Dikeou Superstars: Anya Kielar

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Pareidolia is when the mind senses and reinterprets certain stimuli and reconfigures them into a recognizable form. An example of this is seeing familiar objects or lifeforms in cloud formations, or hearing speech patterns behind a veil of white noise. There is a strong psychological drive to personify that which is non-human, and it is one that has served as great creative inspiration for artists for centuries. Attuned to this phenomenon is Anya Kielar, whose assemblages of old shower heads, brooms, and egg cartons merge together to create Sand Face #1 and Sand Face #2. Exhibited at Dikeou Collection, the two works “face” one another on opposite walls, placing the viewer between their staring eyes made of rope and sticks and coated with boldly colored sparkling sand. The faces imbue inanimate objects with character and emotion, but they also look at moments in art history that mark significant shifts in cultural, aesthetic, and social values.


In a zingmagazine interview with Rachel Cole Dalamangas, Kielar expressed that she is fascinated by ancient cultures and drawn to things that were made to carry out some symbolic purpose or that had some kind of belief structure behind them.” She instills these objects with energy and magic, transforming them from trampled waste into 21st-century totems. In her artist statement Kielar compares covering the objects with sand to entombment, in which “they become more like archaeological relics that are part of an eccentrically hewn alphabet. What they spell out is interchangeable and depends on how the viewer projects their own identity complex.” This mode of thought spills into the world of Surrealism, which found much inspiration from the archaeological and ethnographic artifacts coming from Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. The “projection” alluded to by Kielar can also be connected to the Surrealists’ interests in psychology and how the mind works on a subconscious level. Her process of picking up random objects off the street and collaging them together onto Masonite is akin to the Surrealist gesture of automatism.


Jump ahead several decades and we see how Sand Face #1 and Sand Face #2 fits perfectly within the 1970s-era of funky arts & crafts. Fiber arts were particularly popular during this era. From macramé plant holders and yarn-wrapped gods eyes, to embroidered wall hangings and crocheted halter tops, these homespun creations were crucial to the aesthetics of the 70s. Paint-by-number, colored gravel, pet rocks, beading, tie-dye, pressed and wax-dipped flowers were also prevalent. Characterized by a simple approach to design and forward use of color, it is easy to see how the creative hobby trends of the 1970s emanate from Kielar’s sand face creations.


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Crafting is [stereotypically] characterized as a female activity, something that is done in the home with domestic materials, and feminist artists of the 70s employed crafts to communicate the limitations opposed on women as well as celebrate their power. One of the strongest examples of this was the Womanhouse project/exhibition organized by Miriam Schapiro and Judy Chicago in 1972 in California. Susan Frazier’s Aprons in the Kitchen, Faith Wilding’s Crocheted Environment, and Sandy Orgel’s Linen Closet showed how the female experience is defined by the space, objects, and expectations associated with the home in ways that are both positive and negative. Likewise, Kielar has used art as a way to explore the complex nature of femininity, both universally and personally. The female figures she depicts, or vestiges thereof, are sharp, uninhibited, and confident but also playful, humorous, and inviting. Sand Face #1 and Sand Face #2 are key examples of how multifaceted women’s lives are, and, like the pareidolia experience, it is something that can catch you off-guard but leave you feeling charmed.


-Hayley Richardson

Recap: SupaStore Human

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Sarah Staton’s SupaStore project began on the streets of London in the early 1990s and has since become an ongoing venture that has taken place at museums, galleries and alternative venues all over the world. As an artist with a long-standing history with the Dikeou Collection and zingmagazine, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to exhibit SupaStore in Denver when Staton proposed the idea last fall. Last month Staton journeyed across the Atlantic to Denver to install SupaStore Human – We are the Product at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax for a very rare temporary exhibition within the permanent collection. In addition to installing the project Sarah also lead a plaster casting workshop and presented an artist talk at the opening. It is always a treat to welcome a Dikeou Collection artist to Denver, and to host Sarah for a week and witness her make this project come to life was certainly one of the highlights of the year.


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Collection Research Assistant Hannah Cole arranges the pages of a Culling Richards artist book and Sarah places one of her SupaScarfs. Rough cut aluminum weapons by Lito Kattou adorn the walls in the background.


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Sarah’s daughter Ozziline models a painted coat by Lindsey Mendick.


