Behind the Gallery

Behind+the+Gallery

Robert Miller standing next to a current art piece at the Rio Hondo Gallery for his portrait.

The Rio Hondo Art Gallery is open for all students throughout the semester and it frequently exhibits many different art forms for everyone to see.
The gallery often includes art pieces from the students, as well as other artists.
 I had the opportunity to sit down with Robert Miller and ask him questions about the gallery’s history along with his inspirations and future goals.
Our gallery’s director, Miller, has been working at Rio Hondo for seven to eight years.
“For the Gallery, I am the gallery director and the curator, so it is my job to oversee all the gallery operations as well as choosing the show, lighting design, display.
I also teach that with my gallery class. So we have a gallery class on Fridays that we teach those skills and we’ve been very lucky.
We have a lot of students who have gone off to do internships with the Getty, American Museum of Ceramic Art, and several LA galleries as well.
 Gallery shows are usually selected within one to two years in advance so that’s where we run with our program.
And then I sort of select themes. Our next big show is the biannual so that’s every other year and that’s a huge show that we created here at Rio Hondo College, and that we have partners.
Our partners are Cerritos College and Harp Museum so it is at a three different venues and it’s going to be a really exciting show.”
Once a year, Miller offers an Art Gallery Display Design class and it educates students on “how to run a gallery and its business. It’s both; the museum side and the business side, the professional side.”
The course is an introduction into how a gallery is displayed, how certain work should be presented, “how it should be hung, what heights change different viewpoints, proper lighting, proper materials.”
The class often goes on field trips, visiting many galleries to meet curators and understand the preparations behind the scenes.
Not only does Robert Miller curate the shows and teach about the gallery, he is also our ceramics instructor here at Rio Hondo College and University of California, Los Angeles.
 He has previously taught at Long Beach College and Mount San Antonio College. His works has been displayed in many galleries, nationally and internationally.
“I am an artist, a showing artist. I have been doing that for quite a long time.” He has previously owned two private galleries just outside of Beverly Hills, Miller Fine Art and Miller Durazo Contemporary.
The Art Gallery officially opened early on, “it goes back to the early days of when Rio Hondo was created,” but Miller has been the curator for about the last four years.
He has never displayed his own art here, nor will he ever. He has participated in the faculty gallery before but that is as far as he will go.
He prefers showcasing other amazing art work to broaden the students’ horizons. When someone creates and produces a show, “you don’t show your own art work, that’s a faux pas.”
His inspirations came from many different artists. He grew up around art but mainly discovered it by the time he was in high school.
Although his specialty is ceramics, Miller does lots of instillation work as well as performance art. He received his B.F.A. from Otis Parsons Art Institute and after apprenticing in Japan, he came back to the states for his M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.