UMOCA Presents the Inaugural Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah

Contact: Sarina Ehrgott | | 801.328.4201 | 20 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday 11 AM – 6 PM | Friday 11 AM – 9 PM

April 24, 2013



UMOCA Presents the Inaugural Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah, An Exhibition Exploring the Diversity and Richness of Utah’s Cultural Landscape.

Opening Reception May 10th from 8 to 10 PM with an Artist Lecture at 7 PM

Salt Lake City, UT ­- The inaugural Utah Biennial Mondo Utah offers succinct artistic statements, collections, artifacts and positions that take an anthropological look at the history- past and present-of contemporary art, folklore and culture in Utah. Generating new projects and unearthing archival legacies, the exhibition demonstrates how Utah has produced its own visual language within our country’s cultural puzzle.

“Mondo Utah” or “the world of Utah,” is taken from the eponymous book by Utahn filmmaker Trent Harris, a publication of contemporary mythology that looks into the fables and idiosyncrasies originating from the Beehive state. The word “Mondo” references a filmmaking genre dating back to the early 60s from Italian filmmaker Gualtiero Jacopetti whose 1962 film “Mondo Cane” pioneered a filmmaking style known for cinema verité and pseudo-documentary that blurred reality and fiction. The film was structurally divided into short, unrelated vignettes or stories that brought one through a panorama of events unfolding before the camera.

“This first biennial looks at the myriad of ways in which Utah has been used as a site, subject, support, and material,” says Senior Curator Aaron Moulton. “Mondo Utah celebrates the diversity and richness of Utah’s cultural landscape with a spectrum of voices from all sides of the community. Utah’s cultural lore, forgotten icons and parallel art worlds reimagine the possibilities and relevance of regionalism within an ever-globalizing perspective on contemporary art and cultural production.”

Structured like a Russian doll, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is taken over by a series of exhibitions within the larger framework of the biennial. The recursive format reveals parallel worlds of art history, recent cultural productions, contemporary practices, outsider trajectories and aesthetic positions. Projects include Andy Warhol’s hoax, Chris Burden’s guerrilla art history, a tower of tumbleweeds, a film bathed in the Dead Sea before being thrown into a Spiral Jetty, a survey of faithful abstraction, the sublime of conceptual landscapes, a contemporary guide to a lost Utah, a 72-hour survival blanket, and an attack of a giant brine shrimp on downtown Salt Lake City.

Biennial participants include:

Ansel Adams, Wulf Barsch, Adam Bateman, Chris Burden, Mike Cassidy, Jared Clark, Maddison Colvin, Stephen Groo, Hagen Haltern, Michael Handley, Trent Harris, Nancy Holt, Levi Jackson, Annie Kennedy, Cara Krebs, David Chapman Lindsay, Paul McCarthy, Jon McNaughton, Jim Mangan, Jason Metcalf, Allen Midgette, Bob Moss, Diane Orr, Gianni Pettena, Annie Poon, J. Kirk Richards, Jean Richardson, C. Larry Roberts, Derek Rigby, Casey Jex Smith, Jared Steffensen, Summum, UltimusMormon, Morganne Wakefield, Jennifer West, Andrea Bowers & Corey Redstone, Matthew Antezzo & Seher Shah, et al.

Biennial Agenda and Collateral Programming include the following exhibitions:

  • “The Readymade Persona – a selection of Screen Tests from Andy Warhol of Marcel Duchamp, Jack Smith and Allen Midgette.” Opening in New Genres Gallery on May 10th.
  • “David Ruhlman: A History of the Hidden World.” Opening in Local’s Only Gallery on May 10th.
  • “Faithful Abstraction”, a collaboration with CUAC curated by Adam Bateman. Opening within Mondo Utah on May 10th.
  • A selection of religious artworks from the LDS Church History Museum and commissioned Cristo paintings a la Francis Alÿs by J. Kirk Richards curated by Laura Allred Hurtado. Opening within Mondo Utah on May 10th.
  • “A Sublime of Conceptual Landscapes – A selection of works from the Salt Lake Art Center Collection.” Opening within Mondo Utah on May 10th.
  • “Raivo Puusemp: Dissolution” curated by Krist Gruijthuijsen. Opening in New Genres Gallery on June 14th.
  • “Gianni Pettena: Forgiven by Nature.” Opening in Street Gallery on July 5th.

Institutional collaborations and collections come from the Church History Museum, CUAC, Summum, the Special Collections Department at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Electronic Arts Intermix, Wolf Productions, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Salt Lake Art Center Collection.

 The opening of Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah will be on May 10th, 8-10 p.m. accompanied by an artist lecture, live music, food and cash bar.

Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah and related programming is made possible in part through the generous support of Zoo, Arts and Parks, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the UMOCA Ambassador’s Circle.

The 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