On Saturday, July 1, the second-floor living room of Paul Keefe's gabled Corona Street house will become a DIY living-room art gallery named Grand Opening. Its inaugural, one-night-only exhibit, The Fridge Show, aims to bring together art by Denverites and out-of-state artists; in keeping with the show's name, works in a variety of media will be positioned atop mini fridges or affixed to refrigerator doors.
Grand Opening is a joint venture between Keefe, a painter, and friend Brooke Tomiello. Keefe says he imagines the gallery as a continuation of Tomiello's former independent Brooklyn basement gallery YOUME Haus: a venue to showcase art free of commercial pressure. This approach allows them to display more avant-garde art, like a humidifier wearing a nylon T-shirt that reads "BE NICE OR GO HOME" or drawings on a background of ripped-out magazine pages. Artists whose work will be on display in The Fridge Show include Andrea McGinty, Aaron Storck, Kacie Lees, Nicole Reber, Marsha Mack and Mike Erickson.
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Tomiello, coming from New York, and Keefe, returning to Colorado after earning an MFA at the University of Kansas, brought fresh eyes to the local landscape. "My interpretation of the Denver arts scene is that it's a really small, tight-knit community," Tomiello says. By including non-Denver artists in The Fridge Show, the duo is "hopefully broadening people's horizons a bit," Keefe says.
The independent gallery comes at a time when the future of many DIY venues, including the still-shuttered Rhinoceropolis and Glob, is unclear despite efforts to stave off artist displacement. What Tomiello calls a "labor of love" sprang to life last month, after the idea had been percolating for a while. She and Keefe reached out to artists they knew, asking for contributions; they scrounged Craigslist and NextDoor for used fridges. The idea behind the incorporation of the kitchen appliances, they explain, was because fridges are ubiquitous and often used for self-expression.
For Grand Opening's grand opening, its creators hope for a relaxed, community-centric environment. The Fridge Show will start at 6 p.m. and go until midnight, so gallery-goers can come in and mingle as they please. If you miss the one-time exhibit, fear not: the "DIY living-room gallery," as Tomiello terms it, will host other shows in the future.
The Fridge Show, 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Saturday, July 1, Grand Opening, 1147 Corona Street, second floor, free. For more information, go to the exhibit's Facebook page.