Exhibition title: do it
Exhibition dates: May 1 – July 1, 2011
Exhibition space: Philip J. Steele Gallery
do it is a do-it-yourself type exhibition model that was conceived and first organized by Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist. The do it manual stands by itself as a conceptual exhibition, but it is also a framework for a malleable, venue-based exhibition. The exhibition is grounded in instruction-based artworks written by internationally renowned artists and writers. The content that forms the foundation of the exhibition can be accessed though the online or printed manual, which features more than 168 sets of instructions. The exhibition centers on the concept of the translation and interpretation of these written instructions.
In any do it exhibition, the original artists featured in the manual may not participate; instead the exhibition requires other artists to reinterpret and re-imagine the instructions from their own perspectives. Upon agreeing to take part in this interpretation of do it, participants were free to select the instruction of their choice from the online manual. They were, however, given a few rules: they had to commit to complete the work by May 6, 2011, and they had to agree to dismantle or destroy their artwork at the close of the exhibition.
This version of do it involves thirty-three artists from the Denver-metro area as well as others living in Austin, Wisconsin, New York, Mexico City and Montreal. Five of these artists are only participating in opening night performances. The participants range in age from 19 – 57 and generally come from creative backgrounds. Most of the participants found in this iteration are visual artists, but also contributing are museum directors, designers, and musicians. Here, 25 sets of instructions have been interpreted and a few have been repeated.
do it is an open approach to exhibition making; a methodology that is concept-driven, repetitive, mobile, and anti-consumerist (something the art world rarely sees). The do it exhibitions are ever-changing in their translation through new artists, the space they are realized in, and the location in the world. do it functions as a play between global and regional, text and action, object and concept, now and always, and above all else, interpretation. - Cortney Lane Stell, curator/ do it interpreter