When I first looked up Thought Coalition on Facebook, I wasn't sure what the group did. It almost sounded like some kind of secret, Fight Club society for the brain (Rule number 1: You do not talk about Thought Coalition). But after speaking with founder Gregory Dirr, I learned that Thought Coalition is a group of collaborating artists who exhibit together. They'll be having their "Further Adventures of the Thought Coalition" exhibition at none other than Tate's Comics' Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery -- arguably the most beloved comic book store in the Southeast.
With a heavy focus on "nerd culture" inspired by Tate's, it's an event that's sure to bring out your inner geek while feeding your artistic soul and your actual belly. Tasty vegan snacks courtesy of Half Baked Goods will be available, and if that's not your thing, salty snacks from Tate's, free beer, and wine will do you good. Dirr explained to New Times how to plan an art show about Tate's, brought to you by the Thought Coalition.
New Times: You're the founder of Thought Coalition; how did that come about?
Gregory Dirr: Basically, the way I explain it to people is that we're people working together collaboratively. I'm sort of, for lack of a better word, the ringleader and organizer and the archivist of everything.
This collaborative thing has been going on since probably around 2004 more seriously, and I felt that it needed to be documented and furthermore, it needed to be put in people's faces because it existed and it wasn't just visual art, it was music, it was writing, it was various public works like sculptures and murals. So there were all these little stepping stones that just needed to be brought together, and that's kind of what I've been doing over the last like five years.
How did you all end up meeting each other?
Various ways. Some of the people that are involved in the group I've known since elementary school; others are people I met in college or through art shows. I'm a collaborator at heart, so I guess that's how I get the founder title, because I'm really passionate about collaborations. So if I meet someone and I'm really interested in their work, I need to collaborate with them. It's almost like an annoyance on my part.
How did you end up partnering up with Tate's for the exhibition?
Tate's is just a place where I can always remember being there. The way I go about picking a show is I kind of, for lack of a better word, target places. I like them to be very site-specific, so Tate's is just something that made sense. I had a bunch of artists that I knew were already into doing this nerd-culture type of work, so I just really needed to have a show.
I would go to the local artist shows, and the not at Comic Con events, and I made sure that I met Amanda -- the runner of the gallery -- and really made an impression upon her because I wanted to have a show there for a couple of ears now. I've just been ironing out the kinks.
That's kind of how, when I'm doing a Thought Coalition show, I go about doing it. It's not the type of thing where I'll have a show just to have a show. I'd rather just do one or two big shows a year that are more site-specific than, you know, just have random group shows.
What can you tell me about the show?
For the people out of state, it was a little bit harder for them, because they weren't familiar with Tate's. So I would go there; I would take pictures and tell them what the store is about and what they sell and basically my impression of what Tate's meant to me and used that as a topic. The theme itself would be Tate's, the iconic place in South Florida, because I felt that was relevant. And the shows kind of already do that. The shows that they regularly have there are very Tate-specific because they're obviously curating it. I wanted to see if I could do that, if I could tackle the subject of what I thought Tate's meant, and then see if I could get other artists to do that as well.
It's mostly going to be visual art then?
It's all visual art. At Bear and Bird, they don't do installation or music or videos. It's all visual stuff. Normally when we have a show, we try to incorporate everything like installation bands and whatnot.
Any other upcoming projects for Thought Coalition I should know about?
In September, we're planning an event with CNI studios in Fat Village. Last art walk there was like easily 2,000-plus. The show is going to be called "Red," and it's going to be kind of like a fundraiser for a nonprofit. And "Red" is kind of the theme that we're going with as far as what the visual art is going to look like. And that'll be everything. There's going to be a fashion show, a shitload of vendors, various bands that we have in our repertoire, and also our collaborators in visual art.
"Further Adventures of the Thought Coalition," opens Friday, June 27, 7 to 10 p.m., with art by Albert Lichi, Alex Pocaro, Ben Pachter, Chase Vreeland, Devon Saccomanno, Gregory Dirr, John Allison, Lauraly Atria, Paul Mcenery, Renda Writer, Saori Murphy, T.J. Brown, Tony (Tonx) Licata, and Valerie Marquis Dickson. Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery at Tate's Comics, 4566 N. University Drive, Lauderhill. Exhibition runs June 27 to August 2. Visit facebook.com/ThoughtCoalition.
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