by Andrew Crisp
Boise's premier pop-up arts happening, Modern Art, once again squeezed a huge crowd into the confines of the Modern Hotel and Bar First Thursday, May 2.
Milling about doorways, makeshift dance floors, balconies and the building's courtyard, attendees slowly filed through 33 rooms transformed into miniature galleries by Boise artists.
Modern Art is a vastly different experience for artists, who traditionally hang their work in galleries or museums.
"Art can sometimes be a quiet experience where it’s away from the spectacle, whereas Modern Art is really like a spectacle, like going on stage at a rock event," Moscow artist and two-time Modern Art contributor David Herbold told Boise Weekly.
He and his wife, Lauren McCleary-Herbold, transformed the Modern Hotel courtyard with three stations designed for interaction, including a popular letter-writing podium. Art at the event ran the gamut from ceramics to mixed media to performance art, often with an interactive flair.
In Room 242, visitors took pen to paper, plastering the walls with "speed art" courtesy the Boise State Drawing and Painting Guild.
A collective called Super Art Soda created an engaging environment in Room 224 with its large-scale installations. A toilet paper sign on the room's door advertised "Sex + Turf War + Religion + Pottery." Inside, one bed was dominated by two pastel-colored walruses, each with sharp tusks covered with barnacle-like airplane turbines. In the corner, the Prayer Shower beckoned visitors to light artificial candles and offer up psalms.
In Room 107, Tom Bennick formed paper pulp in the room's tiled shower, pressing out the water to create rectangular sheets of fresh-made paper. Bennick's intricate papercrete creations were scattered throughout the adjacent room.
Tod Alan's room, 226, was clad entirely in white. Alan sat in the corner of the room in a flowing white dress, surrounded by white walls holding images of a woman's face that was replicated on the mask he wore. Alan held a small square, with the words "HOW???", and made robotic movements.
Most rooms were a mix of showcase pieces and art available for sale, though some, like the Vinyl Preservation Society in Room 221, served as a place to boogie. DJs in sparkling outfits cued up classic dance tracks.
Downstairs, Trevor Kamplain, clad entirely in white, doled out slices of mango in Room 109, which also incorporated music. White posts rising from the bed held collage prints created by Kamplain that combined landscapes with cobras, flying saucers and pictures of the Pope.
While Modern Art is largely about individual artists, it's difficult to point to a single room as more successful than another. It's perhaps easier to look at the event as a whole—as a temporary, building-wide installation that disappears each year almost as quickly as it arrives.
View a photo slideshow of Modern Art 2013 here.