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A workshop where participants cast their body parts was held the night before the opening. While most people cast their hands and feet, a couple brave souls opted for the elbow and the ear. Results varied.


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Scenes from SupaStore Human - We are the Product opening reception and artist talk.


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Faux beard or Nicole Wermers merkin? You be the judge.


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Minerva, the Roman goddess of art, trade, handicrafts and wisdom, has become the public face of the SupaStore and represents the classical origins of these now mechanized exchanges. Her spears accompany Paula Linke’s frozen summer fruit t-shirts and her shield with Steve Kado’s AGPTL: BAG.


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Limited edition #DicktatorDon by Dd Davies, Ejaz Christian’s HeartFlyLove GIF, and Community Kunst playing cards by GAS.


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Mouse nibbled huckleberry seeds, aka Alien Heads, by Nicola Tyson.


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Ceramic foam Face Necklaces by Saelia Aparicio look good enough to eat.


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Malverde Hands, plaster  hands with nails did, by Dikeou Collection’s art preparator Dmitri Obergfell.


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T-shirts featuring Dikeou Superstars Lawrence Seward, Lisa Kereszi, Sarah Staton, Justin Goldwater, and Tracy Nakayama.


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SupaPimp sunglasses accompanied by hand, elbow, and ear casts. 


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Artfully inspired cleaning brushes by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan with Tanya Ling pink handprinted sweatshirt.


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SupaLuxe cashmere throws by Sean Sullivan Saved NY. Welcome to blanket country!


If you’d like to read more about SupaStore Human - We are the Product check out Cori Anderson’s article from 303magazine and Susan Froyd’s write-up for Denver Westword


SupaStore Human - We are the Product is one view at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax (312 E Colfax Ave) Wednesday through Friday 11am-5pm as well as by appointment through February 2018.


-Hayley Richardson

Announcing SupaStore Human - We are the Product, December 2017 at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax

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The Dikeou Collection is thrilled to welcome artist Sarah Staton to Denver as she presents SupaStore Human – We are the Product at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax, 312 E Colfax Ave, Denver CO. A plaster casting workshop will be held prior to the opening on Thursday, December 14 from 6-8pm. SupaStore Human will open with a public reception and artist talk on Friday, December 15, from 6-8pm. Items presented in the SupaStore will be available for purchase.


Sarah Staton (born 1961) is an artist based in London, England, whose diverse practice melds sculpture, painting, architecture, design, publishing, fashion, and technology to create objects and spaces that are simultaneously aesthetic and utilitarian. Initiated in 1993, Sarah Staton’s SupaStore started as a DIY art sale experiment that has transpired at dozens of museums, galleries, and alternative venues over the years, the most recent at Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis. Over one hundred artists, ranging from up-and-coming contemporaries, unknowns, and established artists have had a piece they created for sale at the SupaStore. SupaStore Human – We are the Product reflects how technology and automation has impacted social interaction, commerce, and manufacturing. As the goddess of art, trade, handicrafts and wisdom, Minerva (in her many guises) has become the public face of the SupaStore and represents the classical origins of these now mechanized exchanges.


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On Thursday, December 14 (6-8pm) Sarah will lead a plaster casting workshop at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax where participants will cast their hands, arms and feet. The castings will become part of the SupaStore Human installation. Please join us for the official public opening of SupaStore Human – We are the Product on Friday, December 15 (6-8pm) at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax with artist talk at 6:45pm. Both the workshop and the opening reception are free and open to the public. SupaStore Human will be on view through February 2018.


Sarah Staton is Senior Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, and has exhibited internationally at museums and galleries like Tate Modern, Hauser and Wirth, Mount Stuart, and Osan Museum of Contemporary Art among many others. Her bleach on denim anti-painting, “Endless Column,” is exhibited at Dikeou Collection and her “10 SupaStore SupaStars” portfolio comprised of lithographs by past SupaStore artist participants is on view at Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax. Additionally, Sarah Staton has three artworks represented in Devon Dikeou’s ongoing installation ‘Not Quite Mrs. De Menil’s Liquor Closet” at Dikeou Collection. She has also curated projects in zingmagazine issues 4 and 15, as well in forthcoming issue 25.


