Gallery Stroll: Back to the Basic: Gallery Strolling at UMOCA

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“Marinated Film,” by Jennifer West, part of the Analogital exhibit at UMOCA. Image Courtesy the artist, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles and Vilma Gold, London.

I like to think of myself as an efficient person. Truthfully, I get a little thrill from cramming my schedule to see how much I can get done in one hour or one day. When it comes to gallery strolling, I want to see as much brilliant art as possible in the amount of time I have allotted. So, when a gallery or museum offers a variety of outstanding exhibits happening simultaneously, that venue makes it to the top of my hit list.

UMOCA, located at 20 S. West Temple, has been the foundation for contemporary art in Utah since 1931. With four gallery spaces featuring international, national and local art, you’re likely to see something that inspires, delights or touches you—usually a little of each.

It’s safe to say that manners and etiquette are not this generation’s strong suit. Technology keeps us overly connected with the world, so much that we forget to connect with those standing right next to us. For the recent dOCUMENTA13 exhibit in Kassel, Germany, artist Ana Prvacki was commissioned to create a series of public service announcements, now at the UMOCA in an exhibit titled Neutralize Negative Feelings, March 1 – April 27. These PSAs were meant to help one navigate awkward social situations such as spinach in one’s teeth, or the amount of personal space a person should be given, but the message is always one of respect and politeness. Prvacki incorporated etiquette counselor Vartouhi Keshishyan and comedy group The Intecollectuals, which makes for credible, yet witty skits. The PSAs, played on a flat screen, are accompanied by embroidered linens, a more traditional approach to reminding one of how to behave. The message remains the same, but the tools for delivering it have evolved.  For those with embroidery or quilting skills who crave the old sewing circle, UMOCA will host the Friday night Embroidery and Etiquette Club March 1 – April 27 from 6-8 p.m. Come stitch and bitch with a new etiquette topic each week. For more details on the club, contact Emily King at emily.king@utahmoca.org.

It doesn’t get more basic than an 8.5 x 11–inch piece of paper, found in abundance in every office in the world. When Ignacio Uriarte sat day in and day out in an office, though, this business administrator found his artistic expression. Binaries, open March 1 – June 15, takes the very basic office supplies––paper, rulers, markers and type size––and creates a dynamic and thought-provoking exhibit. Clean lines, great depth and very clever, I highly recommend popping in to see this show. Highlights include a large A4 paper installation entitled “Double Rhombus”­­––82 x 18.2 inches of plain, white paper folded to create depth, motion and color. “Ascending Type” takes type size from a 32 to 1024, evoking a feeling of place and size while offering infinite options within type size. In “Four Geometry Sets,” a wall of ultrachrome prints reflects various shapes and shades made from layering and arranging everyday rulers.

From calm and clean, to chaotic and sporadic, the Analogital exhibit­­––Jan. 18 – April 20—could have used a trigger warning: “This exhibit could invoke seizures, or, at the very least, a mind-numbing headache.” If you thought the dial-up modem was annoying, wait until you hear Mark Leckey’s refrigerator voice tell you about his many features while traveling through space and time via a green screen, and I can’t even begin to explain why 14 televisions in a back room were showing snippets of a Meatloaf concert. As with our modern communication, we wade through the static to find what we want or need. I was treated to a taste of my past in a piece titled “I Shot Andy Warhol.”  Viewers play original Nintendo game Hogan’s Alley, but all the characters are replaced with images of Andy Warhol. Analogital explores where imagination and technology meet and how that intersection might shape the future. My future has dinner plans, so I’m off with my total gallery time at one hour and 15 minutes. Who says you don’t have time for a stroll?

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