In her role as director of exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary, Erin Cluley has worked with today’s most renowned artists — including K8 Hardy, Richard Phillips, Rob Pruitt, Jennifer Rubell and Julian Schnabel. Cluley will take everything she’s learned in the past five years as she exits her current position on August 23 to embark on a new journey: opening her own gallery.
With her eponymous space in Trinity Groves, she hopes to bring a new outlook on contemporary art. Kicking off September 13, with an exhibition of works by René Treviño, the Erin Cluley Gallery will be the first focused on this genre to reside on the west side of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
“There’s an excitement in Dallas right now around artists and collectors, and it’s a good time for the art community,” Cluley says.
“I’d been thinking about going back into the commercial world,” says the native Texan, who originally joined the Contemporary after four years at C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore. “When I moved back to Texas, I thought I was going to come here, get the lay of the land and open my own space. But when I started working at the Contemporary, I thought the museum path was where I was going to stay.”
That is, until the fates intervened. During a trip last summer to Salem, Massachusetts, on a lark Cluley sat down for a psychic reading. When it was predicted she’d open her own space, she decided to have a sit-down meeting with Trinity Groves developer Butch McGregor upon her return.
Cluley’s time spent overseeing the execution of murals by Shepard Fairey, Faile and JR in the area gave her unique insight into the Groves’ artistic potential. McGregor gave her the perfect launching pad in the guise of an affordable 2,000-square-foot metal building on Fabrication Street.
“There’s something happening over there, and I feel like there’s room for what I want to do,” she says. “Having worked with the people in Trinity Groves, I have great relationships, enabling me to make a great physical space.
“There’s an excitement in Dallas right now around artists and collectors, and it’s a good time for the art community.”
The Erin Cluley Gallery will exhibit 10 shows a year from local and East Coast talent, and she hopes to add California artists to the mix in the coming year. In addition to Treviño, Cluley has already slated shows and projects by Baltimore’s Jimmy Joe Roche; Brooklyn’s Hidenori Ishii; and Texas artists Josephine Durkin, Francisco Moreno and Kevin Todora.
Cluley also plans on continuing the strides she’s made exhibiting public works. These may come in the more traditional sense of murals and sculpture, or as “public interventions,” such as Roche’s “Baltimore in Dallas” ’zine that will appear in the rooms of a local hotel in the coming months.
“I want to keep the public element going by helping to produce these ideas that are conceptualized by the artists. It might not be in the traditional sense, but it’ll be something that you’re going about your daily routine and you’re unexpectedly surprised.”
Erin Cluley Gallery will open to the public with a reception on September 13, 6-8 pm. The exhibition “Estrellas” by René Treviño will run through October 11. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-6 pm, and Sunday and Monday by appointment.