The MAC Reopens in a New Location in The Cedars

Sugar and Spice by Letitia Huckaby

After two years of programming in a raw warehouse at 1601 South Ervay, The MAC will open a new exhibition space, on-campus at 1503 South Ervay St. Reopening at the Northeastern edge of the campus at the corner of S. Ervay and Sullivan and next door to Ro2 Art, the new space offers 2,500 square feet of exhibitions space.

The MAC will have two inaugural exhibitions: Working Groups by Carolyn Sortor and Michael A. Morris in the north gallery; and an all-female group show with Helen Altman, Alicia Eggert, Letitia Huckaby, Liss LaFleur, and Leslie Martinez in the south gallery. Both shows have opening receptions on January 12 from 6-10 and run through February 23.

Working Groups celebrates The MAC’s permanent installation of books and other materials assembled as part of the OccuLibrary project. The show contextualizes these materials and reviews some of the accomplishments of the Occupy movement and its offshoots, seeking empowering info and inspiration for next steps in both art and reality. The OccuLibrary was initiated in 2011 following the eviction of Occupy camps across the U.S. and the destruction of the libraries that had spontaneously sprung up within them (more than 3,000 books were lost in New York City alone). The project was conceived as a rolling collaboration in which various artists were invited to create reincarnations of the destroyed libraries.

The physical library, assembled through donations by the artists and many others for use in various OccuLibrary reincarnations, comprises books on art, politics, economics, philosophy, and other subjects as well as fiction, zines, drawings, and other materials. These now find their permanent home at The MAC and will be available for public use. 

Independence is a group exhibition bringing together Texas-based artists Helen Altman, Alicia Eggert, Letitia Huckaby, Liss LaFleur, and Leslie Martinez. Artists explore the overarching concept of time and the self in relation to society. Works in the exhibition reflect on issues of the times: identity, social dominance, ecological impact, and consumerism.  

These five local artists work in a variety of media to provide artworks that engage the viewer. The exhibition emphasizes The MAC’s roots as a venue devoted to exhibiting local and regional talent. Locally focused programming will continue at The MAC’s new home at 1503 S Ervay, offering the region a venue where immersive and exploratory works can be presented outside the commercial realm.

When asked on what this new space does for The MAC, the opportunities it presents to the community and future programming, Rachel Rogerson the Executive Director of The MAC, brings up this quote from Jaume Plensa from the 1998 exhibition Dallas?…Caracas?: 

“[The MAC]  is a new kind of institution which has the attitude that art is not separated from normal life and [it] is more than a gallery or museum. It is a societal meeting point. The project considers art which is connected to everyday life in the community and not simply that which is contained within the institutions of art. In this way it can open doors.” 

Rogerson goes on to explain, “This assessment of The MAC (formerly The McKinney Avenue Contemporary) and its role in the local art ecosystem is as true today as it ever was. Over the past two and a half years, programming has emphasized the institution’s roots as a platform for local (and regional) artists and stepped outside of the proverbial white cube to meet the community. Over the past three years, we have brought unique, innovative, and important exhibitions and conversations to the community, through partnerships with the Stewpot, Booker T. Washington HSPVA, The Cedars Union, and Aurora. Through exciting exhibitions and events, The MAC has played a vital role in showcasing the vibrant arts community and walkability of the historic Cedars neighborhood.

Programming in and around the raw warehouse space at 1601 S Ervay was exhilarating – it stressed the need for a Dallas venue that centers around regional artists. However, the space was strictly experimental – The MAC’s newly renovated exhibition space at 1503 S Ervay allows us to present more wide-ranging exhibitions and reach a broader audience. The MAC’s new home offers the region an exhibition venue where immersive and exploratory works can be presented outside the commercial realm. We will continue our 25-year history of presenting regional artists. The MAC will also create high profile opportunities for regional artists by exhibiting them side-by-side with artists from afield, setting their work on the world stage and providing a platform for alternative views and voices. Importantly, programming is always free, which is made possible through the support of organizations and individuals who want to see the local arts ecosystem thrive!”

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