Just got an announcement that Justin Giarla is opening yet another gallery in San Francisco, titled 941 Geary, the address as well. Justin already owns and operates three galleries here in the city, The Shooting Gallery, White Walls and Gallery Three. Justin has put on some great exhibits with many of my favorite newbrow and lowbrow artists over the years and it is amazing that he keeps going in this economy. Makes me wonder how he is funding all this. He was busted a couple of years ago for selling drugs and I have heard rumors that is how he funded the galleries.
From a news article on the bust-
“San Francisco narcotics inspectors Brit Elmore and Bill Braconi had been watching the traffic in and out of the Shooting Gallery for more than six months before getting a search warrant and confronting Giarla.When they asked him if he had any drugs, they reported, Giarla pointed to a green bag on the floor. The police said they found a little more than a quarter of a pound of powdered cocaine inside, along with less than an ounce of crystal methamphetamine and more than 100 tabs of Ecstasy. In a desk drawer, they said, they found a loaded 9mm Glock handgun.” – from SF Gate
This makes me sad, especially the crystal meth. Is this the only way to keep a gallery afloat? Contributing to the crackhead addiction in the area you set up shop in?
Some shows are a little spotty, some art that doesn’t quite rate on a quality level with his other artists but nonetheless worthwhile shows of contemporary cutting edge art. I would like to see some more local artists and less pandering to the “art stars” of Juxtapoz fame but it is a business and the rent does have to paid on those spaces. I do hope these spaces continue to thrive, not on drug money, but on customers buying art and supporting the arts scene.
The opening at his new gallery is July 17th, 2010. The exhibition “As They See It” – features works by Kevin Cyr, Jessica Hess, Isabel Samaras, Shawn Barber, Aaron Nagel, Eric White, Robert Burden, Coro, Dave Schubert, Jonathan Darby, Morgan Slade, Pedro Matos, Akira Beard, Danny Heller, Michael Forbes, Adam Caldwell, Scott Hove, and Derek Weisberg.