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Double Duty

William Biety, director of the van Straaten Gallery, never fails to come up with interesting shows to fill the place, and the current pairing, Floyd Tunson: Remix and Andrea Modica: Platinum/Palladium Prints, is no exception. Interestingly, both artists have an association with quaint Manitou Springs: Tunson has his home and studio there, and Modica, who now lives in Philadelphia, is a former resident of the town.

“Floyd’s series is very interesting,” says Biety, who chose the paintings. “He’s taken recognizable Picassos, Matisses and Cézannes and he’s inserted racist drawings like Tin Tin comic strips and Mexican stamps into the images. He’s taking Western culture’s ideas of blacks and has turned it on its side.” The apparent catalyst for Tunson was the fact that these early modernists sometimes took African art for their inspiration. “That group was looking to Africa to find something missing in their own culture — but not really getting it — so Floyd puts something back into their pieces,” Biety explains.

The Tunsons are quite flamboyant, the exact opposite of the contemplative Modicas. “She’s a world-class photographer who does amazing in-depth photography of families she hangs out with for decades,” notes Biety of the latter, pointing out that “they’re her models, but they’re also her collaborators.” The show at van Straaten includes a group of pieces based on a family who lives in Fountain that’s part of a famous series by Modica. Biety decided to mount the Modica show since the photographer will also be featured in a major exhibit at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art that opens on September 25.

The Tunson and Modica shows will be unveiled September 10 at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at van Straaten, 760 Santa Fe Drive, and will continue through October 17. Visit or call 303-573-8585
Sept. 10-Oct. 17, 2009


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