One essential component of artist survival is the gallery. German-Belgian transplant Guido Maas made a gradual transition to Birmingham starting seven years ago. He closed down two architectural antique galleries in New York’s Tribeca district and opened Beta Pictoris Gallery on Second Avenue North, where he is driven to create a social political platform for the issues raised by art. In this discussion, he has an uncompromising vision. He took down an entire outside installation when the hosts realized after several weeks that a photo of a young black lady was really a young black male and were afraid that one work might hurt their business. Maas has brought nationally prominent artists like Willie Coles and John Bankston to Birmingham, but he also promotes local talent and loves anonymous art found in the street. It is all part of the endless discussion and constant questioning ignited by art. clockwise cutlines: Susanna Starr pushes the boundary of What is a Painting? with geometric containers oozing melted acrylics.
Larry Jens Anderson FAIRYtales--showing in Beta Pictoris’ project space at Erdreich Architecture--is all about context. Maas believes a community must be created for Birmingham to have a successful art scene, and frequently collaborates with other spaces. The Diver by Peter Fox pays homage to Gerhard Richter. Maas loves it when viewers get the art. Even anonymous street artists form part of the scene. And Maas takes exception to those who say he has no right to criticize Birmingham or question the community. “You complain about what you love,” he says.