Buzz Gallery
by Paul Alexander                                                                July 16, 2002

Part I

Bill Moore and I decided to open an art gallery to serve the painters we knew including ourselves. We asked Larry Fagin to join us. Ebbe Borregaard's old flat in Japan Town was available so we rented it. There we had seven rooms on two floors so we could use the first floor as gallery space and the upper floor for private space. Mr. Rhine, the owner, had just painted the main rooms a pale green. He was color blind and thought the walls were white. None of us had a dime to spend so we left the walls green until the Fran Herndon show when we painted them a light grey.

Stan Persky's magazine OPEN SPACE was off and running. I liked his policy and we decided to operate on a similar basis. Artists who were invited to show could have whatever they brought exhibited in the monthly group shows--we would not edit them in any way. Our plan was to encourage the scene, not direct it.

We thought the gallery would exist for only one year. We would have a group show each month running for 2 weeks. The invitations went out and the responses were good. All of the invited artists participated except for the few we didn't personally know. None of those responded except for Bernice Bing who declined with thanks.

The artists were: Tom Field, Knute Stiles, Fran Herndon, Bill Wheeler, Nemi Frost, Ernie Edwards, Jack Boyce, Jess, Harry Jacobus, Ken Botto, and ourselves—Bill Moore and Paul Alexander. Later there was Bill McNeill, Lori Lawyer, David Allen and Larry Jordan.

The openings were the main event—we served red wine by the gallon.

Memorable group shows:

Jess showed 4 Translation paintings. The first time these were exhibited

Harry Jacobus showed large oils

Knute Stiles exhibited collages of cloth and found street objects

Bill Wheeler always had an expressionist painting of vigor

Occassionally a one timer would show such as the New Yorker who exhibited two large boxing paintings derived from TV viewing.

The group show most remembered was the Poet's show.

At the end of the first years we found the artists wanted to solo shows.

Most of the announcements were printed by Graham Mackintosh at no cost to the gallery or artist other than the cost of the plate— $9 - $18. Graham supplied everything else.

We paid all the gallery expenses ourselves. We charged no commissions and received no monetary support from anyone.

Our landlord, Mr. Rhine, was pleased with our efforts. Sometimes we ran short at the openings and someone would help us bringing wine and perhaps cheese and french bread.

The gallery also attracted a social scene and many impromptu parties ensued.

The solo shows were a great success. When we ran out of artists we closed the gallery. I guess we thought our careers would continue--some did.