apexart :: Franchise Program
Franchise Program

Accepting submissions from February 1 - 28, 2015, the Franchise is an open call for 500-word proposals for group shows that take place anywhere in the world outside of New York City. One of apexart's two curatorial open calls, the Franchise asks for submissions for exhibitions that examine a specific idea or theme. Exhibitions can be about anything that the organizer finds compelling and can take place anywhere other than NYC. Past shows have explored construction in Mexico City, community in Memphis, and translation in Kampala. The Franchise is an opportunity to help bring a compelling idea to fruition and to illustrate that the center of the world is wherever you are. Please note that apexart is not a funding organization and exhibitions are part of apexart's regular programming.

No prior curatorial experience is required and we invite submissions from people of all backgrounds. Proposals do not have to be for the city where the curator is based, do not need to take place in traditional gallery settings, and venues for the show and artist lists do not need to be confirmed in advance of submitting an idea. Three winners receive an $8,000 budget and administrative support to mount their exhibition in the location of their choosing, and apexart works with winning organizers on all of the details of the project. In addition, apexart produces a brochure in an edition of 9,000 with an essay from the curator, which is distributed to subscribers in more than 100 countries.

For its open calls, apexart has developed a form of crowd sourced jurying that asks as many as 150 people to take part in the voting process. Our jurying system is designed to be as democratic as possible and the jury identifies the winning exhibitions without knowing the names of any of the submitters. Jurors read and evaluate proposals online, each juror reads a random cross section of all the proposals, and we ensure that each proposal is voted on 20 times.

  Guidelines & Useful Links

• Exhibition proposals will be accepted from February 1 - 28, 2015.

• Submissions are limited to 500 words maximum, emphasizing and explaining the idea behind the show.

• No images, catalogs, resumés, cv, or other support materials will be accepted.

  Frequently Asked Questions

  Past Winning Proposals

  2014-15 Results

  Floorplan in Feet

  Floorplan in Meters

Please feel free to contact us prior to submission if you have any questions.
Read the full proposals from the 2014-15 Winning Franchise Program:
Space Between Our Fingers
Beirut, Lebanon

submitted by: Rachel Dedman

Across Beirut, painted fuzzily on underpasses and public walls, the symbol of a cedar on the moon, hugged by a rocket in flight, is accompanied by the emblazoned words BELIEVE IT. At the Haigazian University in West Beirut, a slender white rocket (physical effigy of its graffitied sister) stands to attention outside the main hall.

Both are elements of The Lebanese Rocket Society, a project by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas. Revealing the forgotten story of Lebanese space exploration from the 1960s, the artists’ multi-faceted work uses this narrative to interrogate contemporary relationships to time and history within Lebanon.

This Franchise Program exhibition hopes to explore the proliferation of outer space as image, metaphor, and utopia, as imagined by artists from or in the Middle-East. Harnessed in popular culture as the ultimate other, the great unknown, space is the subject of childhood dreaming, myth and legend, scientific discovery and global aspiration. At the same time, this exhibition takes as its starting point the assertion that artists in the MENA region are using space as a vehicle for critical consideration of local histories and the articulation of identity in societies with unstable relationships to earthly geography.

Larissa Sansour is a Palestinian artist who counters literal absence of territorial agency with regained sovereignty in the breadth of outer space. Rana Hamadeh’s ongoing project Alien Encounters contemplates and complicates the notion of the ‘alien’ in terms of immigration law and extraterrestriality. Ali Cherri’s Pipe Dreams takes as its catalyst a phone call between the Syrian cosmonaut Muhammed Faris and the late president Hafez al-Assad. His work ambivalently connects Syria’s present trauma to an inspirational moment in its history. Jananne al-Ali’s Shadow Sites abstracts the Middle-Eastern landscape in images that have the eerie appearance of being taken from space, drawing attention to the gaze of the satellite.

As the Lebanese Rocket Society pervades the public spaces of Beirut, it seems timely to bring together artists for whom outer space is operating as a powerful site for the proposal of alternatives – not just to spatial polemics on earth, but to strategies of historiography. Artists in this region are both celebrating little-known Middle-Eastern histories of space exploration, and harnessing the permanent otherness of space to navigate contemporary concerns. Inherently liminal, subject to transformed laws of physics, space is a site of radical potential. So, too, is art interrogating and playing with questions of place and placelessness, identity and its absence, history and its writing.
Beauty Salons and the Beast
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

submitted by: Rehema Chachage and Jan van Esch

‘If they wont follow the art, let the art follow them’
As an apex art Franchise, the aim of this project, ‘Beauty Salons and the Beast’, will be to introduce, and ‘bring to the (Tanzanian) public exposure to new and experimental art as well as to increase public interest and dialogue in the art happenings and the role of the visual arts in Tanzania.

