Will Brown is an actual guy. A very cool and nice guy, according to all who know him, plus a CCA Curatorial Practice graduate student. Once upon a time, not too long ago, Will was spending a lot of time by himself down at 3041 24th Street, which some of you may recognize as the address of the late, great Triple Base gallery. Triple Base was founded in 2006 by CCA Curatorial Practice grads Joyce Grimm and Dina Pugh (both class of 2006) and finally closed in 2011. Toward the end there, the space's main "resident" who was keeping it up and running and officially occupied was their friend Will.
If you've been down to that block of 24th Street in the last few years, around Harrison and Folsom, you know that it has become a lovely haven of art and food while retaining its Mission District feel. So three friends of Dina and Joyce (two of them also alumni of CCA grad programs) decided to step up and take over the lease. The idea of running their own experimental/conceptual gallery space, once conceived, seemed like an offer they couldn't refuse.
The question that almost derailed everything was what to name this new venture, but under their self-imposed 11th-hour wire came the stroke of genius. "Will Brown" is of course a spoof on commercial gallery naming conventions. It is also a benign inside joke, and a well-meant tribute to a friend. Keeping it in the family, so to speak. The three of them also liked the idea of operating as a singular, semi-authorless entity.
The three new proprietors of Will Brown (the gallery) are David Kasprzak (MA Curatorial Practice 2011), Lindsey White (MFA 2007), and Jordan Stein (a 2005 MFA grad of the San Francisco Art Institute). Far easier than picking a name was selecting the theme of their first show, which opened on January 27 and closed March 4. The provocative premise, like the gallery's name, was a refutation of art business as usual, and specifically a play on art ownership and art-world transactions. Illegitimate Business featured artworks and ephemera "with a peculiar provenance," in other words acquired by their (anonymous) lenders under less-than-totally-up-and-up circumstances. The original concept came from old conversations with the curators' artist friends Zachary Royer Scholz (MFA 2006, MA Visual and Critical Studies 2009) and Brion Nuda Rosch.