Installation view of Lucas Blalock: Late Work, November 8 – December 20, 2014
White Flag Projects (4658 Manchester Avenue) will close its doors at the end of the month, director and founder Matthew Strauss announced today. Strauss was one of the pioneers of the Grove, opening his gallery in 2006 — the same year he was honored by the Great Rivers Biennial
Under Strauss' leadership White Flag Projects exhibited work by established
and emerging artists (Cindy Sherman, Richard Kern and Banks Violette), and its long-running A Film to be Determined
series was an exercise in surprise and delight. Each film was hand-picked by an artist and then screened outside, but the title would not be revealed until the film started rolling.
Strauss' vision for White Flag Projects encompassed more than just the visual arts. In 2009 the damaged art-rock collective Destroy All Monsters
was the subject of a survey; Ian MacKaye's post-Fugazi band the Evens
played the gallery in 2007. There was also the well-received Tighty-Whitey party
, which featured a who's who of St. Louis in their unmentionables.
The closure was announced via press release this morning, which is included below.
This past Monday White Flag Projects' Board of Directors voted to close the institution at the conclusion of our current exhibitions. After years of diminishing attendance and a marked decline in our ability to connect with local patrons, it became apparent that we could not establish an adequate audience for the art and artists we exhibited on the terms they were being offered. An institution, regardless of its support elsewhere, cannot be sustained without the interest of the community in which it finds itself, although I’m
hopeful that the discourse we introduced here will prove to have had some effect.
For the past ten years White Flag Projects has worked to provide context and opportunities to artists at pivotal junctures in their careers, and give St. Louisans a space to engage with these exhibitions in the most direct way possible. While it proved to be a poor fit for this locale, we’re proud of the
uncompromised program we produced.
I’m perpetually grateful to all of the artists that made our efforts here meaningful. I want to thank our collaborators, our regular visitors, the handful of patrons that have maintained us over recent years, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and our interns and support staff that have helped make these exhibitions and programs possible. I’m especially grateful to our Assistant Directors Jessica Baran (2008–2012), Sam Korman (2012–2014), and Marie Heilich (2014–2016) for their contributions to White Flag’s growth.
White Flag Projects’ final day will be Saturday, October 29.