100 Colorado Creatives: Feminism & Co. co-curator Elissa Auther
#82: Elissa Auther
As co-curator of the MCA Denver's annual Feminism & Co. (there's another installment tonight), Elissa Auther has been responsible for bringing untold stories and untrue stereotypes to the forefront.Through the creation of panels on polyamory, feminist science and women's roles in the workforce, Auther has helped start a necessary conversation around what it means to be a woman in contemporary culture.
An associate professor of contemporary art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and adjunct curator at MCA Denver, Auther was an obvious choice for our 100 Colorado Creatives project. Here the author, professor and curator talks art-scene politics and what she sees in Lena Dunham's body of work.
Westword: Are you working on any project/collaboration that you're looking forward to sharing with the community?
I'm co-curating a retrospective exhibition of the painter Marilyn Minter with Bill Arning, the director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, that will open at the MCA Denver in 2015. Although most people in the art world know of Minter's recent, monumental paintings like "Heavy Metal," this exhibition will also highlight her earlier, lesser-known work focusing on femininity, filth and physical flaws.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
I just saw Margarethe Von Trotta's new film about Hannah Arendt, and I was reminded of her intellectual brilliance and courage. It would be interesting to collaborate with someone of her caliber, but I doubt we'd have the same taste in art.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Lots of people, but the playwright Young Jean Lee and the writer/director Lena Dunham are at the top of my list. They approach their subjects (whether everyday experience, gender, sexuality, relationships, belief systems, shame, etc.) from completely original perspectives.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
People who confuse the art market with the art world, because they don't know what they're talking about.
What's your day job?
I'm a professor of contemporary art at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. I'm also an adjunct curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Pay off my student loans and then operate a cultural foundation that works the opposite of every other culture foundation by embracing risk-taking. I would fund creative projects that don't necessarily have a track record, aren't motivated by feel-good "outcomes," and uniquely contribute to building a dynamic public culture focused on the visual and performing arts, however weird and unorthodox.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
1) Stabilize young, innovative, cultural institutions so they can grow; 2) Support individual artists with competitive grants.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Too many, can't pick. I'll give a shout-out to all the young artist-entrepreneurs who have positively transformed South Broadway.
Throughout the year, we'll be profiling 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Who rocks your world locally? Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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