Cortney Lane Stell quietly goes about her work as gallery director at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, but her work has real impact: Stell consistently mounts exhibits at RMCAD that display global ideas and cutting-edge trends in art, bringing work by international artists to Lakewood. She also keeps track of what's happening in Denver's backyard, though, and when Carson Chan came aboard as the lead curator for next week's Biennial of the Americas, Stell was a natural choice to join the curatorial team, to address what and who is up-to-the-minute in the regional art scene.
In anticipation of the Biennial and Stell's contributions to it -- particularly the all-Colorado exhibit First Draft at the McNichols Building -- we asked her to tackle our 100cc questionnaire. Stell's thoughts on what's interesting in art here and abroad follow. Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Cortney Lane Stell: Well, my first response is, collaborate in what way? I guess it could be in exhibition-making, writing or edutainment/events, as those are the main fields that circulate in curating.
I would collaborate with Marcel Duchamp and Michel Foucault on an exhibition. Or I would collaborate with Shel Silversteen and Slavoj Zizek on a fiction novel. Perhaps I need to have more under my belt before either of those collaborations, though....
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I am super-interested in Speculative Realism and Object Orient Ontology right now, both philosophies that look at anti-humanist perspectives in relation to being in the world. In opposition to traditional causal determinist philosophies, the Speculative Realists are looking at nature and our relations to objects in the world in interesting ways. Its stuff that's at least worth a good Googling for anyone interested in objects, namely artists.
Continue reading for more on Cortney Lane Stell. What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Ironic art: There is too much of it and no depth.
What's your day job?
I am the Gallery Director at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, a private art and design school that offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would not accept the offer.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Well, there are a lot of things that can always be done... but what rises to the top of my list is that we need a larger collector base in the city. I would love to see store-bought "art" around town and more quality local works. There is good work being made out here, that the community should support.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Hands down, Louise Martorano, the deputy director at RedLine. She is an entirely too under-recognized gift for Denver. A close second is artist Devon Dikeou. We are super lucky to have the Dikeou Collection in town, and Devon's work is top-notch.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
Well, I'm getting ready to open the 2013 Biennial of the Americas exhibitions as well as an exhibition of work funded by the NEA at RedLine's Sustainability Park, both opening the week of July 15. It's exciting to realize large projects. I'm also looking forward to Simon Critchley's new publication on Hamlet, Stay, Illusion!: The Hamlet Doctrine. What else...I always look forward to the summer clouds.
Who do you think will get noticed in the Denver art scene this year?
Amber Dawn Cobb. She has some lovely work up at RedLine and Gildar Gallery right now -- check it out.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 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.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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