Artist and curator Jason Miller says he's just beginning to lay the groundwork for a new commercial gallery, but he also wants to continue working in an educational, non-commercial vein, and this week marks the official launch of a new venture called Masonic Contemporary. Building on the successes of recent exhibitions, Masonic Contemporary uses the Scottish Rite building as a not-for-profit museum and performing-arts venue where new artworks and original performances will be presented alongside century-old Masonic artifacts, in a building that is a unique time capsule in and of itself.
The first Masonic Contemporary exhibit is titled "Investigations" and collects work by Jeff Mickey and Jean Flint, who are husband and wife artists who teach at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. "He does these amazing kinetic pieces that are large and will look really good in the space," Miller says. "He went through the grad program at the University of Memphis, and that's where I first saw his work. His wife Jean also makes amazing, extravagant sculptures."
Miller's last Scottish Rite exhibition was a large group exhibition of works by nearly 50 artists that invited visitors to explore the entire temple and theater. This time, he walked the artists through the vast mural- and artifact-laden environment to decide where the work might fit best.
"This is going to be more like a spotlight series," Miller says. "And you're going to see a lot more of these intimate shows."