MAR 2 – JUN 23, 2012

FAX invites a multigenerational group of artists, architects, designers, scientists, filmmakers and writers to reconceive of the fax machine as a thinking and drawing tool. Participants transmit their fax-based work via the venues’ working fax lines through the duration of the exhibition’s tour. Faxes by nearly 100 participants sent to the initial showing of FAX at The Drawing Center form the core of the exhibition, with each institution inviting additional participants to submit works, which will then be archived with The Drawing Center’s collection to create an evolving document of all participants. The accumulation of information-received in real time, in the exhibition space-includes drawings and texts, and the inevitable junk faxes and errors of transmission, creating an ongoing cumulative project.



Contemporary Reactions: Life in the Future

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A museum, just like any artwork, is experienced in different ways: collective and individual, participative and voyeuristic, and so on. Some like to take a cursory walkthrough of the museum. Others find one work to focus on. Some like to talk about their thoughts, and others can’t quite find the right words.

For a senior at Payson High School, the overall impression of UMOCA was captivating and entrancing. It wasn’t Andy Stevenson’s first visit to the museum, but this trip left the greatest imprint and quickly became his favorite. This time each of the four galleries, though distinct, fit together perfectly to elicit an immersive experience for Andy: a glimpse into a different reality.

“It was like life in the future,” Andy described.

Everywhere, Andy could feel the push-and-pull of cohesion and contrast, especially in the current Street Gallery exhibition, William Lamson’s Hydrologies. In this series, Lamson created generative works by adding and removing water from various landscapes. Set in the harsh environment of the Atacama Desert, Lamson dispersed water across flat gravel to revitalize the desert flora and documented his process using video and photography. In a parallel series, Hydrologies Archaea, Lamson dispersed the saline water of the Great Salt Lake into a variety of small glassware. After the water evaporated, the remnant salt crystals grew within and eventually enveloped the glass, leaving a remarkable and living sculpture installation.

Here, Andy discovered the multiple layers of give-and-take in Lamson’s work. To Andy, the water functions as a powerful symbol. Lamson physically intervenes by giving and taking water to and from each landscape. The works of art that result are stark and beautiful, and resonate as representations of the giving and taking of life.

“[The museum] made me feel like I was in the future!” Andy repeated, smiling. “And it had this elevated sense of society—a society that is more focused on art.” 

Written By Kathy Zhou

William Lamson: Hydrologies will be on display in the UMOCA Street Gallery through January 10, 2015.

Contemporary Reactions: Poetic Postcards

Contemporary Reactions- Klaus

“It’s downright poetic!” Klaus a visitor from Austria exclaimed Thursday evening.

His eyes lit up with passion as he said this. Although only spending half-a-day in Salt Lake, Klaus decided to devote a thoughtful hour within the museum dodging the large throng of Comic Con participants waiting in a line outside the doors; deciding instead to discuss with us his favorite piece from In Motions: Borders and Migrations exhibit.

Marcos Ramírez ERRE’s Postales collection he said, “… is very poetic, the text is beautiful.” He found it particularly intriguing that the postcards were only written in Spanish. Why is that? Why supply no translation?

Klaus noted the reason was probably because it showcased a different culture and language. And those who truly wanted to understand would make the extra effort to know what it meant. They would take the time to step into another culture, perhaps foreign from their own and walk in another man’s shoes.

Let us all try to take more time in understanding works of art, rather than meander by. Let us travel with the artist and discover what he/she wants us to know. To feel what they felt and to see what they saw. Then all of us will catch a glimpse of what it feels to traverse borders.

Marcos Ramírez ERRE’s Postalesis on view as part of In Motion: Borders and Migration until September 27.

Your Take on the Art



Out of State Visit

Last week, UMOCA had the pleasure of welcoming in many out of state guests into the museum from one of Utah’s largest conventions, the Outdoor Retail Summer Market Trade Show, next door at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

One such Californian visitor, Robin, found herself wandering the museum after an OR conference in the auditorium. She was thoughtful in her approach to the art in each gallery, pausing to read and ponder what the work on display was trying to convey.

When approached about what her favorite piece was, Robin told us she enjoyed many things about all five of our exhibits. But In Motion: Borders and Migration seemed to intrigue her the most.  Being from California, the topic is very relevant to her.

“This has been going on for hundreds of years… and there has been a lot of negativity,” said the woman.

One piece that really peaked her interest was Caleb Duarte Piñon’s Dirt Wall.  Piñon’s wall resembling dirt, attempts to fill in the often-invisible conditions of the migration experience by conveying the restrictions of mobility and movement between borders.

Reflecting upon the piece she said, “There is a lot more to tell of the whole story.”

We’re all in this together to learn of the forgotten stories.

Caleb Duarte Piñon’s Dirt Wall, is on view as part of In Motion: Borders and Migration until September 27.

Your Take on the Art


Family Trip to the Museum

It’s the middle of summer and schoolbooks are nowhere in sight for many kids. In search of a place with air conditioning and lots to learn from, families have been taking trips to the art museum.

