Leaving 1,000s wanting more, since 2001, tonight ended an era, at its best, with Hess and Bask closing 1300 Gallery forever

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 01:24.


Tonight, 1300 Gallery wrapped up five years of transforming the visual arts scene in Northeast Ohio, with a classic showing of hallmark works of passionate visual expressionists Derek Hess and Bask, ending an era of hosting some of the coolest exhibitions and parties in Cleveland history, and doing that just right.


As always, since the beginning, "Leave Them Wanting More #1" brought together a diverse family of edgy cultural enthusiasts to celebrate great art and a special place and the people who made it special... and to buy art. There was a higher proportion of red dots at this showing than I can ever remember at an opening in Cleveland. No wonder - Derek Hess is the best buy in Cleveland art, rock-solid but still attainable, and Bask is powerful yet affordable (I scored the iconoclastic Bask below for the embarrassingly low price of $100).


Being a one night opening, and permanent closing, the feeling tonight was both exciting, for the great art, and sad, for the fact this is the last time we shall see these artists here. No doubt, local legend Derek Hess will remain very visible in our lives here, through all his entrepreneurial endeavors and prolific creativity, and the dynamic work of Bask will find further traction here... but the 1300 space and scene died tonight.

What was special about 1300 Gallery? The sexhibition shows? The DJ groove? The Red Bull? Derek, Michael and Marty, and team? The graphical, political edge of so much of the art shown there? The friends brought together and made? The couch exhibit? The affordability of the work? The great space, hidden down a dead end road, away from the real world, creating a new world? All.


 When I asked 1300 Gallery Owner Marty Geramita if he was excited to move on, he said he was, and I believe him. In addition to the gallery, Marty works with Derek on many other endeavors and after five years supporting the public arts world he is ready to focus on other business. But where does the closing of 1300 leave the local arts scene. My comment to a friend I saw at the opening/closing was that I just lost my favorite place to shop for my wife for Christmas.


While Marty has been very clear that he did not close 1300 because of lack of support from the community, or lack of sales, I can't help but believe if more people in NEO bought art at 1300 - if every opening brought so many red dots - then the gallery would have found a way to continue on, even if Marty has other business to attend to. That in mind, it is time for me to find another favorite place to see and buy local art, and so do you. In closing, thank you Derek and Marty for five great years of fantastic work - you and your accomplishments have been very special and greatly appreciated!