Poem 88 announces year-long re-structuring of exhibitions and programs.
January 28 2022
On Friday, January 28, Poem 88 curator and owner Robin Bernat announced a year-long hiatus in exhibitions and programs for the Atlanta gallery beginning FEB 7. Restructuring the gallery to include activities more akin to a community center, a non-profit iteration of Poem 88 will emphasize community engagement and dialogue around ideas of equity, equality, and care for our environment - ideas that have always been integral to the gallery's curatorial program.
“The twin obstacles of Covid and the inflation of the real estate market make this an opportune time to reassess and fine tune the structure of the gallery and examine the needs of the communities it serves,” said Bernat.
In the 11.5 years in operation (since October 2010), Poem 88 has presented over 88 exhibitions showcasing the work of over 300 metro-Atlanta artists (primarily) and performances and installations including Hormuz Minina’s “Hop, Skip, Jump,” (2017), Paul Stephen Benjamin’s “God Bless America,” in 2016, and Alexis Hudgins’ “Reality Show” (2012). Notable group exhibitions such as “Nymphs and Shepherds Come Away: ten women artists respond to secular themes from the Renaissance” (2016) and “A Whole Tree of Lightning” (2019) gave special attention to women artists whom Bernat expressed were underrepresented in the art world. “Jane Eyre and Emancipation” (2020) explored, too, feminist themes. The "Blue Willow" show in 2017 showcased five Korean-American artists whose work synthesized distinct cultural traditions. Other exhibitions of note include Nikita Gale’s 2012 exhibition, “1961,” Brendan Carroll’s “Stained Glass and Stucco” (2018), Cynthia Farnell’s and Frank Poor’s collaborative “Materia Medica,” (2019), Brian Hitselberger’s “Counterspell” (2017) and the serial “Correspondences" focused on restoring balance to the natural world.
In complement to exhibitions, Poem 88 has offered musical performances, poetry readings, artist talks, lectures, and film screenings including the series Films for the 99% and the Antonioni Movie Marathon. The annual Valentine’s Salon was always been a crowd-pleaser marrying spoken word with an eclectic musical line-up including Argentine Tango and Renaissance music through local chamber ensembles along with jazz legends like Kinah Boto. Finally, Poem 88 EDITIONS will continue its work engaging and prompting discussion through titles like Lisa Tuttle, post-colonial karma, its most recent publication.
Bernat added, "Whatever the future holds for Poem 88, I'm tremendously grateful to all of the artists I've worked with over the years. It has been an honor to be entrusted with their important work."
Over the coming months, Bernat will be pursuing opportunities for independent curating and programming.