The event highlights and promotes the ingenuity, imagination, cohesion and collaboration of the Western Hemisphere. Rooted in four interconnected themes - innovation, sustainability, the arts, and community - The Biennial affirms the potential of a united Western Hemisphere. It engages the public at Metropolitan Denver's existing cultural and artistic institutions, showcasing Biennial content through their unique curatorial lenses.
The Biennial of the Americas is a month-long cultural celebration of innovation, imagination and the artistic achievement of the Western Hemisphere, hosted by the City of Denver. Comprised of 35 countries, the Americas are a biologically, geographically and culturally rich component of the interconnected global community. Beginning in July of 2010, and every even-numbered year to follow, the City of Denver will host this inspiring event, highlighting and promoting the ingenuity, imagination, cohesion and collaboration of the Western Hemisphere. Rooted in four interconnected themes - innovation, sustainability, the arts, and community - The Biennial of the Americas will affirm the potential of a united Western Hemisphere, better equipping this international community to address future challenges and opportunities.
Ever a frontier for bold ideas, Denver’s rich history of forward movement and unconventional thinking forms an ideal foundation for this progressive event. In hosting the Biennial of the Americas, Denver will facilitate the convergence of innovation, sustainable thinking, the arts, and the shared community aspirations of the Americas, promoting a more unified and enlightened Western Hemisphere. Throughout the 2010 Biennial of the Americas, ideas to encourage collaboration, artful thinking, and promote change will be launched from three distinct platforms:
A CENTRAL EXPERIENCE - THE MCNICHOLS MAIN STAGE
The recently renovated historic McNichols building will showcase talent, highlight creativity and present viable solutions for tomorrow. A piece of art in and of itself, McNichols will serve as the Biennial's main stage, hosting leading edge exhibitions of art, design, architecture, and music. As the Biennial of the Americas community hub, the building will provide an inspirational and energetic space for social engagement and the exchange of ideas and points of view. Located in the heart of Denver's Civic Center Park, this unique space will also host innovation-centric collaborations and provide a platform for a variety of town hall meetings focusing on hemispheric development and advancement.
The Biennial of the Americas will engage the public at Metropolitan Denver's existing cultural and artistic institutions, showcasing Biennial content through their unique curatorial lenses. The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the Museo de las Americas, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, among other institutions, will all play host to the Biennial. Each institution will house exhibits and offer insightful experiences enlivening and enriching the cultures of the Americas. In addition, unexpected outdoor exhibitions will surprise, delight, and live on as inspirational beacons of Biennials to come.
THE AMERICAS ROUNDTABLE & TRANSNATIONAL SUMMITS
To promote the exchange of ideas and inspire positive action, the Biennial will include a public dialogue series called The Americas Roundtable held throughout the city. Centered on issues crossing all socioeconomic borders, the roundtables will focus on education, philanthropy, poverty reduction, energy and climate change, the economy and women in leadership. In a further effort to raise awareness and generate forward momentum, The Americas Roundtable will also include summits, virtual town halls, keynote speeches, and conferences. With the public as its audience, The Americas Roundtable will call upon distinguished participants ranging from senior government officials to CEOs, non-profit leaders to academicians, and journalists and artists to scientists.
The Nature of Things
McNichols at Civic Center Park
Curated by Paola Santoscoy
Curatorial Advisor: María del Carmen Carrión
The Nature of Things brings together the artworks and energies of twenty-four contemporary artists from North, South, and Central America. These artists and their works participate in exploring the four themes of the 2010 Biennial of the Americas: innovation, sustainability, community and the arts.
The current momentum behind these themes and the frequency in which they are addressed globally in different forums proves the need to expand the selection of artists in this exhibition beyond the sphere of visual arts and to include projects by artists, designers and architects. Through newly commissioned projects and a number of preexisting artworks, this exhibition is a convergence of cultural references, personal and political histories, and geographical contexts. This collection of artworks seeks to broaden the definition of innovation, sustainability, community and the arts and provide a space for interpretation and contemplation.
The title, The Nature of Things is borrowed from the poem written in the first century by the Roman poet Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, and serves as the premise for this exhibition. The poem stands as one of the most ambitious and passionate didactic undertakings in antiquity that speculates on the physical universe and the place and condition of human beings within it. Throughout the poem, perception is given a central role as that through which our interpretation of the world is constructed, as we constantly try to make sense of what surrounds us.
