About Madrone Art Bar

The Madrone Manifesto:

Madrone Art Bar is more than a bar: it is a constantly changing site-specific installation art environment where two and three-dimensional works, multi-media, and performance are combined to form an aesthetic constellation that affects attendees’ perceptions from the moment they enter the place.

At Madrone the goal is to create a new aesthetic social forum that is immediate and direct, one that links the souls and minds of the performers, spectators, and staff in artistic ritual events that are uplifting and enlightening.

Madrone features exhibits of emerging and established artists, and presents works of all kinds, including painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture, video, film, design, fashion, spoken word, music and dance. Almost everything at Madrone is created by artists, from the eclectic design of the space, and the works on display, to the production of each night’s events.

Madrone’s nightly festivities and interior space are structured and orchestrated to blur boundaries between the architecture, everyday commodities, art objects, sound, video, performance, and social life. It should be thought of as an aesthetic environment that takes into account and caters to the customers’ entire sensory experience. The range of media used in the space are organized to artistically engage and address the totality of visitors’ senses in an effort to dissolve distinctions between art and everyday life.

At Madrone the patron is an integral participant, both viewer and viewed, subsumed in the environment, where the gathering of people at any given time forms an essential part of the scene.

The spatial constellation of elements is configured to emphasize the central importance of the audience’s involvement with what is seen, heard, felt, and tasted, within a network of ever-changing complex social interrelationships and multimedia onslaughts.

Central to Madrone Art Bar is the total aesthetic cultural experience, and the participation of the audience in defining its character, meaning, and significance as an alternative art space.

At Madrone, the visitor is enmeshed in an inundation of overlapping actions, sights, and sounds, produced by the interaction of various aesthetic and cultural forces and relations at work in the space. These ever-evolving nightly activities form the contexts that ephemerally coexist in the transitory universe that is Madrone.

All the major art forms—film, music, dance, sculpture, painting, and written text—are utilized in a presentation devised to commandeer and heighten the audience’s senses.

Most important at Madrone is questioning and expanding common assumptions of what constitutes the nature of art, as well as the subversion of galleries or museums as the sole location for exhibiting, and defining, the meaning and validity of art. Madrone is thus concerned with disseminating, democratizing, and re-articulating the significance of art in an alternative functioning exhibition space—the neighborhood bar as an art forum.

Here, conventional and settled notions of art and its presentation are subverted, through a strategy of bringing and blending together a multitude of creative forms of expression, with commercially-produced items and various found objects to constitute an artistic spatial assemblage.

At Madrone, fostering the element of surprise and unexpected responses to the work is facilitated and valued, through its juxtaposition of performance with ordinary objects and aspects of popular culture, in order to open up a full range of possible new meanings.

The aim is to intensify the human experience, in all its personal, cultural and social aspects, by freeing people from their common assumptions, staid rational expectations, and restrictive artistic white-cube exhibition formats and structures encountered in daily life.

The aesthetic strategies at Madrone are oriented toward transforming the neighborhood bar into a conceptual art vehicle, in a cultural intervention that is concerned with confronting the hierarchalization of various art media, as well as undermining the canonical stature of solitary cloistered “modernist” objects. Madrone blurs, disrupts, and confounds common sense ideas people have of “art” — and the words, ideas, and associations attached to its presentation in traditional spaces — by co-mingling materials, images, and texts to circumvent and implode a “modernist” ideological residue, which views art as autonomous from the world of everyday life and thinks of art as self-contained and dislocated from society as a whole.

Madrone Art Bar aims to undermine this philosophical orientation, and thus presents performers and works on display as a counter-cultural and counter-hegemonic ideological intervention, which claims a social “space” that seeks to expand personal doors of perception by presenting “art” as an edifying social force connected to a range of interrelated cultural practices.

In this regard, the emphasis at Madrone is on exploring the performative and intellectual processes that art is capable of articulating within expanded cultural parameters, in order to extend the possibilities for investigating and challenging inherited institutional assumptions regarding the nature of art, and its meaning and value, in an attempt to (re)integrate “art” into a total momentary social fabric, by recognizing that art is always an expanding historic and social enterprise.

In so doing, Madrone hopes to challenge settled ideas related to the various media employed, through the interactive free play of art, sound, and light, and the social engagements that occur nightly, in the art space that is Madrone.