Art Mart

The relationship between art and commerce is a longstanding one, dating back to ancient times — though artists typically shy away from acknowledging any connection. This hostility to the market has led to another longstanding tradition: the starving artist.

But ignorance of the system is not bliss for young Colorado artist Colin Livingston. Unlike most of his peers, he celebrates the connections between art and the market; in fact, they’re the subject of his work. For the past few years, Livingston has been creating post-pop paintings that focus on the world of retail. One time, he did works based on the colors that were predicted to be the biggest sellers the following year; another time, he had buyers act as his collaborators, letting them choose the subjects of the pieces they subsequently purchased. And now with The Big Idea at Plus Gallery, he’s gone even further, conjuring up a shop and filling it with aesthetic facsimiles of products in the form of pre-packaged paintings and the sculptures that are based on them.

“It’s going to be such a unique, all-encompassing experience,” says Ivar Zeile, the gallery’s director. And Zeile got into the act himself, designing three T-shirts based on Livingston’s work, then having an on-line contest to pick the one that would be produced for the show’s opening. “There was no clear winner, so we did all three,” Zeile explains. They’ll be unveiled tonight at the reception for The Big Idea, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at Plus, 2501 Larimer Street; the show continues through January 16. For additional information, call 303-296-0927 or go to
Dec. 4-Jan. 16, 2009