We got a visit from a family of five from Lafayette, California this week. The four giddy kids walked through the revolving door, and the father gave them a quick lesson in museum etiquette, followed by instructions on thinking about art and seeing what there is to learn from artwork.

20140718_164538“We’ve got a couple of art lovers and a couple we’re trying to convince,” the dad told me as they went into the gallery.

They spent a good amount of time analyzing the art, and I was lucky enough to hear what their favorites were.

“I liked the golden one,” said the oldest girl. “It looked pretty, and it made me think of raindrops. I liked its shadow too. I also liked the prism one. It kept spinning and spinning and spinning…” she said as she broke into giggles with her little sister.

The oldest son, after some encouragement from his father, also shared his thoughts:

“I liked the gold one too. It was cool how it had to balance. It looked like eyes.”

There’s nothing that warms the heart more than kids learning to love art.


Jeppe Hein’s Rotating Mirror Object II and Kirstine Roepstorff’s series of mobiles, Klangmenschen (Sound People), are on view as part of Bikuben until December 20.

Your Take on the Art





Last week the museum was in transition as we built a tower for Bikuben and installed Christopher Kelly GOD COMPLEX. While the Main Gallery and Street Gallery were closed for installation, In Motion: Borders and Migrations continued to capture visitors’ attention.

A couple from Wisconsin couldn’t help but ask as they left, “Does he ever get out of the sand? Does he even have legs?”

They were referring to Caleb Duarte’s haunting video of a man struggling to get out of a hole in the ground on the beach, waves crashing behind him.

“It’s spooky,” the woman said, shaking her head in awe.

Drea, a visitor from Los Angeles, said that where she grew up helps her understand the struggles immigrants have as they start a new life in the United States.

“I liked the film with the guys in the parking lot. I like the irony of the piece, although it is sad,” she said. “This is something that needs to be discussed more.”

In Motion: Borders and Migrations is on view until September 27.

Bikuben is on view until December 20, and GOD COMPLEX until August 16.

From the Front Desk

Your Take on the Art

“It’s refreshing!”

“The message that it has for the country has great significance.”

“This is a good place to ponder.”

All our visitors have different reactions to our art, and from the front desk we get to see the ways you connect with each piece. Since our experiences color the way we perceive art, we want to share some of your stories.

This week I met Kevin Aguilar, a student at LDS Business College who just moved here from Veracruz, Mexico. He shared his thoughts on In Motion: Borders and Migrations.


“I’ve never been in a museum like this, especially with the Mexican theme. It explains so well the way of life for so many people in Mexico. It’s hard for a lot of people who cross the border. I have some friends that have some of the same situations. One lives in Murray. We call him Jimmy. He was kidnapped in Mexico for three months and had to suffer a lot of things, then had to pay a lot of money to be free. He came to the U.S. and works in construction now.”

In Motion: Borders and Migrations will be on view until September 27.

Border Stories and Local Style: Triple Opening has a Little of Everything


by Angela Marler

Esmeralda Felix is a woman with purpose. As she stood in artist Caleb Duarte’s performance piece on Friday, legs trapped in a slab of dirt and cement, she thought of her husband.

“I’m doing this for my husband,” she said with determination, fighting off tears in the Street Gallery. “We’ve tried everything, we’ve even tried a lawyer.We just want people to pay attention.”

Her husband has been seeking asylum in the United States but has been detained in San Diego for more than nine months. Duarte asked Felix to participate, sharing her experience with those who came to the opening of In Motion: Borders and Migrations at UMOCA.

In Motion, along with Melik Ohanian’s Welcome to Hanksville and 12×12, the work from this year’s Gala artists, opened last week to an enthusiastic crowd at the triple opening.

Gala artists and visitors mingled in the packed galleries, talking about their inspirations and artwork. For the first time the gala artwork is on display before the gala, and bidding is open to the public online.

Ohanian’s film drew in an audience with its slow, hypnotizing footage displayed on three screens. The piece examines a group of pseudo-scientists congregating in the Utah desert during the cosmological opposition of Mars to the Earth.

The energy of the night came from the “In Motion” exhibition, which explores alternative representations of the United States and Mexico border and included two performance pieces by Caleb Duarte.

Ella Mendoza, who emigrated from Peru when she was a little girl, participated with Felix in Duarte’s “Dirt Wall.” Mendoza and Felix stood in a floating slab of dirt, each facing a blank wall. The two women and their families are struggling with legal issues after moving to the United States.

“My story is a story of hope—that you can be young and undocumented and still have a future,” Mendoza said as she prepared to stand in the opening in the slab of dirt. “I’m coming out of the shadows. I just applied for a work permit and got a job.”

Ella’s job is teaching preschoolers, and she loves every minute of it. So do her pupils, one of which came to see her performance on Friday. The three-year-old talked excitedly to Ella, who stood separated from the girl by the cement and dirt around her legs.

“We don’t hear enough about people who are trying to work here, making a difference in people’s lives—my kid’s life,” said Corinna Gustafson, the girl’s mother. “The whole exhibition is very emotional.”