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Artists participating in SupaStore Human – We are the Product include Saelia Aparicio, Fiona Banner, Gerry Bibby and Henrik Olesen, Simon Bill, Merlin Carpenter, Ejaz Christilano,  Jude Crilly, Jeremy Deller, Enrico David, Aaron Flint Jamison,  Freee, GAS (Kelsey Olson and Katelyn Farstad), Alison Gill, Justin Goldwater, Natalie Price Hafslund, Anthea Hamilton, Cira Huwald, NSRD designed by HIT, Steve Kado, Ken Kagami, Lito Kattou, Miguel Soto Karelovic, Lisa Kereszi, Adriana Lara, Tanya Ling , Paula Linke, Dan Mitchell, Adam McEwen, Sean McNanney Saved NY, Peles Empire, Tracy Nakayama, Dmitri Obergfell, Hadrian Pigott, Paloma Proudfoot, PROVENCE and Nolan Simon, Josephine Pryde, Cullinan Richards,  Lawrence Seward, Allison Jones and Milly Thompson, Will Thompson,  Demelza Watts, Nicola Wermers, Seyoung Yoon, and Anand Zenz.


For inquiries please email info@dikeoucollection.org

Dikeou Superstars: Devon Dikeou

RESERVED FOR LEO CASTELLI: SINCE CEZANNE (After Clive Bell)
2010 
Lateral View 
Wall: C-Print Wall Mural of Name Plate Reserving a Table in Perpetuity for the Preeminent Art Dealer Leo Castelli
Floor: 2 Tables and 4 Chairs from the Restaurant Mezzogiorno
Photographed at Independent Art Fair in 2010


In 1951 Leo Castelli curated the groundbreaking Ninth Street Show that marked the emergence of Abstract Expressionism, thus beginning a new chapter in the history of art. Six years later he opened his eponymous gallery in New York City that continued this trend of showcasing revolutionary art from America and Europe. Dubbed “the godfather of the contemporary art world” by Dennis Hopper, it is arguable that Castelli would not have found himself in this position without the initial influence and ongoing support of his wife, partner, and friend, Ileana Sonnabend. Together, Leo and Ileana championed the avant-garde, the difficult, the misunderstood art of the 20th century and gave it the visibility and support it needed to succeed. Devon Dikeou created her installations Reserved for Leo Castelli and Reserved for Ileana Sonnabend as an homage to these important figures. Both are exhibited at Dikeou Collection and remind us that, in large part because of them, we are able to experience the complex and progressive dialogues put forth by the variety of contemporary artists represented in the collection.


RESERVED FOR ILEANA SONNABEND: “BUDDHA OR MACHIAVELLI” 
(Brenda Richardson about Ileana Sonnabend as quoted by Calvin Tomkins— The New Yorker)
2010 Ongoing
Wall: C-Print of Name Plate Reserving a Table in Perpetuity for the Preeminent Art Dealer Ileana Sonnabend
Floor: 1 Table and 2 Chairs from the Restaurant Mezzogiorno
Photographed at NADA Miami Beach in 2010


Leo Castelli’s gallery moved around over the years and established multiple locations in Manhattan, predominantly centralized in the Upper East Side and SoHo. Though Leo and Ileana divorced in 1959, they remained close associates, and she started her own gallery near one of Leo’s SoHo outposts. Naturally, being in such close proximity, they shared space with one another amicably in both public and private realms. One of these spaces was Mezzogiorno, an Italian restaurant that specializes in Florentine fare where art dealers would wine and dine curators, artists, and collectors. Leo was at Mezzogiorno so often that he joked a table should be permanently reserved just for him, and so it happened. A brass plaque inscribed with “Reserved for Leo Castelli” and the name of the restaurant below was hung on the wall next to a four-top table. Later Ileana was given the same plaque, only her table sat just two, a nuanced jab at women’s status in the business of art. Upon seeing these plaques years later, Devon Dikeou immediately recognized their great symbolic value.


