To break out of the record a record, play a CD-release party, go on tour box, John Common turned to friend Alicia Bailey, owner of the Abecedarian Gallery, for help. Together they came up with the Common Box Project, a multimedia collaboration thats grown to involve more than sixty artists across the country. Every artist received an identical box, created by local woodworker Nicolas Willert, thats designed to one day hold a copy of Commons new CD in a recessed compartment. They also got some of the music and lyrics, and maybe an image or two, from the in-progress record as inspiration. The rest was up to them.
To me, whats cool about this box project is youre going to see sixty-plus different, individual, unique people who have been quote-unquote forced to express their art in an identically shaped object, explains Common. Its this weird kind of combination of unique art inside an incredibly standardized form.
Bailey confirms that the results shes seen so far have definitely broken out of any common box. Theres none that are even remotely similar to one another, even though some are working off the same lyrics set, she says. I do see projects where theres a quality of sameness overall, and this project does not have that. Its really dynamic.
The response from artists wanting to participate has been so overwhelming that Common is looking at taking the show on the road, touring around regional Common Box Projects. Currently hes in talks with a half-dozen other cities, from Los Angeles to Asheville, North Carolina.
Denvers exhibit opens at 1 p.m. today at the Abecedarian Gallery, 910 Santa Fe Drive, #101, and will close there with a free listening party for the new record from 7 to 10 p.m. on July 18. For more information, including a list of participating artists, visit http://commonboxproject.blogspot.com or call 303-340-2110.
July 9-18, 2009