UMOCA Invites You To “Good Blood”: An Evening of Performance Art and Family Activities

April 18, 2014 6:00-9:00 PM

Salt Lake City, UT
- The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) invites you to participate in the mid-exhibition event Good Blood based on artist Lygia Pape’s performance art piece from do it: the compendium:

Two people sit down in a chair in front of each other.

The two will be seated holding a cube of red ice (they should make the cube with red ink).

At a certain point the ice of one of them will have melted before the other. That person will be the good blood.  

Challenge museum visitors, friends, and spouses to this unique performance art contest to see if you are the good blood. UMOCA will provide red ice and robes.

Good Blood Program of Activities:

  • Participatory performance art based on Good Blood instructions by Lygia Pape
  • Special “Good Blood” concoction provided by Blue Star Juice
  • Children’s “Doodle” activities inspired by artist Uri Aran
  • Chili paste cooking performance and giveaways inspired by Rikrit Tiravanija
  • “Signature” activity based on instructions by Annette Messager

 do it: the compendium is available in the art shop for $35.


About do it

do it is a traveling exhibition conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and the accompanying publication, do it : the compendium, were made possible, in part by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous support from Project Perpetual and ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.



About The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art 

Founded in 1931, the award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s purpose is to give Utah residents and visitors access to international, national, regional, and local art that is relevant to our time. UMOCA offers rotating exhibitions in four gallery spaces, youth and adult education, as well as community outreach, an Artist-in-Residence program, and a variety of public programs to cultivate awareness of concepts found in contemporary art. UMOCA is a 501c3 institution that is supported by public, foundation, and corporate gifts.

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

UMOCA Presents “In Motion: Borders and Migrations”














May 16 – September 27, 2014
in the Street Gallery
Opening Reception and Live Performance: May 16 from 7 to 9 PM


Salt Lake City, UT - The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to announce In Motion: Borders and Migrations, a group exhibition that addresses the U.S.-Mexico border and its unique geographic, political, social, and aesthetic contexts.

The works in the show complicate definitions of this demarcation as a fixed and knowable boundary line between nations. In Motion: Borders and Migrations offers audiences an alternative to popular media perspectives on the border and to the cultural give-and-take that occurs there.

Though often framed as a site of tension, the international line between the United States and Mexico is a dynamic location that has generated a distinct artistic culture often overlooked in media coverage. The specific economic, political, and visual circumstances of the border have produced aesthetically compelling, socially engaged artistic practices on both sides of the line. Featuring photography, painting, video, sculpture, sound and performance pieces, In Motion: Borders and Migrations presents diverse perspectives on what it means to experience and move across the border, both physically and symbolically.

In Motion: Borders and Migrations features local and international artists including: Diego Aguirre,  Rocio Boliver, Margarita Cabrera, Caleb Duarte, Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Ingrid Hernandez, Jesse Lerner, V. Kim Martinez, Yoshua Okón, Jorge Rojas, Rosario Sotelo, Glenn Weyant, and Alejandro Zacarias. 

In addition to the exhibition, the opening night reception will feature a live performance piece by Caleb Duarte, created for In Motion: Borders and Migrations. The piece will be filmed and displayed through video for the remaining run of the exhibition.

In Motion: Borders and Migrations was formed in collaboration with University of Utah professor, Elena Shtromberg and students in the course “Visual Culture along the U.S./Mexico Border.”

Image Credit:
“Guerillas” Film still courtesy of artist Rosario Sotelo

About The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1931, the award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s purpose is to give Utah residents and visitors access to international, national, regional, and local art that is relevant to our time. UMOCA offers rotating exhibitions in four gallery spaces, youth and adult education, as well as community outreach, an Artist-in-Residence program, and a variety of public programs to cultivate awareness of concepts found in contemporary art. UMOCA is a 501c3 institution that is supported by public, foundation, and corporate gifts.

UMOCA has been recognized as Best Museum in the State of Utah for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as a four-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation.


I Don’t Understand Contemporary Art as a Horizontal Timeline

Written By: Sarina Villareal Ehrgott

‘Contemporary Art’ (not to be lumped in with modern art) is a very difficult thing to understand if you are like me and not formally educated on the subject. I would, of course, consider myself an art lover and someone that appreciates art enough to try to follow movements, my favorite artists, and try sort out what kind of art is what.

The way I see it, contemporary art doesn’t exist on a horizontal time line that begins with cave drawings and is waiting to continue being written tomorrow. Rather, I see it as pebbles thrust into a pond. Each stone tossed represents an “ism” or a “post” this or a “neo” that, and the amount of force each stone creates effects how large and how long its ripples expand outward. For example: some art movements after World War II have created such waves that the surge still expands into our time and collides with today’s new ideas and technology causing a dither in the water and creating movements that are entirely new.

Modern art is easy to grasp, in the respect of movements. What has been judged as unimportant has already faded out of history and no longer dilutes what is decidedly influential. Contemporary art is no different than any other throughout time. Ideas and processes arise, some fade quickly, some consume others. To provide cohesiveness among the fervor, the term “contemporary art” is effectively the pond.

What is so exciting about today’s art, I find, is the same thing that makes it frustrating: only time will tell what ripples will resonate into history.

Reference and list of contemporary movements by decade since the 1950′s >

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