The key to grabbing a bit of the spotlight during the convention is to ride on the VIPs’ coattails, as anyone who’s crashed a party or two can attest. Turns out local contemporary artists are using the same strategy to ensure their work gets a little attention.
A perfect example of this is Boom, a nomadic Denver gallery housed temporarily in the back of a 26-foot Penske truck. Boom, a collective effort featuring the work of local artists like Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, Brian Robertson and Rodney Wallace, has been making the rounds over the past few days, setting up shop on the street right where the action is. “We wanted to be the cultural ambassadors for Denver,” says Murphy. “To show that Denver has a great, vibrant art scene.” Many of the official convention art shows, like the Dialogue: City events presented by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, focus on non-Denver artists.
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“It’s been quite the learning experience for future expeditions,” says Murphy of the DNC, which is Boom’s second outing; its first being the grand opening of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton building in 2006. After a debut outing at Dialog:City's first political karaoke performance at the Supreme Court, Boom’s mission got shaky when it was not allowed to park by the Yoga Health Festival at the Civic Center, because of permitting problems and other complications. But soon the roving art gallery, whose temporary wooden walls attached to the inside of the truck are covered in paintings, photos and sculptures, was landing key spots around town: at Tent State’s headquarters, Dazzle and the Alliance Center’s Big Tent. And on Wednesday and Thursday, Boom was parked at the best location of all: in front of Shepard Fairey’s much-celebrated Manifest Hope Gallery at Andenken. The touring show drew celebs, delegates and hipsters in droves – which meant more attention for Boom, too. Fairey even filmed the truck for possible inclusion in the film he’s making about the Manifest Hope tour.
Today the artists plan to cruise by local schools like East High and Denver School of the Arts, and then this weekend they may try to crash the Taste of Colorado festival.
After that, who knows. While they have to return the rented truck on Sunday, there are plans for future expeditions – maybe even to purchase a truck of their own. Murphy would love to take it cross-country, stopping by schools and events – and into the soul of suburbia: “I like the idea of taking it to Wal-Mart and letting all the shoppers walk through.” For more information about where Boom will be today and on into the future, check out www.boomdenver.com. –- Joel Warner