Dikeou Superstars: Jonathan Horowitz

The Dikeou Collection is known for exhibiting artworks that are large, unusual, interactive, and attention-grabbing. Whether it’s Wade Guyton’s obtuse yet playful “The Room Moved the Way Blocked,” Momoyo Torimitsu’s startling “Miyata Jiro,” or Agathe Snow’s enveloping “Sludgie the Whale,” these pieces are sure to punctuate the memory of one’s visit to the collection. Then there are those that are smaller, quieter. Where subtlety is used to draw the viewer in for closer inspection and consideration. “Best Actress” by Jonathan Horowitz is one such piece. Comprised of 30 text-based prints on pale pink paper, this unassuming work holds the viewer’s gaze unlike any other, as they try to unravel its meaning.

Each one of the thirty “Best Actress” prints display the name(s) of Hollywood actors and actresses as they appear on the cast billing of their respective [unnamed] film. With the exception of the first three prints positioned at the top left, actress Julia Roberts appears throughout the whole series, her name printed in a slightly darker shade to highlight its position amongst her fellow performers. Typically, the names are ordered with the principal characters/actors at the beginning and smaller roles at the end. Roberts’ name moves around precariously throughout the lists, depending on the size of the cast and on the significance of her role.

“Best Actress,” then, essentially tracks Roberts’ rise to fame, starting with her first appearance in 1988’s Mystic Pizza (a role so small that her name does not appear in the billing at all) up through the very early 2000s. Roberts appears in some tremendous ensemble films like Steel Magnolias with prominent female leads, other times it is just her name with one male lead actor, with his name typically above hers. In 1990 her name appears below Richard Gere with her breakout role in Pretty Woman. Flash forward to 1999 and Roberts’ gets the top spot above Gere in Runaway Bride. The tables turned in her favor, but the best, and worst, is yet to come.

In 2000, Julia Roberts starred as the title character in Erin Brockovich. The film was a critical and box office success, but Roberts’ performance is what made Erin Brockovich memorable and garnered many accolades and awards, including the highly-esteemed Best Actress Oscar at the 72nd Academy Awards. In Horowitz’s piece, her name appears on its own. She is THE single star, without a man’s name above or below hers to gauge her value. She’s at the pinnacle.

Roberts followed up Erin Brockovich a year later with The Mexican, an adventure comedy which she starred in alongside Brad Pitt. Here we have two powerhouse performers at the peak of their careers starring in a lukewarm film that does not do their talents justice. And where is the Best Actress winner’s name in the cast list? Below Mr. Pitt’s, of course. How silly to think that a woman can hold her #1 spot for more than a year before getting second chair to male counterparts. Horowitz’s “Best Actress” could have very well been a series of 29 prints on pink paper with Erin Brockovich being the one to cap it off, but inclusion of The Mexican is what drives the message home. Enduring success is challenging in any field, but for women in Hollywood, it’s about as long as an Oscar acceptance speech.

-Hayley Richardson

Surprise Connections During Isolation

Photo by From the Hip Photography

“Small world!” A short but powerful phrase that binds seemingly disparate people who share an unusual and unexpected connection. With extreme limitations currently in place, socializing with new people and having these “small world” moments is less frequent, but thanks to the internet we can still have this experience in the virtual realm. Since the opening of Devon Dikeou’s “Mid-Career Smear” at The Dikeou Collection, people have been sharing their photos of the exhibition online, circulating them far and wide. One such image found its way to a woman named Lizzi in New York City who was amazed to see a vivid element from her childhood past be one of the defining visual features of “Mid-Career Smear.”

Fragment of original wallpaper installed at the home of Lucy Sharp Dikeou

Back track to exactly 2 years ago… to when Devon happened upon scraps of torn up wallpaper mixed in with one of her old drawing portfolios. Finding this immediately transported her to her mother’s home circa 1970, where this wild psychedelic floral wallpaper adorned a petite powder room. It was removed for redecorating, but three pieces were salvaged by Devon who knew they would be useful later. These pieces were enough to create a digital replica of the full pattern, and were handed over to a custom wallpaper company for production. By October 2019 the wallpaper was printed, shipped, and installed at The Dikeou Collection as part of the “Mid-Career Smear” exhibition.

