See the Exhibit
Urbanity runs until July 5, at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.
Other articles by the same author
To mark its 35th anniversary, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art's (UICA) current exhibit, Urbanity, examines the implications of living within a modern urban setting. Through pieces whose media range from traditional painting and photography to sculptures and installations, the exhibit discusses the effects of being constantly surrounded, either by other people or by the structures that form the city itself, and of having one's senses be constantly impacted by bustling and populated surroundings. The participating artists call on the observer to engage with a variety of perspectives regarding life within an urban setting.
"What happens when a space that was active becomes inactive?" is how one of the participating artists, Emily Duke, articulated the concept mentioned above. This theme is examined in a few pieces throughout the show. In addition to Emily Duke's sculptures, it is among the many themes present within Scott Hocking's documentation of the installations he constructed within abandoned buildings in Detroit. His photography shows not only his structures' eventual deconstruction and deterioration, but that of the buildings that housed them as well.
Another piece along this same vein is Michael's Beitz's sculpture of a couch that has been broken down and tied into a knot. The piece is a commentary on what occurs when a family is forced to vacate their house, by taking a piece of furniture that can so often represent a family's time spent together and twisting it until its traditional utility is completely removed.
Other pieces throughout the gallery embody a more personal take on living within an urban setting by examining whether the people who populate a city would rather be alone or feel like they are a part of a larger community, while another still expands on that by discussing the possibility of feeling alone even when one is surrounded by, and is a part of, a densely populated area. These pieces, combined with others that comment on the more physical barriers with which we as a population interact more or less unconsciously (traffic cones, for example), provide thought-provoking commentary on personal experience of the a city's occupants, while simultaneously complicating it.
Urbanity runs until July 5, and by combining a multitude of themes that all apply to the same setting and experience, the exhibit presents a well-rounded depiction of and commentary on the modern city landscape and the experiences that occur within it.
Although I originally hail from Northern California's Bay Area, I moved to Grand Rapids in November of last year and have happily installed myself in my new post-grad, East Town life. I work part-time at a local bookstore, and when I'm not in the store peddling their wares I'm usually at home reading them. The Rapidian is my first writing gig, but I've been thoroughly enjoying it and learning a lot, so I hope I can keep throwing things out there to be published, and who knows: maybe I can keep doing this when I grow up. In the meantime I shall continue on in this vein, watching re-runs of Frasier and The West Wing between my article-writing and reading endeavors.