Art World Poker

I have a regular poker game with some of my neighbors in the Brewery. One of the regulars is Mat Gleason, the editor of Coagula, the well-known and occasionally controversial art magazine whose headquarters are downstairs from my loft. Mat also organizes shows at the adjacent I-5 Gallery, which runs several exhibitions a year, including the biannual Brewery Artists Small Works show that occurs during the Brewery Artwalk. One night, as we were playing a particularly hyperactive round of poker, Mat came up with the idea to marry the two things he loves most – poker and ruining people’s art careers. That’s how Art World Poker was born.

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The concept is simple – 60 or so artists are selected for a group show at the beginning of summer. All the participating artists play in a multi-level poker tournament against each other. As artists knock other artists out of the tournament, the show changes, because the player who gets the kill (the one who knocks someone out) gets to take over the eliminated player’s wall space. At the end of the tournament, the last remaining player is declared the winner and gets a solo show at the gallery.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the second level of the Art World Poker tournament. Ten players that advanced from the first round will play tomorrow in the I-5 Gallery. Play will continue until five players have been eliminated, and then the 5 remaining will join another set of 5 in two weeks for the final table of the tournament.

I think the show and the concept are really interesting. The character of the group show changes constantly throughout the tournament as people get eliminated, and it’s fascinating to watch it evolve.

The gallery is located at 2100 North Main Street, Suite A10, in the Brewery Arts Colony. The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 12-4 PM, and is open while tournament play is ongoing each Sunday from 2-7 PM. For more information, contact the organizer, Mat Gleason, at coagulaeditor AT hotmail dot com.