Photo by Cori Anderson

Hung in the same room as Wade Guyton’s “the Room Moved the Way Blocked (Stage 1)” and accented with a grasshopper green ceiling, the wallpaper pattern became a crucial part of the exhibition’s branding and appeared on invitations, brochures, pamphlets, and other signage. Precisely two weeks after the opening, an email popped up from someone named Lizzi who received photos of the wallpaper from a friend and said that she grew up with the exact same design in her family’s New York apartment in the late 1960s. A very unique and surprising “small world” moment!

Photo courtesy of Lizzi Katz

But it didn’t stop there… after a brief exchange of how their mothers’ taste in decorating shaped their aesthetic views, Lizzi shared another photo of a different wallpaper from growing up. Lo and behold, Devon also lived with this very same wallpaper – hung in another powder room at her mother’s house. Granted, wallpaper was popular décor back then, but these patterns are particularly unique, and for two people who have never met and live in different parts of the country have two of the same designs is a pretty significant coincidence. And for the daughters of these two people to connect 5 decades later, in the midst of global isolation, makes the story even more magical. In an email Lizzi expressed that this discovery and exchange “has been some brightness in this crazy overwhelming time.”

Photo courtesy of Lizzi Katz, Jonathan Katz, and Sandor Ellix Katz

All of us at The Dikeou Collection hope you are finding ways to stay connected to those you know, and even those you don’t, during a time where so much is unknown. Use art as the bridge, the conduit, the olive branch or whatever you need it be to connect and ground you in the familiar, and also be the means to discover and explore. Thanks to Lizzi for reaching out to us!

Devon Dikeou “Mid-Career Smear” Now Open to the Public!

Since 2013, independent curator Cortney Lane Stell has worked closely with artist Devon Dikeou to bring the idea of Devon’s mid-career retrospective to life. The first decision, naturally, was that The Dikeou Collection would be the most fitting venue for the exhibition as it matches the expansive, varied, meandering, and oftentimes quirky nature of not only Devon’s art practice but also her history in publishing zingmagazine and eye for collecting contemporary art. After many happy hour meetings over corndogs and tater tots, and about 30 floor plan revisions, the time came in April 2019 for The Dikeou Collection to temporarily “go dark” and prepare to install Devon Dikeou’s “Mid-Career Smear” retrospective, which is now open to the public Wednesday-Friday, 11am-5pm and by appointment.

Existential Viewing, 1986

With 7 years of anticipation built up, the opening reception on February 20 was an explosion of hundreds of people, kick ass music, amusing performance antics, food galore, and overwhelming amounts of love and support for one of the most prolific artists to come out of Denver. From her very early work from her MFA days at School of Visual Art (Existential Viewing, 1986 Ongoing) to work so new that the paint just dried (Café de Flore, 2019 Ongoing), “Mid-Career Smear” truly captures the evolution of Dikeou’s work through the decades. Even her more ephemeral participatory performance works like Out, Out Damn Spot (1992 Ongoing) and One Little Piggy (1991 Ongoing) gave visitors the chance to fully indulge in the wide yet particular scope of her practice.

Security/Insecure, 1989, Security Gate Installation with Plexiglas

Though there are several conceptual threads that weave throughout Devon’s work, the one that permeates the entire exhibition is the idea of “in-betweeness.” This “in-between” is similar to what one would call a liminal space, but Devon gives it more structure and definition – making it less mysterious and amorphous. The most potent examples of this are the City Gates installations (1989 Ongoing) and So We Must Keep Apart… (1993 Ongoing) which are actual doorways that one would typically encounter on a city street or in their neighborhood. The City Gates are installed with nothing behind them but a wall, so they are like passageways to nowhere. By removing the access from the gates, the viewer is left with an even greater urge of wanting to pass through them. So We Must Keep Apart… is a screen door that visitors are able to open and walk through, which seems rather arbitrary until the door gives a loud SLAM and snaps the brain into realizing that they hit a transitory spot in the exhibition. The “in-betweeness” is also apparent in smaller yet still very defined objects, like mirrors, flowers, and interior décor.      

