Visual Art Giving It Away
posted by January 18 at 10:53 AMon
As promised, this week’s In Art News column takes a look at what Creative Capital is paying Seattle artists to do (and here’s the list of all projects around the country):
To Five Executions in China, Utopia, and Maryhill Double, add Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park and The Gurs Zyklus. The first three are major projects already completed by Seattle artists, each paid for—up to $50,000—by the New York foundation Creative Capital. Now Creative Capital has thrown its considerable weight behind the other two, meaning that you may soon find yourself inside an abandoned convenience store turned into a postapocalyptic conservatory by SuttonBeresCuller, or wandering through a performance installation titled after the word that has haunted Trimpin since his childhood: Gurs.
Trimpin and SBC (2005 Stranger Genius Award winners) were selected from more than 600 artists around the country to get Creative Capital’s coveted support. (Seattle filmmaker David Russo was a winner in the film and video category, for a fictional short involving male miscarriage.)
SBC’s idea for a recycled mini-mart refers to an earlier piece by the three artists, who built an idyllic haven of tranquility replete with grass, rocks, and a bench on a flatbed trailer, then parked it in the homelier parts of the city as a tiny, temporary greenbelt. For Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park, the artists want to transform an eyesore—at a brownfield that was once a gas-station site, say: got one to recommend in your neighborhood?—into a wild indoor park with the hulks of industrial refrigerators but also meandering paths, trees, seasonal plantings, and benches. It could stay open for a few months or indefinitely, as long as the funding holds out.
Ben Beres says they envision “elements of the architecture or its previous life, whether it’s Slurpee machines or empty candy-bar racks growing plants. It will be a nice landscape, but postapocalyptic. Nature has taken over. We want birds to come in.” They’re looking for a location. (Originally the work was going to sit at the northernmost stop of the monorail, where instead of mass transit and art, there’s now a T-Mobile store.)
Trimpin’s project is also a long-mulled-over idea. As a boy in 1950s Germany, he wandered into his village’s Jewish graveyard and learned that two dozen Jews had been taken by the Nazis to an internment camp in the French town of Gurs. Many died there; survivors went to death camps.
The barracks at Gurs had also been used as a camp for political refugees from Franco’s Spain in the 1940s. When Trimpin met and collaborated with composer Conlon Nancarrow, he discovered Nancarrow had been a prisoner there. Then, when Trimpin made passing reference to Gurs in a New Yorker profile, a man whose family died at Gurs contacted him. Trimpin has letters from the time, and interviews with relatives of victims, and he’ll ride the train from his town, Efringen-Kirchen, to Gurs for the first time this summer.
The final work will be performed in Germany and the U.S., he hopes. He’s not sure what form it will take; something with song and sculpture, certainly, and maybe video appearing on a screen of steam.