Conflict is inherent to this process, as it is to the convergence of different voices. Thus, the adoption of this title functions both as an exercise to leave open the definitions of the themes and to create within the McNichols building a mapping of artistic positions and lines of investigation.
Featuring talks and panels with local and international speakers, musical performances, video screenings, and kids workshops, the four series that accompany the exhibition summarized in this program integrates a larger list of artists and participants to this project. The ultimate goal of this programming is to engage the local community, prompting dialogue by creating a platform for the exchange of ideas through discussions and collaborations.
Live Performance Series
Curated by Kate Lesta, Jonathan Root
in collaboration with: Alain Mongeau
This series is a program spotlighting forward thinking musicians and new media artists from across the Americas. Presenting over 30 artists within 11 showcases through out the month of July, the Live Performance Series spans a spectrum of ideas and genres within music, sound, and new media. Each showcase has a narrative of its own, with focused programming on week- end evenings. Intimate audiovisual experiences, playful and experimental folk shows, post- classical vanguards, and the hot and heavy dance floor of Latin America are a taste of what can be expected within this series at the McNichols building in Civic Center Park, as part of The Nature of Things exhibition.
Curated by: Lauren Higgins
Led by an international group of established and emerging artists, leaders, innovators, and celebrated individuals, The Nature of Things - Speaker Series will explore the Western Hemi- sphere’s most pressing challenges and exciting innovations. Designed as an open platform for conversation and idea exchange, the series will provide a public forum for engaging with speakers, panels, and dialogue sessions, with topics ranging from ecology, art, technology and society, to culture, design, education and civic engagement. Please join us this July to lend your voice to a new era of ideas and possibilities for the future of the Americas.
Video Series: My Body Is A Weapon
Curated by: Luis A. Orozco
As a tool or a technique, video is a direct reference to observation, to scrutiny, and to the faculty that allows us to discern a discourse when looking at a picture, whether it is linear or not. It also makes us think of the ability to interpret. Video is an extension of the senses; it is probably the most successful technique when it comes to bringing together the body and technology.
This selection of artists from different latitudes and cultures offers an interesting panorama on how individuals may appear as political weapons, as tools, signs or as parts in a composition. This show is built around the notion of the exposed body as the core principle in a creative discourse.
The coincidences that fall into the geography of the Latin American map are quite easy to notice. Argentinean artists, for instance, show a peculiar interest on how memory is contained/ interpreted by eyewitnesses and also on exploring their recent past. On the other hand, the impeccable formalism of Brazilians is opposed by the rough testimonies presented by Cuban artists. Bringing the works together according to the country of origin of each artist is not an arbitrary gesture, since this array allows us to trace a map of Latin America seen from the point of view of its artists. Far from bringing us apart, this exercise shows in what ways we complement each other.
The formats chosen by the artists are also very different from each other, so this selection can also be seen as showing how the same medium may be used to structure discourses that end up by becoming languages on their own. These pieces explore the medium, their time, and their supports-actors-subjects.
Demolition / Redesign
Due to its changing uses over the last 100 years, the McNichols building has been subject to many interior remodels. Unfortunately, not all of them contributed positively to the building and its environment.
During the Denver Water Board renovations of the mid-1950s, a grand skylight was filled with concrete, windows were blocked by new walls, mosaic tile floors were covered with carpet and grand spaces were shortened and reduced with dropped ceilings. This additive process subdued the original architectural elements and stifled the original interior environment.
In preparation for the inaugural 2010 Biennial of the Americas, Colorado’s Tres Birds Workshop was enlisted to revitalize the building for this historic event. Their approach to resuscitating the old library was predominantly reductive, and focused on revitalizing the building with an abundant supply of natural light.
After removing unnecessary material and restoring the original volume of the building's spaces, Tres Birds Workshop invented and integrated a ‘light frame’ system of display and sunlight modulation. Resulting in the recycling of hundreds of cubic yards of masonry and steel lathe, the approach has enabled the return of sunlight to the century-old landmark. Beauty has returned.
Contact: Rachel Chaparro
Director of Communications 303.296.0154
Opening night celebration July 1, 2010, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
McNichols Building at Civic Center Park 144 W Colfax Avenue
McNichols Building at Civic Center Park
144 W Colfax Avenue, Denver
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
999 14th Street, Denver
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Museo de las Americas
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Museum of Nature & Science