Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Variations at Pirate: Contemporary Art

Catalyst III (left) with wood printing blocks leaning on the far wall. Infinite Drawing Series (right) on the wall.

Here are a few images from my latest exhibition Variations at Pirate: Contemporary Art in Denver. I had the opportunity to show next to Tsogo Mijid, a Mongolian painter who now lives with his family in Denver. His work was in the front room and since I am a new associate member I was in the back space, a very unique and challenging space.
2200 Feet Squared (left) resin sculpture and tissue paper sculpture on a Plexiglass stand. A light box work from 2005 (right) called Accumulations and Variations displaying 23 transparent and stacked prints.
Envisioning and designing a show is an extremely important part of curating. In this instance co-op gallery artists are free to do pretty much whatever they want and with this freedom comes the ability to contextualize, direct, and inform the viewer without the filter of a second or third party agenda, namely a commercial gallery or museum space. On a larger scale the hanging and presentation of the exhibition by the artist becomes a work in and of itself. Even if artists worked two dimensionally, in this format we are forced to create in a three dimensionally. I find the idea and execution of exhibiting just as fascinating as making the work. A great philosophical question arises, is it art if only the maker has seen it or does it become art once it is seen and judged by another? I believe in the latter. Making the work public transforms its meaning and in this instance it becomes or is declared based on the space and proclamation by myself and/or someone else whom recognized it as being art. Of course it can always become much more than that, more than the sum total of its parts if put in a different context, possibly another culture.
Tsogo Mijid's paintings and drawings in the front room of Pirate.
 There was some skepticism as to how the overall show would look with Tsogo and I have such different types of work and backgrounds. For myself it was never an issue. Art is a universal language and people are adaptable and tend to find similarities and ways of transitioning that seem unfathomable. Contemporary curating at museums and galleries throughout the world are proving that a percentage of curatorial direction comes from the viewers, not a prescribed and proven way of doing things. Adam Lerner, the MC at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art is constantly doing this. His programing of the museum is rooted in paradoxical values and the unfathomable. The traditional sterile museum vultures of a staunchy dust collecting bins whom like to classify and group art according to dates, periods and styles would gasp and choke at the mention of how Adam has revolutionized the perception of the art museum.

Tsogo and I had a great time and the show was very successful. If you have the opportunity please check out your local co-op galleries. It is a beginning for most artists and it is in spaces like this that you can find some of the more interesting and cutting edge work being done in your community. Pirate: Contemporary is open Fridays 6-10 with an opening reception every 1st Friday of the month. Saturdays and Sundays 12-5. For more info visit pirateartonline.org.

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