Founding Director of Galapagos Art Space Robert Elmes speaks at the DIA in Detroit- MLive


by Elaine Cromie
February 11, 2015 at 3:24pm

DETROIT, MI – The founding director of Galapagos Art Space Robert Elmes spoke at the Detroit Institute of Art on Tuesday night.

This was his first public appearance in Detroit since buying nine buildings in Detroit and Highland Park and announcing Galapagos Art Space’s move from New York to the Motor City.

The Brooklyn-based art organization is a for-profit model focusing on advancing the careers and opportunities of the artists they represent.

During Fair Not Fair: The Media, The Art Fair and The Prize, a free lecture hosted by the DIA, Elmes spoke with art critic Linda Yablonsky and moderator CreativeMANY Program Director Cezanne Charles. The three discussed the benefits and negative aspects of art fairs, gatherings and more specifically biennials to the community.

“Our intention with creating biennial in Detroit in 2016 is to create something that creates opportunity for local artists and represents a diversity of talent that’s been in Detroit, that’s born in Detroit, that’s reviving in Detroit,” said Elmes.

Detroit has a challenging past, which has a unique appeal to entrepreneurs and what draws Elmes and others to the city. Elmes argues that for a close art community a city needs three things: time, space and people. New York has people, but lacks time and space, and Detroit has the time and space, but is still growing a population according to Elmes.

“There are so many opportunities to create something of a meaningful scale that seeks to build and present work in a profound and beautiful way with partners that exist on the ground,” said Elmes.

Elmes mentioned an interest with partnering with 555 a non-profit art gallery and studio as well as 333 Midland.

“We want to be creating opportunity and hopefully launching careers,” said Elmes. “Because it’s difficult to be an artists.”