UMOCA Presents Raivo Puusemp: Dissolution

Contact: Sarina Ehrgott | communications@utahmoca.org | 801.328.4201
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2013

 

UMOCA Presents Raivo Puusemp: Dissolution

JUN 14­­‑SEP 7
Opening Reception June 14 at 6 PM | Admission Is Free

Salt Lake City – The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) is proud to present Raivo Puusemp: Dissolution, a survey of aesthetic structures and systematic process as a part of the inaugural Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah. The 2013 Biennial consists of artistic statements, collections, artifacts and positions that explore the diversity of Utah’s cultural landscape.

Raivo Puusemp: Dissolution is the first comprehensive overview of Puusemp’s work produced between the mid-1960s and late 1970s. Puusemp is a conceptual artist who is interested in steering people into unwittingly completing his pieces by taking an action the artist had laid out as the next obvious step.  Opening June 14th at 6:00 PM, UMOCA will present an exhibition highlighting the works Puusemp has termed “influence pieces” and the materials documenting his appointment as mayor of Rosendale, New York and his successful maneuver to have the people vote for the dissolution of the village.

In 1975, Raivo Puusemp was elected as Mayor of the troubled town of Rosendale, New York. What the residents did not know, and what his campaign did not reveal, was that Puusemp was a conceptual artist who would later come to view his appointment and the situation as an artwork known as Rosendale, a public work. During his tenure, he applied the work he had been doing as an artist, in group dynamic and predictive behavior, to the political problems of the town and was successful in guiding them to a resolution – the dissolution of Rosendale.

Puusemp documented this process through a series of official letters, documents and press clippings, from which a booklet was later published. Following the dissolution of the town, Puusemp resigned his post, relocating to Utah with his family. He removed himself from the art context and from his practice as an artist.

The exhibition is organized by Krist Gruijthuijsen (NL), director of the Grazer Kunstverein, and has shown at the Grazer Kunstverein (Graz, Austria) and the Project Arts Centre (Dublin, Ireland). The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City, US) will be the exhibition’s final stop where the last remaining piece created by Puusemp lives as a part of the Salt Lake Art Center collection.

About the Curator
Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of the Grazer Kunstverein, is also the co-founding director of Kunstverein, Amsterdam and course director of the MA Fine Arts program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

UMOCA will host a curator talk with Gruijthuijsen in July.

About the Artist
Raivo Puusemp was born in Estonia in 1942 and emigrated at a young age to the U.S. He went on to study at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and moved to New York City after graduating in 1966. At that time, his artistic practice was concerned with the construction of phenomenological sculptural works which gave physical presence to Puusemp’s observations of the natural and social world. In 1969, while involved with an underground art group in New York City, Puusemp developed an interest in group dynamics and social and political processes. Some of his early artistic activity included works he called “influence pieces”. Becoming concerned with the manipulative aspects of this practice, Raivo moved into politics where influence and concept come together compatibly. In 1975 he was elected mayor of a small village and had the opportunity to apply his interest in aesthetic structure and form to the political situation at hand.

Currently, Puusemp is based in Provo.

 

Ravio Puusemp: Dissolution is presented as part of the inaugural Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah. The 2013 Utah Biennial consists of artistic statements, collections, artifacts and positions that explore the diversity of Utah’s cultural landscape.
Zion’s Bank is a proud sponsor of the inaugural Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah.  Special thanks to Zoo, Arts and Parks, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the UMOCA Ambassador’s Circle for their support.

About UMOCA
Award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits groundbreaking artwork by local, national, and international artists. Four gallery spaces provide an opportunity for the community to explore the contemporary cultural landscape through UMOCA’s exhibitions, films, events, classes, and presentations.

Founded in 1931, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has been recognized as Best Museum in the State of Utah for 2011, 2012 and 2013, and is a four-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Located at 20 S. West Temple; open Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free. For more information call (801) 328-4201 or visit www.utahmoca.org.