What is an Alternative Space?

February 2, 2020
Written by Michael J. Masucci


Reported in the LA Times, in 2009, LACMA’s Govin was being paid almost $1 million. The US Pres gets $475,000. In an industry where living artists often do not get paid anything to be exhibited in a museum, this seems outrageous. If he were paid half as much, then approximately $500,000 could be distributed annually to living artists.
But large-scale museums are businesses, even though they are defined as non-profits.
In clear contrast, alternatives spaces, often by-pass the bureaucracy level, and are artist-run.
In my view, if the same artists are exhibiting in mainstream contemporary art museums and simultaneously in alternative art spaces, then these are not alternative spaces, but satellite spaces. Now, I am in no way saying there is anything wrong with non-alternative spaces. They are an integral apstr of the cultural continuum whose exploration gives a true sense of today’s cultural anthropology.
I feel the same situation exist in so-called ‘independent film-making’. This year, Argo won both the Oscar and the Spirit awards, This negates for me the usefulness of the Spirit.
Feminist, Latino, African-American, Asian and other traditionally under-represented communities created their own alternative spaces. EZTV’s large percentage of openly LGBTQ founding members, at a time when such self-description was career suicide, is a striking example of an alternative space.