The search for under-appreciated art: Artists gather for People's Biennial

April 13, 2010

The search for under-appreciated art: Artists gather for People's Biennial
Native artists from Pine Ridge Reservation gathered Thursday in Kyle, SD, in hopes of having their art chosen for a national exhibit, and Tanka Bar's own Eric Pourier was one of the artist hopefuls who attended the event.

The artists, which included an actress, painters, and sculptors, came to Oglala Lakota College to show their work to curators and officials from the Dahl Arts Center of Rapid City, SD, and Independent Curators International (ICI), a non-profit that works to bridge the relationship between what artists and curators are interested in and what the format of an exhibition can be.

The visitors are searching for under-appreciated art to be included in a 2011 traveling art show called the People's Biennial Exhibit.

"The curators said my art was emotional and strong," said Eric, who is a social networking intern at Native American Natural Foods. Eric's work will be displayed starting June 6 at the Red Cloud Heritage Center's 43rd Annual Art Show in Pine Ridge.

"I've been showing my work at the Red Cloud show since 2000," Eric said. "Peter Strong, the director of the Red Cloud Heritage Center, is the one who told us about this opportunity."

The open call sessions were held in Pine Ridge Thursday morning and then traveled to Kyle in the afternoon. A final session will be in Rapid City Saturday at the Dahl Arts Center, 713 Seventh St.

The Dahl Arts Center was chosen to be one of five locations nationwide to host a national art show, curated by Harrel Fletcher, an artist based in Portland, OR, and Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco.

According to ICI, five art institutions in the United States will present a biennial of contemporary art consisting of works by five artists in each of the institutions' local communities, selected by Fletcher and Hoffmann. The institutions must be in locations that lie outside mainstream art centers, but in places where art nonetheless thrives.

ICI says the People's Biennial will display significant contemporary work originating from often overlooked locales by artists who have not had significant exposure, thus offering a potential model for more community-based and even grassroots exhibitions.

The artists who will be taking part in the People's Biennial will be chosen later in 2010.

For a slideshow of some of Eric's previous artwork: A little funky, a little surreal

For more information:
The Dahl Arts Center
Oglala Lakota Collage
Independent Curators International
Red Cloud Heritage Center

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