The newest pop-up shop to grace Denver streets involves a box truck and 100 paintings.
Created by Hey Hue, the new and experimental art agency is offering art made by 30 local artists all for under $200 each. And the 24-foot box truck that serves as a gallery and retail space fits perfectly into the aesthetic and theme of the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) — gritty, urban, with no fucks given.
As UMS approaches, it’s normal for the music-lovers of Denver to rejoice. What’s neat about the festival though, aside from the jam-packed lineup, is that it is emphasizing other underground art activities, especially when they go hand-in-hand with the music. Hey Hue’s art show fits the bill in that department, titled Sex Drugs Rock & Roll. Some of the artwork that will be on display highlights shining moments in musical history, but a lot of it takes on a heavier appeal with topics like the Me Too movement, the war on drugs, female desire and Freudian psychology.
The founder of Hey Hue, Deanne Gertner, sees a lack of art collecting below the highest echelons of wealth — a trend that motivated her to start Hey Hue and make original art available for lower budgets. “Denver’s art scene has grown exponentially in the past few years, but we need more collectors in order to sustain and continue to grow our talent,” said Gertner in a press release. “Even though I live and breathe art, I can only afford to buy original art sporadically. I wanted to create something that makes owning art more accessible for everyone. I think art collecting is often seen like philanthropy — only for those in the top income brackets — but anyone can collect art just like anyone can be a philanthropist.”
Although Sex Drugs Rock & Roll will run concurrently with UMS, you won’t need a ticket to the festival to attend. Since the truck will be located near to Imagination Stage though, it’ll be easy to pop in at some point this weekend to see what art is up for sale. Plus, with 30 participating artists, the range of style is varied enough to attract a diverse audience.
There are abstract works by Kaitlyn Tucek, Jessye Ebbinghouse and Joshua Ware that use line and color as the subjects. Michael Dowling and Jason Lee Gimbel will present fine art inspired sketches and paintings for the more traditional tastes. Artists like Amber Cobb, Mario Zoots, Peter Yumi, Frankie Toan and Cory Feder will showcase their contemporary compositions that are both abstract and laden with meaning. For the music lovers — and we expect there might be quite a few of those during this event — there are tribute pieces to the likes of Jerry Garcia by Jamesia Byrd and a delightful drawing that shows a tangle of guitars by Cyane Tornatzky.
But two-dimensional art is not the only thing the delivery truck will have in store. Artist Sam Cikauskas from Boulder cuts wood and makes prints from those woodcuts and his subjects for this show are mostly weed-related. Noah Larsen doodles on items from the musical past like cassette tapes and records. Marsha Mack makes textiles and ceramics — both with a tongue-in-cheek twist — including a series of tiny ceramic frying pans titled Your Brain on Drugs. And Gertner presents a series of painted underwear titled Things Men Said to Me.
Along with the art itself, the exhibition will also include anecdotes about the pieces or about the process from the artists themselves. This quirky pop-up art show is a perfect chance to start collecting original art from some of Denver’s best up-and-coming artists while also learning more about them. And if you do happen to purchase a piece, it will always have the story behind it where you stepped into a big white truck on South Broadway to find it.
The exhibition will take place on South Broadway between West 2nd Avenue and West 3rd Avenue. Opening reception is on Friday, July 27 from 6 to 10 p.m. and the art will be on view July 28 and 29 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.