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[whitespace] Dave Muller
Three-Day Delight: Organizer Dave Muller of Three Day Weekend surveys the artworks he gathered for the event.

Dave Muller's renowned Three Day Weekend opens Memorial Day

By Christine Brenneman

Dave muller used to schlep around Europe with his art in a suitcase, hoping to make the connections to show his work. Now, people from around the world call and invite him to their city to organize an innovative event that has become his wildly successful art brainchild: the Three Day Weekend.

Falling on or around holiday weekends, Muller's basic idea of a big opening party and three days of art began with his interest in showing his own work and that of his friends and fellow artists. He made a conscious decision in the beginning to make these Three Day Weekends something altogether different from your average gallery show/opening that he found to be pretty pretentious and unwelcoming in his city of residence, L.A. These humble beginnings have blossomed into Three Day Weekends that have taken place in cities as varied as New York, Houston, Vienna, Tokyo, Malmö, London, Appenzell, Switzerland, and now, San Francisco.

Muller was drawn to the City by friend and local art maven Julie Deamer, curator of four walls gallery in the Mission. Deamer introduced Muller to local artists through extensive studio visits and convinced him that the timing was right for one of his Three Day Weekends in San Francisco. Dockers also offered up the corporate funds to make the event happen, and Muller has spent the last few months going back and forth between San Francisco and his home in L.A. to get things in order and investigate possible locations for the event.

Physical sites have typically been an integral part of the Three Day Weekend experience, so Muller knew he had to find a phenomenal space. The new CCAC building was chosen for its availability and inspiring design and shape. In Muller's mind, "It's as if that whole building could be a spaceship that landed; [the school] is a cultural oasis of art plopped in the middle of an industrial area." From this train of thought came Muller's concept for the show, "Life in Space, Phase 1: The Double-Barreled Linear Accelerator Model." "Life in Space" refers to the sci-fi look of CCAC's structure but also the idea that space is something to be occupied.

To explain "Double-Barreled Linear Accelerator Model," Muller points out the extremely long and linear nature of the two spaces--the above-ground, naturally lit Carol Weisel Hall and the dank basement space directly below will both be used--and the notion that "a viewer walking through the space could be like a particle that's getting accelerated through the show." He's also arranged the art from "slow" to "fast" pieces along the length of the space, "if you are the viewer and you're walking one way or another, you're going to feel like you're accelerating or slowing down depending on which way you go."

Muller's innovative approaches to these events make him a unique force in the art world's curatorial circles. He says, "I pick people and their practices more than I pick art pieces to shuffle around. I have to feel comfortable with the artists. More often than not, I've met them and talked with them a little bit." He doesn't try to control what the artists submit to the shows; he simply tells the artist about his concept for the particular show, asks if he or she is interested in participating and leaves the rest up to the artist's creative impulses. His intentions are decidedly anti-establishment in terms of career trajectory as well; he believes most aspiring curator types "either want to be a bad-boy curator star or go right through the system and become a museum director. I don't really give a rat's ass about either of those things, so it allows me to do whatever I want and still deal with my projects quite seriously and rigorously."


How to get your art seen by the masses.


Part of Muller's signature approach consists of disregarding the subdued and often boring tone of a standard art opening in favor of an all-out party atmosphere to kick off his exhibits. For "Life in Space," a soothing, ambient vibe is key, and a local band will perform along with Muller at the turntables, spinning everything from polka to drum 'n' bass. There will most likely be beer on hand, and look for people socializing and actually enjoying themselves and the art.

Muller carefully culled 13 participants for "Life in Space" from the artists he knows in the thriving San Francisco, L.A. and New York art communities. Among the local artists chosen is the collective known as Lin- der+Shields+Rogan+Sloyan+Peipon.

By turns literal, fantastic and heavily conceptual, their tack on the theme "Life in Space" led each artist in the collective to create his/her own handmade space-survival pack. The packs--which all contain one identical core element--link together to form a group and can also be attached to the CCAC building itself.

In putting on a Three Day Weekend, Muller wants to create a pleasant environment that's all about community and the free exchange of ideas and art. As idealistic as this seems, judging from the popularity and frequency of the events--he has put on more than 30 in the last five years--Muller has succeeded indeed.

When asked about the renown that's come his way as a result of Three Day Weekend, Muller says, "I'd like to think that I could hold up under the scrutiny of no one paying attention or everyone paying attention." Chances are that as Three Day Weekend continues its success, Dave Muller will have ample opportunity to find out.

"Life in Space, Phase 1: The Double-Barreled Linear Accelerator Model," A Three Day Weekend Project Organized by Dave Muller, happens Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31, at CCAC's Carol Weisel Hall (450 Irwin St., near 16th and Wisconsin). Opening reception is on Friday, May 28, 8-11pm. Three Day Weekend hours are Sat-Mon, May 29-31, noon-6pm. The event is free. Call four walls for information. 415.626.8515.

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From the May 24, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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