Pop-up art in Second Life

Derry McMahon
Derry McMahon – Pop-up Art

Noted SL photographers Derry McMahon and Bear Silvershade have come up with a new approach to exhibiting art in Second Life, and they’re calling it “pop up art”. Bear explains the idea in a press release thus:

We’ve watched as galleries flicker in and out of existence, and had shows at several. Two things are consistent: nothing is permanent, and even with the most relentless, ongoing promotion, visitor numbers drop off dramatically after the opening and reach near zero long before a month – the usual length of gallery shows – is up.

Instead of fighting it, we’ve decided to embrace the ephemeral nature of Second Life and experiment with pop-up galleries. It goes like this: Rent a piece of suitable land, set up our work and open it to the public, but just for a couple of weeks.

Derry McMahon
Bear Silvershade – Pop-up Art

For their inaugural exhibition using the idea, the couple have rented an open-air space in Bay City – Falconmoon, where they’ll be opening a joint exhibit at 14:00 SLT on Saturday, September 19th. Derry’s half of the exhibit is called Double Vision and presents pairs of images she has created – one from the physical world, one from the virtual. These are not designed to offer pairs of similar images (although a couple are wonderfully alike), but rather offer insight into Derry art on both sides of the digital divide.

Bear’s pieces, as he notes, are largely taken from his monochrome Lonely Streets of Second Life series – a series I’ve always particularly admired, mixing a couple of his physical world images in with them as well. Taken together, the rich colours on Derry’s work facing Bear’s austere black-and-white pieces serve to complement one another very well.

Derry McMahon
Derry McMahon – Pop-up Art

Continuing the press release notes, Bear says of the approach – which originated as an idea with Derry:

The short time frame is key. For the patrons, it gives them more incentive to get out and see the show; no putting it off because “There’s plenty of time.” For us, it gives us the freedom to experiment and not feel tied down.

We can set up when and where we want, with whatever style we want. They might happen in different places once a month, or once every six months – whatever feels right.

Bear Silvershade
Bear Silvershade – Pop-up Art

I think it’s potentially a clever approach. As Bear says, it overcomes the issues of holding a gallery permanently open, generates interest in an exhibition due to the shorter time frame and could, if due consideration is given to the spaces which are rented-out for such exhibits, perhaps make them a part of an exhibition as much as the images on display. Kudos to Derry for the idea, and to her and Bear both for taking it on the road, so to speak.

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