In addition to The Dikeou Collection venue downtown, “Mid-Career Smear” will also occupy the Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax (opening March 19), Tiny Town (opening June 6), and an airstream trailer at 13th & Cherokee. Underscoring the immense breadth of Devon’s practice, this ancillary network points once again to “in-betweeness” and how her practice extends beyond typical museum and gallery spaces.  There will be public receptions to commemorate the opening of these additional venues, as well a variety of unique programming throughout the duration of the exhibition. Information about upcoming events can be found on The Dikeou Collection event calendar, through our email list, and all of our social media platforms.

-Hayley Richardson

Independent Curator Cortney Lane Stell & The Dikeou Collection Announce A Retrospective: Devon Dikeou; Mid-Career Smear

Opening reception at The Dikeou Collection, 1615 California St, 5th floor on Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6-8pm

“Over the course of a nearly three-decade career, Devon Dikeou has produced a body of work revealing a narrative, and often poetic, approach that blurs the frontiers between the intimate and the public, the past and present, art and life. This exhibition, which spans three sites in Denver, delves into the immense breadth of artworks that Dikeou has continued to develop from the 1990s through today.”––Cortney Lane Stell, curator

Using “the world as her studio,” the over 60 works in the exhibition often smear the boundaries between art and life. Through this expansive studio practice and use of familiar physical and conceptual materials, her work focuses on the space of ‘in-betweenness,’ often drawing relational interconnection and revealing the space of human interaction. Organized stylistically and thematically, rather than chronologically, the exhibition highlights the range of Dikeou’s artistic expression. Also highlighted is Dikeou’s role as a collector of contemporary art, and editor/publisher of zingmagazine. By crossing traditional boundaries––using other’s artworks in her own installations, producing a magazine that gives a platform for experimental artistic projects, and collecting artworks from artists with zingmagazine projects––Dikeou is no stranger to finding connections.

Mid-Career Smear is an exhibition that forgoes conventional dividing lines and displays a fascination for the human-made world, calling to attention its inter-relatedness while softening the lines of the artist’s role—with a dose of humor and absurdity on top.


Security Kiosk, 1990, Three-Dimensional Security Gate Installation with 3 Gates and 2 Sheets of Galvanized Steel; Please Douze (Lilas Blancs Dans Un Vase De Cristal), 2011 Ongoing, C-Print of a Hand-Blown Glass Vase and Fresh Flowers Arranged to Replicate One of the 16 Last Paintings Édouard Manet Painted Before Dying

Monthly programming, consisting of artist talks and curator conversations, workshops, readings, and musical events will take place at both at The Dikeou Collection and Dikeou Pop-Up: Colfax, as well as a public unveiling of the Tiny Town project in Morrison, Colorado. A release party for the forthcoming Mid-Career Smear catalog will occur near the close of the exhibition in February 2021. Announcements will be made for all programs through our mailing list, zingrecsDENVER, www.dikeoucollection.org, www.devondikeou.com, and on the social media accounts listed below.

For press inquiries and image requests, please email info@dikeoucollection.org

About Devon Dikeou
Devon Dikeou lives and works in NYC, Austin, and Denver. Recent solo exhibitions include “Here is New York (E.B. White),” James Fuentes Gallery, NYC (2018); “Tricia Nixon: Summer of 1973,” Futura, Prague (2018); “Pray for Me”—Pope Francis I, James Fuentes Gallery, NYC (2017) and NADA NYC (2014); “Please,” The Contemporary Austin (2013) and Outcasts Incorporated, Paris (2015); “Not Quite Mrs De Menil’s Liquor Closet,” NADA Miami Beach (2012); “Pay What You Wish, But You Must Pay Something,” NADA Miami Beach (2013); “Between The Acts,” NADA Miami Beach (2014); “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” Artpace San Antonio (2011); “Reserved for Ileana Sonnabend,” NADA Miami Beach (2010); “Reserved for Leo Castelli,” The Independent NYC (2010); “From the Mixed-Up Files …” Art Basel Statements (1998). Notable group shows include “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” (2013), “Temporarily Possessed” (2005), “The Art Mall” (1992), and “The Big Nothing” (1992) at New Museum; “Game Changer,” (2014) at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art; “Colorado 1990,” Denver Art Museum (1990). Residencies include Futura, Prague (2018); Artpace, San Antonio (2011); Ssamzie Space, Soeul (2002). Collections include Kenny Schachter, The West Collection, New Museum, and Outcasts Incorporated.

