Present Tense: A Post-337 Project

The power of public art is beyond words. I do worship at the institutional shrine of art museums - and those who travel with me know that I lovingly haul 300-page hardcover museum guides half way around the world to place them affectionately in my collection - but there's nothing like turning the corner of a city street and stumbling upon an unexpected work of art. You may have just pictured a fountain statue in a park, or something similar, but I'm referring to anything that strikes me as beautiful...whether intentionally "art" or not.

This rambling thought is one of the many reason I obsess over modern art. The accessibility. The unbridled creativity. The randomness. The democracy. The democracy? Yes, the democracy.

Public art is no respecter of persons. To experience public art you do not reverently attend a museum, quietly shuffling your shoes down hallowed marble hallways past silent works of canonical fame. You simply stumble upon it and...experience. Love it. Hate it. Blog it. Photograph it. Forget about it. That experience is uniquely yours in a space that belongs to all. It's a fascinating paradigm.

I recently visited the Salt Lake ART Center, specifically the "Present Tense: A Post-337 Project" exhibit. The exhibit engages artists who were part of The 337 Project - a downtown building purchased by Salt Lake residents Adam and Dessi Price, who then turned it over to local artists. When the artists were done painting, installing, sculpting, tagging, whatevering, the building opened to the public.

Adam Price writes in the Present Tense exhibit guide, "...thousands of people who had never been to a museum before felt empowered to enter The 337 Project. Reflecting on their own sense of participation, those who were there do not speak of having 'attended' The 337 Project, but instead assert their presence at a seminal event: 'I was there.'" Six days later, the building was completely demolished.

Like a Tibetan mandala, the creation that touched so many was gone in a matter of hours. There's something poetic and profound in that reality. The impermanence of beauty. The temporal nature of...everything. To continue the magic that was 337, the Present Tense exhibit creates a more traditional space for our local artists. The exhibit at the ART Center, however, is as untraditional as can be. As modern art, it is as random as you would expect and I loved loved loved it. You can read my friend chrliechaz's review HERE. We both adored Trent Alvey's Urban Artifacts. I actually plan to do a smaller version of this (like three jars on a shelf) in my own living room.

The exhibit runs until 27 September. Click HERE for info or click HERE.

Makes me weak in the knees

Monday Madeleine