Crosspoint Perceptions: Our Artist-led Pop-up Exhibition

Last Thursday night – the 29th of March – saw the opening of Crosspoint Perceptions, a pop-up exhibition held by Bluethumb artists Will Dickerson, Maria Peña and Sarah Tracton at innovative Melbourne venue Testing Grounds.

Popup exhibition

The weather was perfect for a stroll around the space.

The show was among the first in a series of pop-up exhibitions to be held around Australia. The idea is that artists raise half of the funds themselves via crowdfunding, and Bluethumb ‘matchfunds,’ or provides the rest. These funds go towards the venue hire, bar tab, transportation of artworks and any other incidental costs that routinely arise when hosting an exhibition.

Popup exhibition artists

Will, Sarah and Maria – all set for a fantastic show!

As part of the deal, the artists are responsible for organising these details and taking the lead on the event in general. The Bluethumb team is on hand for any incidental support that they might need, and we also help out with promotion and signage. Ultimately, however, the artists shape their own exhibition.

Popup exhibition artist shotSarah in front of her artworks.

Although we supported a group of artists last year to host their own exhibition in Brisbane, Crosspoint Perceptions marked the first trial for this more collaborative and ultimately sustainable model.

Popup exhibition signage

Our sign proudly hanging above Will’s artwork.

The fact that the artists were able to successfully meet their crowdfunding target amount on Pozible is a sign of success in itself. They had some fantastic rewards on offer in exchange for a range of donations, and the campaign presented an opportunity to purchase some stunning art for very modest prices. Bluethumb also brought a reward to the table, offering $50 worth of art credit in exchange for $25 cash.

Popup exhibition outside art

Admiring Will’s work, hung outside using magnets and a hanging metal frame.

Beyond this, the exhibition space looked fantastic. With the expert help of local curator Vlona Mehmedi, the artists curated and hung the show themselves, a feat that came with unique challenges given the innovative exhibition space. In addition to ordinary plasterboard, Testing Grounds also consists of walls of corrugated plastic and freestanding metal structures. On the night, we were able to expand and extend the container-style rooms, giving the show an overall sense of being outside and open-plan.

Popup exhibition group shot

Some of the Bluethumb team together with the artists. This temporary pyramid at Testing Grounds came in handy!

“Pop-up shows are  a great initiative from Bluethumb,” says Maria Peña, one of the artists behind the show. “They encourage artists to finish and improve works and, as we did in the appropriately-named Testing Grounds, to test how they look in a real exhibition space.  It gives artists the opportunity for feedback about their work and, especially, important to expose it in real  world.  For me the pop-up initiative is still very much about selling art online, with real means for collectors to see the artwork and buy it straight away using their phones, or later after having seen it  in real time and space. It is very contemporary and it enables collectors to easily purchase; overall, it’s a fantastic balance.

Popup exhibition white walls

Maria’s artwork looked fantastic against the gallery’s white walls.

You can browse all of the remaining works from the exhibition here. We’re currently accepting proposals for more pop-up exhibitions in the future all around Australia. Any interested artists are welcome to email for more information.

popup exhibition art

A selection of Will’s mesmerising, smaller pieces, hung using magnets.

Popup exhibition flyers

Some keepsakes from the exhibition!

popup exhibition bar

Trent from Testing Grounds did a fantastic job behind the bar.

Popup exhibition ponder

Taking time to ponder the artists on show.

Popup exhibition

Some of Maria’s artwork.

All photos by Megan George.

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