Letter from the Editors
Physical and digital spaces, arts platforms are tucked in between Starbucks and Jo’s Fabrics or on the far reaches of farmland. They are open all the time or by appointment only. They are all consuming of their directors. They are big, they are small, they are a basement space, a living room, a chicken coop or a backyard. They are behind Pizza Hut, next to a gas station, on the way to Target, or across from an old car dealership. Perhaps operating as an institution, as a university gallery, or outside of but in tandem with commercial centers.These spaces might be galleries in name, but they are much more than white-cubed sales rooms. Spaces like these aren’t replicas of commercial counterparts in New York or Los Angeles; they create places for art and artists where none exist. These platforms are small, steady rebellions against convention. These are The Rib.
Running our own platforms outside the international art world, we started a conversation centered around one belief and question: some of the best contemporary work is being made and exhibited outside of New York and LA, but why aren’t more people talking about it? This belief hasn’t changed, and our answer to that question is The Rib.
The Rib will strive to offer connection, critical response, and discourse on art making along the peripheral United States. Focused on artists, communities, projects, and histories happening outside of major economic and urban centers, The Rib will cultivate dialogue between artists and their advocates working doggedly throughout the country. We want to interrupt dominant art world conversations with discussion--by way of critical writing and documentation--of art making outside the NY-LA axis.
Place is important to us. As newspapers and galleries alike shutter in the age of the internet, we want to resist the homogenizing effect of globalization. We want to talk and write about art seen and shown by people who live, work, and create in particular places, their existence not predicated by the market but in spite of it. Understanding place as constantly evolving, reacting to political, economic, and social factors, to explore how the local interacts with the global, and vice-versa. With a spate of “local” biennials launched in recent years from Cleveland to Tulsa to Portland and Honolulu, we believe this conversation is more crucial than ever to maintain particularity of place.
We aren’t interested in provincialism, however. The Rib wants to be critical of market-based or hegemonic art histories, and support artists working outside of locations with mainstream coverage by providing commentary and critique. You’ve participated, presented, or experienced a show, talk, or performance that deserved a wider audience than its IRL iteration. The Rib will document and share this work. You’ve read writing that responds to art and artists as more than consumable products. We want to encourage and publish more. Most importantly, we want to cultivate more community for small-city contemporary art, and encourage understanding of what it takes to make it on the periphery. We’re starting with the US but are thinking globally.
The Rib is an interconnected organ of art making, pulsing along across the peripheral expanse despite scant resources and development’s encroachment. It’s morning, it’s noon, it’s night. It’s at home, at work, at a coffee shop settled next to a start-up making cold calls. It’s emails, calls, budgets, installs, interviews, check-ins, photography, cold calls, social media, press release writing, tour-giving, and party-hosting. It’s curating, writing, editing, interpreting. It’s making, showing, and critiquing contemporary art on the periphery. This is The Rib.
The Rib is decentralized, not disconnected.
Leah Triplett Harrington, Lindsey Stapleton, Corey Oberlander