May 18 – June 30, 2018
Black Cube Curatorial Project
In partnership with the Denver Theatre District
Artists Theresa Anderson, Milton Melvin Croissant III, Vince McKelvie, and Zach Reini exhibit video-based artworks utilizing The Denver Theatre District’s outdoor, digital screens in downtown Denver. The animated shorts will rotate throughout the duration of Happy City: Art for the People, mixed among the regular advertising. The works focus on technology’s influence on our well-being, explore the nuances of emotions, and subvert the traditional commercial use of digital billboards. The outdoor, LED displays can be found throughout The Denver Theatre District, including at the corner of 14th, 15th, and 16th Streets on Champa Street, as well as 14th Street and Arapahoe Street. These high-profile displays reach both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, day and night.
Theresa Anderson, Sending you Sunshine
Theresa Anderson’s hand-drawn animation titled Sending you Sunshine features abstractions that reference the ever-evolving nature of human emotion. The drawings illustrate the practice of sketching and journaling as modes of self-reflection.
Milton Melvin Croissant III, Short Circuit 3
Milton Melvin Croissant III’s video looks at the intersection of technology and mental health in today’s digital age. By presenting the image of a human head literally “plugged” in like a device, this work highlights society’s perhaps unhealthy relationship with technology. Croissant selected the only square-shaped digital billboard, as it is a unique format for him to explore artistically.
Vince McKelvie, Gull
In Vince McKelvie’s animation Gull, viewers see the image of a balloon-like head floating atop a body of water, surrounded by debris. The work speaks to our impact on the environment, and suggests nurturing our natural habitats contribute to a healthier world. Gull’s enigmatic presence will provide a brief respite from the regularly presented commercials featured on this digital billboard.
Zach Reini, Stop the Heartache
In this animation, Reini appropriates a photograph of a road sign that reads "Stop the heartache.” Ordinarily, these highway digital billboards warn drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving. By removing the context, the phrase is interpreted as an open-ended heartfelt plea meant for personal contemplation. The artist also sees utopian aspirations in this statement – the impossibility of stopping all of the heartache in the world as he sees heartache as an unavoidable aspect of modern life.
This project is a part of Happy City: Art for the People, a six-week, citywide art intervention initiated by British artist Stuart Semple with the purpose of breaking down personal, emotional, and social barriers, while nurturing individual and collective well-being. Happy City is produced by the Denver Theatre District with artistic direction by Black Cube.
Special thanks to our funding partners: Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Community First Foundation, Denver Arts & Venues, Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, Downtown Denver Partnership, McWHINNEY, P.S. You Are Here, Sage Hospitality, and VISIT DENVER.
Photo credit: Third Dune Productions