A bit of art history...
Refrigerator Poetry found inspiration in art history, specifically The Society of Independent Artists founded in 1916 in New York City and modeled on the French Société des Artistes Indépendants of 1884. The first annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists opened at the Grand Central Palace in New York City on April 10, 1917. From the very beginning it was imagined to be on a grand scale, without a selection committee—literally anyone who paid the dues could exhibit, and it seems that practically everyone did. The First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists was twice the size of the famous Armory Show four years earlier, showing 2500 paintings and sculpture by 1200 artists from 38 states. The governing principle, taken directly from the Société des Artistes Indépendents of Paris: “No jury—No prizes.” Refrigerator Poetry was partly founded on this “No jury – No Prizes” philosophy because of our commitment to artistic freedom and diversity and to the sheer will to not just exhibit all visual art, but to archive it in perpetuity.
Interestingly, the first Independents’ Exhibition was recorded by many historians of modern American art as being largely ignored by the American public. An assumption based on the timeline of the First World War coinciding with the event. Since then, a thorough review of the newspapers and magazine of the actual time expressed the exact opposite was true. In fact, there are articles debating the principles of the Society of Independent Artists and made connections between their democratic policies and America’s simultaneous struggle for political democracy. And so, Refrigerator Poetry was also founded on the idea that artists are in the extraordinary position of expressing the collective human experience. The technology now exists for the voice of every artist to hold their rightful place in art history.
Refrigerator Poetry is an archive created through NO JURY exhibition opportunities for all self-identified visual artists regardless of history, popularity, race, age, gender, or economic status. At our core, we seek to empower anyone who identifies as an artist with the opportunity to present new work, work in development, and perhaps even groundbreaking work, without prejudice.
We welcome ALL visual artists to submit one image of current work every month, no older than one year from the month of submission. This monthly collection of work will be exhibited in our online gallery, a virtual experience with an accompanying digital catalog, a permanent document recording this and all future exhibitions in the Refrigerator Poetry archive on our website. Participating artists will have those exhibition catalogs linked to their profile page. The Artist’s Profile Page will include information from the artist including a biography, statement, contact information, and keywords to direct viewers to their work.
We see the power in documenting the collective artistic moment in time. It is a critical component of Refrigerator Poetry’s mission and our archive. We understand that the artist is a conduit through which the entire culture is filtered. Artists are not simply expressing themselves they are expressing an embodied experience of our shared culture. By archiving the work of visual artists creating in the same current time frame, we lay the groundwork for an ongoing visual history of every community – local, national, and global, better reflecting the collective human experience. It will connect younger generations to the legacy of change that came before them.
Artists who archive work in the Refrigerator Poetry archive can participate in a maximum of twelve group online exhibitions a year and have the chance to be curated into the Refrigerator Poetry Annual Exhibition and other exhibition opportunities in physical exhibition spaces. The Refrigerator Poetry archive is available for anyone to view. The general public along with curators, gallerists, educators, and other artists from around the globe will be able to search the archive by artist name, location, medium, date created, and other search keywords.
Refrigerator Poetry’s vision is to expose the work of all visual artists. Our archive offers gallerists and curators a chance to seek out new talent and/or artists working in specific styles or themes of work for an exhibition they are organizing. The archive is also a place where students of art history can dive into to see trends in art and how they are a reflection of the time. Art historians and educators are welcome to use the archive for purposes of research. Writers of art criticism looking to write essays or articles can look to Refrigerator poetry for inspiration.
If you are an artist, Refrigerator Poetry is here to preserve your legacy in art history. Through the work you create, you are in the extraordinary position to reflect the time you are living in.