Every month between January and October, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) invites local artists to curate a unique experience after hours called Untitled Final Fridays. From 6 to 8 p.m., visitors explore the museum to find one-time presentations, installations and other creative activities centered around a theme of the artist’s choosing. These events highlight local artists in a grand way, allowing art lovers a chance to appreciate the creative culture of their own city in an atmosphere that typically showcases canonized masters. Often, the selected artists for Untitled presentations are ones to keep your eyes on, as if the inclusion at this DAM event boosts their career in major ways.
The DAM just announced the full schedule of Untitled events for 2019 and we are excited to see several artists on the roster that we expect will have an extraordinary year, based on the momentum from 2018. Looking at the rest of the list, we are also appreciative of the diversity of talent and medium the artists work with. From performative pieces to visual art to immersive experiences with light and sound, these takeovers will punctuate another year of art in Denver that we should all rejoice in. Though the exact details of each artists’ plans for their Untitled installation won’t be revealed until the night of the event, we have the schedule with notes on each artist to help you plan your Final Fridays until the end of the year.
January 25: Secret Love Collective
This collective is made up of eight artists — Frankie Toan, Piper Rose, Katy Batsel, Lares Feliciano, Colby Phillip Graham, Genevieve Waller, Katy Zimmerman and Lauren Zwicky — who are all queer-identified and spend their energy and creativity on developing spaces to explore, communicate and have fun. According to the official press release from DAM, the Collective will investigate “coded bodily expression through the construction of identity” for their Untitled takeover. For more information, see the Q&A that Secret Love Collective had with Sarah Rockett at the DAM.
February 22: Black Actors Guild
For the last decade, the Black Actors Guild explores narratives from Denver’s Five Points neighborhood through performative experiences like poetry, music and dance. But they may have more of a reputation from the Show Ya Teef improv comedy specials they host, which includes audience participation at certain times. The second Untitled takeover this year features the group, who will continue their exploration of Five Points’ history and evolution.
March 29: Suchitra Mattai
After a monumental year in 2018, Suchitra Mattai takes on 2019 with some huge projects, including the third Untitled at the DAM. Her creative takeover aims to build “cross-cultural narratives around ideas of home” — a theme that Mattai has flirted with in the past.
April 26: Esther Hernandez
Esther Hernandez mixes performance art with something else — but that something else is hard to explain because each one of her pieces is completely different. Last year, she set up blind dates where the participants played a game called “Tooth or Dare” — and yes, that’s as bizarre as it sounds. But that oddity in Hernandez’s art absolutely invites interaction from viewers or visitors, making her a no-brainer for an Untitled project.
May 31: Kenzie Sitterud
In their Untitled takeover, Kenzie Sitterud will create “an evening of seriously playing and playing seriously,” according to the press release. Sitterud is a multi-media artist, who often creates large, site-specific installations, drawing on experiences specific to the queer community.
June 28: Tobias Fike
Tobias Fike came to Colorado to earn his MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and in the eight years since he has produced a great variety of work — including sculpture, installations, photography and sound performances — throughout Denver. His Untitled event will showcase his interest in light and shadow and how those ethereal mediums stir up memories and nostalgia.
July 26: Michael Sperandeo
As a digital artist, Michael Sperandeo might have an excuse to forget history and focus on the future, but instead, he often pulls inspiration and influence from ancient symbolism. This past year, he won an award during the Supernova Digital Animation Festival. During his DAM event, he plans to explore “the possibilities of the digital realm through multisensory interactive simulations.”
August 30: Kate Speer
Through residencies at PlatteForum and RedLine locally, choreographer and dancer Kate Speer has made a name for herself in the Denver dance scene — which is an enormous accomplishment when that scene struggles to stay afloat. Her takeover at the DAM will showcase her expertise in movement while tackling the topic of Americana history and traditions.
September 27: Adrian H. Molina
Although the term “poetry” might turn some people off, Adrian H. Molina connects the worlds of rap and hip-hop lyricism with more traditional forms of poetry and education. He’s a rapper, poet, activist, podcast host and professor. He’s created courses such as “Mass Media and the Collective Consciousness” at the University of Wyoming and is constantly asked to speak at other universities around the country. His DAM takeover will no doubt fall in line with his poetic approach to building community, creating equity and finding purpose.
October 25: Lauri Lynnxe Murphy
Art and nature are the pillars of Lauri Lynnxe Murphy’s work, where her “horror at what I see and read about daily” propel her creative intuition forward. Through the use of technology, living things (honeybees, for one) and symbolic objects, she creates a variety of work in different mediums that carry her sorrows and hopes. As the final Untitled for 2019, Murphy might leave us with some heavy thoughts to mull over — or motivate us — on our way to 2020.