GLOBALOCATION: The Urgent Mission of Artnauts Collective
"It's art not as usual, not decorative art, or art for art’s sake, but art making a profound statement about who we are in the world.” — George Rivera
To listen to artist and visionary George Rivera speak about the work of Artnauts Collaborative is to be swept up by the mission and commitment of this group of artists, all of whom have made a commitment to reflect on people the world over whose lives are subject to the kind of tragedy and injustice that only human beings can visit upon one another. Rivera was joined at the Benson Latin American Collection by artists and collective members Beth Krensky and Trine Bumiller for an artists' talk and the opening of an exhibition titled Globalocation: Artnauts Collective Celebrates 20 Years on March 28.
Globalocation is a selection of works created by Artnauts, the Colorado-based artists' collective founded by Dr. Rivera, art professor at the University of Colorado–Boulder. The collective counts some 40 current members, all of them artists with graduate-level training, and some with illustrious international careers. The Benson Collection is the repository for Rivera’s papers, and will become the home of the original work featured in this exhibition.
Rivera discusses the impetus behind Artnauts in this excerpt from an article by Susan Froyd on Westword.com:
“I looked around there and saw little happening in reference to social consciousness in the art world,” Rivera says. “There was no emphasis on it in the art department. So I decided to start a group to address the kinds of issues I thought should be addressed by artists.” That was the beginning of Rivera’s Artnauts — a collective of artists willing to tackle human issues in their work — at least on a smaller scale. "But it grew very quickly," he notes. . . . Why Artnauts? The obvious explanation, says Rivera, is “because we go around the world; we circle the globe like astronauts.” More obliquely, it’s a play on words, he adds: “It’s ‘art not’ as in not art as usual — not decorative art, or art for art’s sake, but art making a profound statement about who we are in the world.” Rivera began singling out places in turmoil around the globe and proposed shows that served as international exchanges of information and dialogue with disenfranchised cultures. “I started making cold calls to places of contention and conflict, where people were experiencing major social issues," he recalls. "I call people on the phone after doing research to see what art spaces there are, and then I contact them directly until I get somebody to speak English.”
"The tactic has led to serendipitous exhibitions that have traveled to post-Pinochet Chile, Colombia, Bethlehem and Ramallah in Palestine, Russia, on boats down the Amazon," writes Froyd, as well as, most recently, to Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the show will explore "how that city’s placement along the Silk Road eventually brought a Muslim population to Eastern Europe."
The written word cannot do justice to the project, nor to Rivera's tenacious commitment to it. We invite the reader to visit the Benson Latin American Collection to see these works in person, and to imagine the people whose lives and struggles are reflected in them.
Globalocation is free and open to the public, and on view in the Benson Latin American Collection's second-floor gallery through August 31, 2017.
For more information, contact Susanna Sharpe at email@example.com, or 512-232-2403.