Dikeou’s art aims to define the spaces that act as interfaces between the artist, the context of viewing the art, and the collector. Her interest in the role of liminal spaces that serve as significant yet overlooked areas where important things occur, like major art exchanges at a small neighborhood restaurant, make the “Reserved” plaques the perfect subjects within her scope of practice. Dikeou photographed each of the plaques and printed them in two sizes – one to match the exact dimensions of the real plaque and mural-sized to fill an entire wall. The wall-sized murals are accompanied by dining sets from Mezzogiorno; a table for two for Ileana, and a table for four for Leo. Each of these installations were originally exhibited at art fairs, which Dikeou calls “the most fluid arena of art world market.” Today they exist at Dikeou Collection, another fluid environment but one where monetary exchange is absent, just like the dealers who are absent from their tables. The installation becomes a space where viewers can reflect on the tremendous influence these people had on the art world without overt reference to their wheelings and dealings. As Dikeou notes in her artist statement, “the plaques exist reserving a table in eternity for each art world deity, or perhaps their angels.”



Mezzogiorno has always taken pride in its status as a hub for artists and folks in the fashion and entertainment industries. Their website features an engaging gallery page with photos of their beloved patron, artist drawings, and press archives. Above is a clip from a cartoon published in a 1993 Vanity Fair article about the acclaimed eatery, with Ileana sharing a glass of wine with John Baldessari at her table for two, and Leo canoodling with Umberto Eco, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist.


 -Hayley Richardson

Dikeou Superstars: Dan Asher (1947-2010)


As flat, rectangular entities floating on the white wall of a digital format, such as our website, something about the devastating quality of Dan Asher’s Untitled Antarctic Series (1999) is lost—a presence, or aura. The series needs to be experienced in person. As you stand before them, each image impresses on the viewer the weight of its own distinct solemnity. And as a whole, the series creates an immense wall of color marked with seemingly unending vastness. Selections from Asher’s Untitled Antarctic Series on view at the Dikeou Collection were featured in the first color issue of zingmagazine, in 1998, and were created by the artist during two separate trips, first to Greenland, and later to the Antarctic. Driven by political and environmental concerns, desperate to discover new places, and determined to photograph these enigmatic edifices of ice before they disappeared, Asher’s motivations seem almost subsidiary to the human experience of isolation enclosed within the images. More than merely documentary, the Untitled Antarctic Series possesses an aesthetic which can be determined both Beautiful and Sublime.


A suffuse silence is imbued in the hushed hues of Asher’s icebergs. While not all the photos have blue in them—still murmurs of clouds burn in umber, stenciled outlines of monumental and ghostly forms appear barely discernable amidst cloudy indigo, and jagged aqua cuts through steel grays—the idea of blue seems to be pervasive throughout. In part, this is because compact glacial ice is blue. But the prevalent blue is, here, a condition of the human kind. Indeed, in his project for issue 7 of zingmagazine, Asher talked only of blue, stating, “I can now sense the full impact of the age-old expression “feeling blue.”



On the walls at Dikeou Collection, Asher’s images serve as a somber, contemplative pause in a curated space filled with conceptual, interactive, and humorous art. The quality of the Untitled Antarctic Series is strikingly different, too, when copared with the artist’s work and life in New York and Cologne. He was an artistic force: a filmmaker, photographer, sculptor, painter, and musician. Asher began taking photos in his teens, and photographed important rock and reggae musicians in the seventies. In the eighties, he created expressive pastels of masklike faces à la Basquiat, and in the nineties created minimalist drawings and sculptures while living in Cologne. In interviews given by people who knew Asher in Brandon Johnson’s Far From The Madding Crowd, or in Stephanie Schwam’s Documentary, Near Life Experience, the portrait of a man who lived a cacophonous, messy, complicated existence emerges. People seem to remember his art as brilliant and his persona as crazy, sincere, jarring, jocular, and dysfunctional. These personal traits resonate especially with his feathery, impasto, expressionist pastels from the early eighties—frenzied untitled works with bold and vivid colors.


So how does one reconcile the tumultuous individual—Dan Asher—and the Untitled Antarctic Series? Though it is unsurprising that Asher felt compelled to take off to extremely remote places—apparently as the sole passenger on a Russian icebreaker ship, in one instance—it is hard to situate the Antarctic work within the idea of Dan Asher, and his oeuvre. Ultimately, one can return to the feeling of isolation which pervades. The images in the Untitled Antarctic Series are detached in a way that seems in line with the posthumous picture which has formed of an artist perceived, and self-proclaimed, an outsider. Perhaps the photographs were taken in instances of recognition—enigmas, human and glacial, both vestiges of the past, irregular, stunning and quite alone.


 -Rebecca Manning

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