This project is interested in the public sphere and in questioning the role of artists in society, especially in using artistic media and creative expression to engage with communities to communicate, explore and articulate issues of local significance. It will attempt to experiments with the ‘if they don't follow the art, we will bring the art to them’ idea. This is in response to the fact that attending art exhibitions is not a tradition, and hence there are not enough Tanzanians (as compared to expatriate audience) attending art exhibitions and other cultural events when they happen in galleries and cultural centers in the city. The project will employ an ‘infecting the city’ methodology using activities like public performances, interventions and public discussion as a way of ‘bringing art’ to the community, and as a dialogue starter.

The plan is to experiment with one-day ‘pop-up’ art exhibitions (from different Tanzanian and non Tanzanian artists that work with new and experimental media) in public spaces with a big concentration of Tanzanians. This particular project will explore barbershops and beauty salons—spaces where large numbers of Tanzanian from upper, middle, and lower class spend their spare time, especially on weekends—as sites for hosting interventions, performances, installations and exhibitions of sound and video, followed by interactive discussions around the art intervention ‘brought’ to that particular community. The list of featured artists for this project will become clearer as the project develops, for now the few whose video, sound, and/or instillation pieces are under consideration are Vita Malulu (Tanzania), Rehema Chachage (Tanzania), EmKal Eyongakpa (Cameroon), Wanja Kimani (Ethiopia/Kenya), and Jan van Esch (Tanzania/Netherlands).

The modern barbershop and beauty salon is one of the fastest-growing businesses in Tanzania especially in Dar es Salaam. Large crowds of Tanzanians spend most of their weekend hours in these spaces. If you visit barbershops or beauty salons on Saturdays/Sundays you have to prepare for a long waiting time. The interior of these modern shops give you ideas of the services provided and what they cost (and hence, what class of Tanzanians will visit)—the nicer the place, the more expensive and expansive the services offered. Regardless of the stature of the space, it is imperative that in the barbershop/beauty salon you will find a television (a flat screen or two in the more fancy ones) to entertain those waiting their turn, a sofa (or just waiting chairs in the less fancy ones), and a music system (or a small radio in the less fancy). This environment make these spaces perfect sites for ‘pop-up’ exhibitions.
Detroit: Trans-Farm
Detroit, Michigan

submitted by: Yvette Granata

In October 2013, the world’s largest urban farming project began in Detroit, Michigan: a square mile of blighted neighborhood was officially sanctioned to be bulldozed, converted into fields, and made into the world’s largest urban forest. As the landscape currently thaws, planting of sapling trees is set to begin in the spring of 2014.

Our exhibition, ‘Trans-Farm,’ looks to the urban forest, both literally and thematically, as a site for artistic exhibition and urban re-imagination. While the urban farming movement itself is a contemporary phenomena currently underway in Detroit and other cities, ‘Trans-farm’ seeks to add another layer to the ‘Urban-Farm,’– or rather to create an urban ‘trans-media-farm’ – where agriculture, urbanity, art and media installation intersect.

Trans-farm thus seeks to explore and expand the notions of an urban-farm imaginary. By showcasing works at the intersection of art, technology, farm, and urban materiality, the exhibit will work not only to establish the culture and imagination of the newly growing urban green landscape, but also will exhibit contemporary art and media that mix the agricultural, the urban, the edible, the re-purposed, and the re-structured. In this way, Detroit - the former Fordist empire now host to the largest post-industrial urban farm in the world – is the conceptual foundation of the exhibit. It is no longer the assembly-line of car factories, nor late-capitalist immaterial labor of techo-communication at the heart of contemporary urban aesthetics, but the organic technology of the urban farm. Trans-farm thus takes Detroit as a site to explore this newly emerging organic technology through diverse works.

The exhibit will present and commission works of both local Detroit and international artists to create and exhibit site-specific, theme-specific, and interdisciplinary urban agricultural works, that blend the lines between edible, practical, artistic, and the technological. The exhibit will incorporate art works that employ bio-metrics and spatial planes, tactical growing procedures, plant sensor technology, landscape sculpture, re-purposed urban materials, virtual landscape, sound, video and multimedia installation. Trans-Farm thus will blends modes, materials, and media that connect and produce both physical form, image, and landscape. The exhibit will feature works from artists such as Gregory Holm, Scott Hocking, Tiffany Massey, Gilda Snowden, and Wietske Maas.

The aim Trans-farm is to make visible the potential of urban life based in farming that is not a reactionary turn to older ways of agricultural production – not merely planting farms within city borders – but instead to envision and create contemporary versions of a plant-based urbanity, where city life, landscape, art and media all connect to mold contemporary urban-farm life.