Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Curators II: Christopher Lynn

[A longer version of the profile that ran in the Gazette on March 18]

The 32-year-old Christopher Lynn is the youngest of the region’s new curators. The UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art curator is a Utah native who was previously assistant curator at DePauw University in Indiana. His wife, Maria Samuelson, is a performance artist.

That alliance suggests Lynn is an unabashed modernist — which he says is correct.

“I come from a more conceptual base,” he said. “I’m willing to forgive mildly shoddy craftsmanship if there’s a really exciting concept.”

Lynn is still working on an exhibition schedule that was in place before he arrived. But he’s raising the level of activity at the gallery. He hopes to make it a place people visit often — not just for openings.

New programming includes film nights, quarterly “Bad Art Nights,” lectures and panels. Lynn has redesigned the gallery’s Web site with new features such as a blog and a soon-to-debut online coloring book in which anyone can create individual versions of everything “from high-brow to street art.” The originals will come from all over the world.

“I really like the notion of kids getting involved,” he said. “I went to public school, where there wasn’t much except Blue Boy and the Mona Lisa. Even in high school, I was lucky to brush up against Warhol.

“I want to demystify contemporary art for people and make it more accessible.”

He says that often all it takes is getting people to understand that their opinions are valid.

“Somebody says, ‘It’s a giant steel cube — I don’t get it,’” said Lynn. “But they do get it — it’s a giant steel cube.”

Lynn’s views on promoting local artists are similar to those of Fine Arts Center president Michael De Marsche.

“There will probably be fewer local artists shown,” he said — but when they are exhibited, they’ll get the red-carpet treatment.

“I’ve seen a lot of institutions treat local artists as second-class citizens,” he said. “They tend to ‘ghettoize’ them — ‘We have our big national shows, and we have our local artists.’”

Lynn hopes to integrate local artists with artists of national and international stature.

“If someone gets a solo show, it’s not as a local artist, but as a great artist,” he said — an approach he believes will make local artists work harder.

And if artists aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, he has some advice: Make a space.

“Lots of galleries have the life-span of a fruit-fly,” he said. “That’s what’s going on elsewhere. Colorado Springs needs more venues.”


Post a Comment

<< Home