SMoCA Unveils New Site-Specific Artwork

The Museum shares messages of solidarity

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art announces a new artwork on view outside its building: an installation of text art created to cultivate a sense of togetherness.

As part of a new series of work — “Untitled Gestures” Tempe-based artist Kristin Bauer recently installed a text work on the main entry of SMoCA and along an interior curved wall in the Museum.

The exterior text reads, “AND A SHARED LONGING CONNECTS US,” and the interior text reads, “ACROSS AN EVER SHIFTING TERRAIN.”

These newly commissioned works will be on view indefinitely. Valley residents can view other conceptual text-based works in this series on public storefronts throughout the Phoenix metro area on an ongoing basis.

“Bauer’s poetic musings give a sense of hope, while also acknowledging that the future is going to look very different. This work resonates with communities here, and across the world, who are looking for new ways to make connections from a distance,” says Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator at SMoCA. “During SMoCA’s temporary closure, visitors will be able to view the exterior message from the front of the building, reflecting on the ‘shared longing’ for connection during these times of social distancing. Once the Museum reopens, visitors will be able to engage with the second phrase as they find new forms of normality ‘across an ever-shifting terrain’ of shared public space.” 

A picture containing ceiling, train, station, sittingDescription automatically generated

Kristin Bauer, “Gestures #5,” 2020. PHOTO BY KRISTIN BAUER

During this time of public closures that affect many businesses, including local boutiques, restaurants and cultural institutions, Bauer is partnering with the community to utilize the closed storefronts to share messages of solidarity.

She uses white sign vinyl on windows to keep the installations inexpensive and accessible to businesses that are seeing steep drops in sales due to the closures. 

“These works are conceived of and executed as an artistic gesture, an actionable effort to speak to the collective level of uncertainty and into the emotionally complex terrain felt globally. Elevating the function of common storefront signage, the series acts as physical conduits to facilitate a feeling of human connection within the heightened concern about physical contact,” Bauer says. 

While the Museum remains temporarily closed to the public, it still has a goal to provide the city with art and culture. Participating in Bauer’s “Gestures” community project is a way to meet this goal and publicly share art that speaks to the current moment. The Museum is working toward a reopening date within 2020, and information will be released at a later date.

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