GBTH Magazine #7
Oct. 2021

It Is Our Anniversary - And We Have a Gift for You!

WIP of the 4th GBTH x Rachel Breaker exhibition. Snapshot by Marina Münter

Four years is an amazing milestone to reach and I hope for more to come! I’ve been working on the set up for the new round of the GBTH x Rachel Breaker collective 3D exhibition and thinking what could I give to everyone that enjoys the work we do that would not only mark this anniversary but would actively help the Second Life community, based on prior conversations with other residents. 

In these four years of GBTH I’ve been listening to the same question: “Where do you find these artists?” and it has always hit me in a strange way. Not because I didn’t want to “share” the artists that develop an exhibition with us, but because of the sheer idea that there is a secret society that I go to and find promising new names is far from what really happens.

We all have the same tools, but perhaps the approach is different. In my experience, being able to hold a dialogue and share knowledge plays a massive role in the overall outcome, for example. So to celebrate our 4th anniversary, I decided to share four tips that can be helpful if you have a gallery or are thinking about starting one!

Disclaimer: By all means this is not the only way to do art exhibits in Second Life. It is the way that has been working for us at GBTH, based on our focus on democratizing art. Either way, I hope that what I’ve learned so far can help you on your process, and if you’d like to add anything to this list, feel free to write to us on!

Without any more further ados, here they are:

1. Be aware about the space you’re offering, and that it will cost the investment of time and money from all the parts involved.

Being aware doesn’t mean feeling guilty if your space is small, nor anything like that; it is knowing how it can best be used and explored further for each exhibit. Not always a full region for a single exhibition is required and a lot of amazing things can be done in a small space!

2. Do a research on the artist’s previous work (either it is by invitation, so you do it prior to writing to them, or either if they apply to exhibit at your space, so you know what can be expected). It will assure that you’ll have a great show that will also be consistent with the artist’s personal evolution.

Basically means why do you think this certain artist would fit your space, or what about their work catches your eye. As an artist myself it makes the whole difference when I’m approached with a pitch that refers to the work I’ve been developing. It doesn’t have to be an academic essay about the person’s work so far, but punctual observations tend to do it for me! 

3. Explore the grid! Finding artists is more than just browsing Flickr. Sometimes you find amazing works/artists by visiting other locations that aren’t necessarily art locations.

Also worth mentioning, just chatting with other residents about their interests on the grid can be a nice way to propose to them an exhibition. Sometimes people are just shy to display their work out there, never thought they could actually exhibit their pieces, don’t feel confident approaching art space owners or maybe didn’t even care. You can never know until you try - and be prepared to hear a lot of “no” in the way, it is part of the process! 

4. Remember you’re dealing with *real* people behind the screen.

Meaning that probably they’re on Second Life in their free time/have a lot going on in the physical world (as do you), so whenever you set a deadline, do it reasonably. Hardly it will be possible to come up with a new exhibition in a short period of time without getting overwhelmed and burned out. Not giving any deadline will make the exhibition drag itself for a long time and most likely not happen because it will be on the bottom of the priorities list. Been there done that. Finding a mid term that works for all parts is the key. Also important to inform the period of time you plan on having the exhibition up (or at least a minimum amount of days that you can actually stick to). Nothing worse than investing all the time and money on putting up an art show to have it open for an incredibly short amount of time. We recommend at least a full month, if your space allows it.

Bonus tip: Quality over quantity!

I know this affirmation sounds almost cliche, but trust me when I reinforce it here. Doing anything on a rush tends to compromise its quality, not to mention everyday we’re flooded with information from all over the internet to the point it gets negatively overwhelming.