MASS is back, Austin.
The unique visual arts and live performance gallery — founded in 2006 by emerging local artists and University of Texas grad students, with the help of Fusebox Festival’s Ron Berry — has been without an official home since 2010. But MASS Gallery has returned to the scene with a bang, relocating to a brand new 1,500 square foot gallery at the East Side’s 507 Calles Street complex.
MASS has come a long way since its first home in a rent-free auto shop in the Blue Theater complex, and the dozen or so members of MASS (including artists, writers and educators like Jules Buck Jones, Erin Gentry, Scott Proctor and Xochi Solis) are more than ready to unleash their latest work in such an inspiring new space.
“MASS fills a gap in Austin between museums and smaller galleries,” Andy Rihn, local Austin artist and fellow MASS member says. “Artists can go big in the 1,500 square foot space with high quality support to see it through.”
And MASS’s new home features much more than a sprawling gallery space. The new location also includes five studios (rented to local artists) and two additional spaces for an office and gift shop in the future. (Not to mention great neighbors, like Hops & Grain Brewery, Sky Candy and soon-to-come restaurant Mettle.)
But Rihn says he’s most excited about the “boundary pushing” at the newly opened gallery, whose unique reputation was always built on the amalgamation of art forms, including visual arts, music, theatre and film, allowing a unique community of Austin artists to take their ideas as far as possible, beyond the white washed walls of commercial galleries. (This crowd doesn’t need walls anyways. Check out their recent Alley Cat Project, an outdoor art exhibit inspired by feral cats and scattered throughout the East Side.)
Showcased artists are also expected to organize community outreach activities, artist talks, film screenings and other events meant to actively engage the public in new, creative ways, like the official re-opening festivities.
The grand re-opening, Friday, January 18, will feature the latest work from two local solo artists: Scott Eastwood’s They Never Die They Just Go to Sleep One Day and Scott Gelber’s DOOM II: Hell on Earth (both run through February 23).
The inaugural exhibitions will showcase conceptual black and white drawings, sculptures and installations, as well as a special live performance by Gelber that will kick off the evening around 8 p.m. Food and drinks will be provided by Tapas Bravas, Hops & Grain, and Ambhar Tequila, with live tunes courtesy of DJ Ben Aqua.