About The Dikeou Collection
The Dikeou Collection is a contemporary art collection in downtown Denver founded in 1998 by siblings, Devon and Pany Dikeou. Free and open to the public, the collection occupies three spaces in the Denver Metro area.

About the Catalog
There will be a 4-book box set catalog published and released at the close of the exhibition in 2021. Each book will feature one facet of Dikeou’s practice––studio, zingmagazine, and Dikeou Collection, with the fourth archiving her ongoing series What’s Love Got To Do With It?, a series of lobby directory boards documenting the who/what/when/where of her career. Additionally, there will be an index pamphlet charting the interrelations among these different branches. Also included are essays by Mid-Career Smear curator Cortney Lane Stell, Chief Curator of The Contemporary Austin Heather Pesanti, Mary Barone, Outcasts Incorporated founder and Director Géraldine Postel, artist Rainer Ganahl, writer Rachel Cole Dalamangas, Dikeou Collection Director Hayley Richardson, and zingmagazine Managing Editor Brandon Johnson.

Find Us Online


Instagram: @devondikeou, @dikeoucollection, @zingmagazine

Twitter: @devondikeou, @dikeouart, @zingmagazine

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/devondikeou, https://www.facebook.com/dikeoucollection/, https://www.facebook.com/dikeoupopup/, https://www.facebook.com/zingmagazinenyc/

Behind The Scenes of De-Install

March 29, 2019 was the last day Dikeou Collection was open to the public, marking the beginning of the collection’s very first full exhibition rotation. Since April we have been hard at work de-installing, packing, and storing the work of 37 artists occupying 33 rooms and 2 buildings in preparation for the forthcoming Devon Dikeou Mid-Career Smearretrospective exhibition opening on February 20, 2020 at Dikeou Collection. If you have visited the collection before, then you are aware of the scope of this project and might be wondering how we handled some of our very large and complex pieces, like Johannes VanDerBeek’s Newspaper Ruined, Nils Folke Anderson’s Untitled (California), and Agathe Snow’s Sludgie The Whale. We can’t reveal all our secrets, but we are happy to share a little glimpse of some of what’s been going on behind the scenes here for the past couple months.

Dikeou Collection is known for being home to artwork that challenge ideas of space, scale, and material – objects that many would consider “difficult” to house and maintain. Johannes VanDerBeek’s Newspaper Ruined is arguably the most intricate piece in the collection, consisting of four large tables pushed together upon which a city made entirely out of newspaper rests. It took a lot of preliminary planning on how to go about removing and storing this dense and fragile installation.

Many detailed photos were taken of every square inch of the work, documenting where each little piece sat in relation to another. Our art handler Dmitri developed a number-letter system to determine where everything goes on the tables, and then stored each piece in a box or tray labeled with the respective ID. It took over a week to complete!

Untitled (California) by Nils Folke Anderson is a very large movable sculpture (so large you can’t even fully walk into the room it occupies) made out of nine interlocking Styrofoam squares. This piece was constructed in-house by the artist, so it didn’t come equipped with any original packing material or deconstruction method. Because of its large size, unpredictable mobility, and deteriorative nature of the material, we had to completely dismantle the work. 

While this may seem like heresy, we did it in the most honorable way possible by communicating with the artist beforehand, documenting the process, and preserving leftover remnants of the work. What took a couple days to construct was disassembled and removed in a matter of minutes.

Agathe Snow’s Sludgie The Whaleis another large-scale installation that envelopes a whole room with painted tarps, foam rolled and wrapped in muslin, plastic, and wire. 

Like Untitled (California) this is another work that was assembled by the artist without specific instructions on how it all comes together, so our research assistant Hannah created a “map” of the work and developed an ID system similar to Newspaper Ruinedso we will know how to put it back together when we re-install the collection in a couple years.

One of the central tenents of Dikeou Collection is that all artwork remains permanently on view – exhibitions are not rotated but rather expanded – so de-installing the collection in its entirety is now a major chapter in its history. Soon we will begin the process of installing Devon Dikeou’s artwork for Mid-Career Smear, curated by Cortney Lane Stell, which will mark another milestone for us. It has been quite the journey leading up to this point and we can’t wait to share more updates with you along the way.

-Hayley Richardson

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