined, whether by religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.”
A few of these featured artists include Mills alumni Sofía Córdova, California artists Nicki Green and Lauren Halsey, as well as New York artists Masami Kubo and Laylah Ali, and South African artist and activist Zanele Muholi.
Slide Space 123 has a number of exhibits planned for the rest of the semester, and will continue to provide open opportunities to artists inside and outside the Mills community. Wagner and the Slide Space 123 committee are still currently in the process of defining a system and set of parameters for scheduling future shows, events and programs.