Denver's third Biennial of the Americas celebration is big and bright and filled with activities and exhibits exploring the hemispheric crossover of art, politics and economic trends in the Americas in the here and now. The hardest thing about navigating your boat through this busy sea is knowing where to get started, but Biennial officials have given you a great place to do it: the July 14 Opening Night Street Party. Not only will the event introduce the hordes to the new Biennial Pavilion, but it will also also give folks a taste of what’s to come as the week progresses.
As a physical hub that never sleeps, the Biennial Pavilion might be BotA 2105’s greatest innovation. Located in the Triangle Building in lower downtown, at 1550 Wewatta Street, the Pavilion is designed to anchor the spirit of the Biennial with an ongoing slate of conversations and performances bubbling up out of the theme of Now! “There will be a daily drop-in schedule of events — everything from food to short talks to a happy hour — that require no appointment or ticket,” says Biennial CEO and director Erin Trapp. “Even people just walking by who know nothing about the Biennial can stop in any time for coffee, art and something fun.”
On opening night, you’ll first have a chance to see what’s happening at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art’s Poetry & Performance Cafe, which will host readings, performances and talks throughout the Biennial, and a look at the art exhibit Oíd el Sueño de una Palabra / Listen to the Dream of a Word, a collaboration with Museo Comunitario del Valle de Xico and Colectivo Xico Arte housed at the Pavilion. And outside, the crowds will swell throughout the Union Station neighborhood, where Denver’s Flobots and the pan-American combo Making Movies will rev up Biennial-goers. The cherry on top? A marching band will lead partiers over to MCA Denver for the opening of the Biennial’s central art exhibit, Now? NOW!, an international group-artist take on contemporary visions and mediums curated by Lauren Wright and curatorial assistant Anya Pantuyeva.
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“Now? NOW! represents the intellectual core of the Biennial,” Wright notes. “We’ve gathered artists from across the hemisphere to address elements of the present condition in imaginative ways.” Those works, she explains, include a mixture of site-specific installations and new works created just for the Biennial, ranging from Robert Longo’s powerful image of St. Louis Rams players raising their fists in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, to Mariana Castillo Debal’s floor installation mapping the history of Mexico City. “We want this to be an event for everyone,” Wright adds. “I don’t like to think of contemporary art as alienating.”
Attend the 2015 Biennial of the Americas Opening Night Street Party and the Now? NOW! opening reception from 8 to 11 p.m. July 14, in and around the Biennial Pavilion. Admission is free; for more information about this and other Biennial events visit the BotA 2105 website. And stay tuned for more Biennial coverage at westword.com.