“FREE BOOZE. LOOK AT ART. GET SOME CULTURE.” - THE BARBEES
by Michael Meza
The time has finally come… BARBEE MANSHUN IS BACK BITCHES.
This Friday night, February 6th, from 10pm to 3am, the three beloved Barbees will be recreating the Barbee Manshun in an entirely different setting! The Barbee Manshun will occur at 2608 Dunlavy St., a site named The Flex Space, which has been made available by She Works Flexible (previously known as The Brandon), as a space for pop-up events of all varieties.
“WHAT IS THE BARBEE MANSHUN!?” you ask? Well, my curious little reader, luckily after a 48 hour Mortal Combat competition, a sleepover in IKEA, 3 family sized hamburger helpers, a trip to the ER, and 3 bottles of wine, I gracefully scored an interview with the Barbees, and they couldn’t have spelled it out better for you.
Because some people have never heard of Barbee Manshun, what would you say is/was the mission, or purpose, for starting the Barbee Manshun? What is the story behind the name?
Barbee Manshun started as a way to poke fun at the hierarchical inaccessible nature of Houston’s art scene. We found that there is a gross lack of representation of Houston’s diversity in galleries and other art spaces. We are named after our street, Barbee! #reppinthatthird #keephoustontrill and also shunning the MAN.
Did you expect Barbee Manshun to be a significant addition to Houston’s art community?
The charming little house on Barbee Street naturally provided the inviting and comfortable atmosphere that is a key component to Barbee Manshun. How will you create that same atmosphere in the new location?
We are open source. We are transparent. We are easy access. We are impulsive as fuck…
To be honest, we are terrified that our new location lacks the same atmosphere, but we feel that as a community based project about accessibility, we are open to any and all input. We feel that going to a gallery is inherently less accessible than a house party. A gallery has an unspoken rulebook that tells you how to dress and how to act and we fear that by occupying a formal gallery space will detract from our mission.
As you reach the finale of your college careers, do you have bigger plans for Barbee Manshun? Do you hope to remain a growing influence on the Houston art community?
We hope to inspire other people to rethink what it means to be a part of the art community. As far as bigger plans, we want to develop workshops and expand our other programming, such as our permanent collection.
Why is it important to explore the non-traditional art scene in Houston?
The traditional canon of art is not inclusive. We are attempting to expose the flipside of the Houston art scene, where the status quo has always been there, but galleries have not showcased it.
What does Barbee Manshun bring to the table that other mainstream art spaces, like Winter/Spring Street Studios, exclude?
Diversity. Accessibility. We want to support the arts without trying to sell a product. Any donations we receive go directly back to the community, be it through paying the artists or providing booze to visitors. We don’t ask for commission, we don’t have an entry fee, and we don’t have a submission fee. We want to operate for the artists we’re showing as much as possible, and we feel that other galleries don’t do this.
In the future, how will you select artists to showcase at the Barbee Manshun? Do you allow anyone to submit their work? How would one go about that?
We encourage anyone to submit their work, or idea, or event they’d like us to host. Barbee Manshun was founded on ridiculousness, so nothing is off limits. We are always accepting submissions through our email, BARBEMANSHUN[at]GMAIL.COM. Please no artist statements. They bore us. Send a joke instead. Or nudes. Or both.
Are there any last things that you would like to say to the people of Houston?
THANKS FOR HAVING US!!! We don’t exist without you guys! We exist for you. We love you. You make us complete.
It could be anywhere from a month to a year until you hear about Barbee Manshun’s next event, so I encourage you to mark your calendars, change your plans, and come out this Friday and show your support for a new wave in Houston’s art community!
Thank you Sara Balabanlilar, Sarah Rodriguez, and Veronica Leon for bringing a breath of fresh air into the Houston art scene. WE LOVE YOU.
by Guest Author