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

Dikeou Superstars: Paul Ramírez Jonas

In 1861, during the early stages of the American Civil War, poet and social activist Julia Ward Howe wrote the powerful lyrics to one our nation’s most renowned folk songs, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Using the melody of “John Brown’s Body,” a song about executed abolitionist John Brown, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” encapsulated the values of America during its most tumultuous era and its omnipotence has only grown with time. From small town parades down Main Street to performances at the Super Bowl, the song is expressed to its highest potential when sung by a large group, yet its origins come from the story of one single man and his sacrifice for the enslaved people of our country. Inspired by the song’s history, longevity, and relevance into the present day, artist Paul Ramírez Jonas created his sculpture His Truth Is Marching On to be an interactive artwork that articulates his interests in identity, performance, and micro/macro relationships. While usually on view at Dikeou Collection, His Truth Is Marching On is currently installed at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston for Ramírez Jonas’ survey exhibition Atlas, Plural, Monumental.

His Truth Is Marching On consists of 80 glass bottles filled with different quantities of water (some are completely empty) hung on a wooden hoop suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier. In addition to the bottles, a wooden mallet hangs from the hoop, which anybody can use to strike the bottles to play the tune “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” An intriguing aspect to the installation is how the artist managed to arrange these 80 bottles, each with a different weight, in a perfectly balanced floating circle. I have yet to figure this out… His Truth… is a beautiful work of art to behold, but the actual art ‘object’ is the song itself and how no two people will ever perform it the exact same way. Some people drag the mallet across the bottles in one swoop, while others hit each bottle individually. Some start at the beginning, others in the middle, and some people play it backwards. Though a singular creation, its output is infinite.

“Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a song about one man that has come to represent a nation of people over 150 years, is an ideal anthem for Ramírez Jonas whose intent is creating art that requires an audience as part of the medium. His two other artworks at Dikeou Collection, 100 and Pause and Play both address the ideas of the dynamic between the group and the individual.

In 100, black and white photographs of people ages 0 through 99 are joined together in a folding book format that wraps through three rooms in the collection. Viewers are invited to count the photographs sequentially starting at 0 until the land on the number/photograph that matches their age. At that moment, the viewer is introduced to someone that is meant to represent their place within the artwork, and investigate what other commonalities or differences they share. With all the images connected and standing upright, the work demonstrates how people are linked together in a generational spectrum, and if one part of it were to fall, all others would fall with it.

Like His Truth Is Marching On, Pause and Play is a musical installation, but one that is activated by machines rather than a person. A digital clock counts down from random time increments, and when it reaches 0 the instruments on the floor start to play a non-melodic tune for about 2 minutes. It is the opposite of His Truth… in how it is activated and how it sounds, but it shares the idea of connectivity and how independent components come together to create a singular sound.

The title of Ramírez Jonas’ mid-career survey exhibition, Atlas, Plural, Monumental, is interesting because it does not include his name. As noted by Devon Britt-Darby for artsandculturetx.com, it is a title that seems more apt for a large group show than a single artist. But that is what makes so perfectly indicative of the artist’s practice, which is to blur the lines between broad and insular, many and few, and small and large. Atlas, Plural, Monumental is on view at CAMH through August 6 with studio workshops, tours, talks, and more scheduled throughout the summer. If you are in Houston, stop by and see, listen, and contribute.

-Hayley Richardson

Dikeou Superstars: Sebastiaan Bremer

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Schöner Götterfunken VII, ‘Joyful As His Suns Are Flying’ (Froh, Wie Seine Sonnen Fliegen), 2011

There is the Welsh word “hiraeth,” and the Portuguese “saudade”—terms that have no direct translation in English but carry deep meaning. They get at an intangible concept of wistful longing—or nostalgia—for one’s home, homeland, or a place, which exists in the past, that one has never been to, or cannot return to, or that never was, but one feels a homesickness for. While these enigmatic words have no equivalent in other languages, and are specific to a region and a distinct cultural identity, they encapsulate something that is ubiquitous in the human experience. The Dikeou Collection’s unique hand-painted c-print photographs by Dutch artist, Sebastiaan Bremer, Large Schoener Goetterfunken, 2010-11, feel like a universal, and visual, translation of that yearning.

Sun-soaked snapshots of a family in the Swiss Alps saturated with verdant greens and dappled with translucent and opaque spots of color, Bremer’s Schoener Goetterfunken images ‘Joyful As His Suns Are Flying’ (Froh, Wie Seine Sonnen Fliegen), and ‘At Nature’s Bosoms’ (An Den Bruesten Der Natur), capture a family vacation that he, himself, did not get to go on. The painted dots on the image surface are what Bremer calls a “poetic braille,” which he integrates into the c-print photographs. As they exist in the documented landscape, the splashes of paint evoke the white floating specks which momentarily mark one’s vision after directly staring at the sun, or the flash of a camera. That evocation imparts an instantaneity of experience. Cutting through the yellowing film of time, the viewer is brought into the atmosphere of a place of the past—which no longer exists, but feels at the same time so tangibly real.

The application of paint to pictures is multivalent in both its process and its meaning. Bremer applied the pigment to the found snapshots in multiple layers. The more lucent drops of paint were applied earlier in the process of image-making, and the final layer of stippled pigment, like braille, is opaque and three-dimensional. By tediously painting on the images in a series of layers, Bremer negotiates these landscapes of the past, inserting himself into memories that he does not have, but perhaps wants to possess. The paint, then, is his “hand” in the work, what he has added to the visual experience of images which were, in a sense, readymade. 

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Schöner Götterfunken XIV, ‘At Nature’s Bosoms’ (An Den Bruesten Der Natur), 2010

The effect is two-fold, and deals with time. While the hand-painted photographic imagery gives one the almost impressionist sense of spontaneity—a fleeting moment captured—the spots on the images simultaneously resemble the aggregate coat of dust one encounters while thumbing through a box of old family photos. In the context of such a viewing experience, the dust becomes a part of the material fabric of the image, and adds to its meaning and significance. Bremer’s painted invocation of that dusty veneer implies the accumulation of time. In this way, the paint particles further distance one from the place and time of the snapshot. The viewer is at once drawn into an experience and pushed out by the acknowledgment of time, and, thus, suspended in an interior struggle of longing for a place they have never been to, and the feeling that they once were there.

Along with significant photographic works by Dan Asher, Rainer Ganahl, Lee Stoetzel, Janine Gordon, and Lisa Kereszi, Sebastiaan Bremer’s works are on permanent view at the Dikeou Collection.

-Rebecca Manning

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