Contact: Danica Farley| | 801.328.4201 x 115 | 20 S West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2012

Cantastoria: June 5-Sept. 15, 2012 at UMOCA

Salt Lake City – The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the exhibition Cantastoria, June 5-Sept. 5, 2012. Cantastoria is an exploration of how contemporary artists from around the world communicate histories and societies in varying media, sharing information through languages, song, storytelling, and lyricism.

Historically, cantastoria, which means “history singer” or “sung story” in Italian, were prominent in preliterate culture as vehicles for transmitting news and heritage. Their information was conveyed theatrically in a town square through song and pictograms. UMOCA’s group exhibition explores the notion of the cantastoria as a metaphor across cultures and specifically within contemporary art.

In Cantastoria tales are told through singing bards documented across Eastern Europe in a video created by Ukraine’s REP Group. Israeli artist Omer Fast has created a Frankensteinian mouthpiece of news media’s talking head. In Ignacio Uriarte’s film the clicks and whistles of the now obsolete typewriter are rhythmically conjured by the grandfather of beat-boxing, Michael Winslow. Other artwork portrays a language created in Utah and its possible connection to activism from bygone eras.  Adam Bateman’s towering monument made from the printed word weighs more than 55,000 pounds. And Spanish artist Ignasi Aballi offers an iconic inventory of every active language in the world today.

“This theme envelops the basic desire for kinship between peoples and the methods by which we hold on to our histories. The exhibition analyzes the museum’s primary function as a storyteller of culture while the artworks poetically decode our diaristic instincts and weaknesses,” says Aaron Moulton, Senior Curator of Exhibitions at UMOCA.

Participating artists include: Ignasi Aballi (Spain), Aram Bartholl (Germany), Adam Bateman (USA), Beehive Design Collective (USA), Aleksandra Domanovic (Slovenia), Omer Fast (Israel), Jakup Ferri (Kosovo), Janos Fodor (Hungary), Carey Ann Francis (USA), Rainer Ganahl (Austria), Andy Graydon (USA), Pablo Helguera (Mexico), Bob Moss (USA), Lucia Nimcova (Slovakia), Lisa Oppenheim (USA), REP Group (Ukraine), Ignacio Uriarte (Spain).

The public is invited to join UMOCA for an opening reception to honor the artists on June 15, 7-9 p.m. There will be a curatorial lead gallery talk beginning at 7 p.m. This celebration is concurrent with Play Me I’m Yours – a community project wherein UMOCA places pianos around the city for the public to play. Like Cantastoria, Play Me, I’m Yours  also explores how artists use languages, music, messengers, and witnesses to tell stories about their own communities.

All of the books for Adam Bateman’s sculpture are generously on loan from Worldwide Book Drive, a social venture committed to improving literacy rates throughout the world. At the conclusion of the exhibit, the books will be returned and either donated or recycled. To date, the company has donated over 2.3 million books internationally and domestically. For more information about Worldwide Book Drive please visit .

The award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits groundbreaking artwork by local, national, and international artists. Five 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 and recently was awarded the largest two-year support grant in the nation by 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