#39: Lauren A. Wright
Though 2015 Biennial of the Americas artistic director Lauren A. Wright is a hometown girl, she spent nearly a decade abroad in the United Kingdom, where she explored international trends in art as a curator for Turner Contemporary and also worked on special projects for Tate Modern and other respected overseas institutions. She's returned to Denver with a double-edged purpose: to bring both a global spectrum and a hometown sense of community involvement to the Biennial. We asked Wright to introduce herself to Denver by answering the 100CC questionnaire, which follows.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why? The choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer/artist/all-around-genius John Cage. They were both brilliant, generous personalities who together and in very different ways totally reoriented thinking about creative processes and the relationship between different artists and art forms. An amazing little known fact: They did some of their first collaborations here in Denver in the late 1940s! Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why? Everyone involved in the movements in Mexico to highlight problems of violence and governance, sparked by the terrible story of the 43 missing students. I was fortunate to be in Mexico City during the largest demonstration there in years, and though the situation is awful, it was fascinating and inspiring to see how people from all parts of society came together in creative ways to express their frustration and need for change. This continues unabated, even though the world's attention has subsided. Recent demonstrations in the U.S. and France in response to tragic events are evidence of the importance of public dialogue, and I'm fascinated to see how themes and strategies are traveling from place to place as new events unfold.
What's your day job? I am the Artistic Director of the Biennial of the Americas. My job is to curate and organize the art program of the Biennial, which involves researching artists (visual, dance, music, etc.) and working with them to bring artworks and projects to the Biennial. I also work closely with the rest of my colleagues to help shape the ideas program of talks and other events, and to develop collaborations with great creative people in our community. Our next edition is July 14 through September 7, 2015, so it's really ramping up. A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it? I would use it to commission artists to make incredible projects in unexpected places that will create extraordinary experiences for lots of people. I'm most motivated by working with artists -- helping them develop their practices in new directions - and by creating situations where people have art experiences that surprise them and cause them to ask questions about the world. Continue reading for more from Lauren Wright.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts? It could continue to develop links with other artistic communities and audiences nationally and internationally. This is such an inspiring city and state full of creative people -- it's been this way for decades, and we don't shout about it enough. There should be more initiatives aimed at inviting people here to experience and get involved in this, and providing opportunities to this community to connect with creative people elsewhere. Who is your favorite Colorado Creative? The whole team at MCA Denver. I've been such a fan for years, even if it was from afar while while I lived abroad. I love the way they do excellent, very serious programming with a great sense of personality and humor, and they create a space that's welcoming to lots of different people. What's on your agenda in the coming year? I will be continuing to bed down in Denver and develop and realize the next Biennial of the Americas. And once it's over (even before!), I'll be starting to plan for the next one in 2017! Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community in 2014? There are a lot of interesting artist-generated activities happening here, whether they be studio groups like Tank, cooperatives like Pirate or Ice Cube, or performance projects like Flinching Eye Collective and You and Me. They are doing wonderful, exciting things that involve taking risks and pushing their practices in new directions. I think many of them will find new audiences and opportunities here in Denver and well beyond in the next year.
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Lauren A. Wright took a local practice run as juror for the Icebreaker 6: National Juried Exhibition, which ends Saturday at Ice Cube Gallery. Keep up with news about the 2015 Biennial of the Americas as it rolls out online.
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