INTRO TO LAB MEDIA | EXHIBITION COVERAGE | PROGRAM COVERAGE
INTRO TO LAB MEDIA
"MCA DENVER HIRES LERNER AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR"
Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 24, 2009
The MCA Denver board of trustees today announced that Adam Lerner will be its new director and in the process will also merge the Lab at Belmar with MCA. Lerner founded the Laboratory of Art and Ideas and has been its executive director since it opened in 2006 in the Lakewood development. Before that he was master teacher for modern and contemporary art at the Denver Art Museum. MCA began a search for a new director after Cydney Payton left that post in late October.
"MIXED MEDIA: COLORADO MUSEUMS MERGING"
Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post, Feb. 25, 2009
Two of the region's most prominent contemporary art spaces announced Tuesday that they will merge, marrying the scrappy spirit of the Lab at Belmar with the broader, upscale exhibitions of the MCA. The Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Lakewood, a kind of visual-arts think tank, is best known for populist programs, such as its Mixed Taste series of paired talks on totally unrelated topics (Mayan astronomy and Stanley Kubrick? Tamales and literary memoirs?). The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which moved into an architecturally acclaimed $16.5 million building in October, is a more traditional museum with a little edginess of its own. It is exhibiting the work of world-class iconoclast Damien Hirst. In essence, this merger combines the best of both — the Lab's accessible outreach programs with the MCA's international shows.
The Lab at Belmar in suburban Denver takes as its recipe: one part humor, one part serendipity, one part seriousness and one part everything else (imagery, discourse, discussion, party-time). And the results are delightfully hard to pin down, being neither museum nor academy; but often the source of something stimulating, even exhilarating (traditional institutions: take note). The most recent 'exhibit' is a case in point. I should say two 'exhibits' because they are separately defined, although located side by side in exhibit spaces.
Also reviews from Randy Brown and Eric Waldemar.
"A NEW INTELLECTUAL AND CULTURAL COMMUNITY"
Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post, September 14, 2006
The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, the newest addition to the Denver metropolitan area cultural scene, can lay claim to at least one first. It seems safe to say that it is the only art institution, at least one with international ambitions, to be located down the street from a Foot Locker, Jamba Juice and Victoria's Secret in a suburban retail development. Such a seeming incongruity doesn't bother executive director Adam Lerner, because he believes breaking with convention is exactly what the innovative facility is all about.
"BELMAR ARTS AND IDEAS LAB EXPANDS " (streaming audio)
Dan Meyers, Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Matters, July 11, 2006
Dan Meyers speaks with Adam Lerner, executive director of the laboratory of Arts and Ideas at Belmar, about establishing itself as a community resource and an internationally recognized center for innovation.
"THE LAB: SMALL SPACE, BIG IDEA"
Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News, May 29, 2006
"The word "groovalicious" doesn't show up in any architectural dictionaries. But for the director and architect working on the interior space that will become The Lab, it's a jokey catchphrase to describe the feeling, the atmosphere and the sensibility both want for the art center in Belmar. "
Carol Vogel, New York Times, March 10, 2006
In Lakewood, a western suburb of Denver, another new institution is about to add to the cultural mix, the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar. It bills itself as part museum, part think tank and part public forum. Known just as the Lab, it is to open in the fall in an 11,500-square-foot building designed by Belzberg Architects of Santa Monica, Calif. The idea came from Continuum Partners, local developers who are providing the space and operating funds, and Adam Lerner, a former curator at the Denver Art Museum who is the Lab's executive director.
"PLAYING TO THE GALLERY" (.pdf)
Aric Chen, Surface Magazine, Issue No. 68
Imagine a contemporary art center that has a dog for a mascot, hosts talks on Marxism and kittens (in the same presentation) and kicked off its inaugural show with a badminton tournament. To an unrepentant art snob, the new Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, located just outside downtown Denver in Lakewood, Colorado, might feel something like purgatory. But for Adam Lerner, the Lab's irreverent founding director, art is best served with a dish of humor. "We're trying to cultivate an intellectual community around contemporary art," he say, "while not taking ourselves too seriously.
"DENVER'S ART SCENE SOARS WITH NEW GALLERIES, EVENTS"
Gene Sloan, USA Today, October 26, 2007
Denver's art cred also is getting a boost from the blossoming of several smaller institutions, such as the year-old Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Belmar, a venue for short-term contemporary art installations, and the 4-year-old Kirkland Museum, nationally known for its jam-packed collection of 20th-century furniture and design by the likes of Ponti, Paul Evans and Alvar Aalto.
John King, San Francisco Chronicle, April 8, 2007
"We are trying to create a commercial and cultural center for the west side of the metropolitan area," explained Continuum's founder, Mark Falcone. That's why prime space was set aside for The Lab, as well as why a block long stretch of studios doubles as a screen for a parking garage. "There are certain things we can do within a physical framework that can provide a setting for community," Falcone said. "Artists and craftspeople are interesting, and they're starting to attract other people with their own opinions and ideas. That's when community starts to unfold."
THE ASTOUNDING PROBLEM OF ANDREW NOVICK
Links to media coverage of the exhibition
"VIRTUAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DiNA" (streaming audio)
Ryan Warner, Colorado Matters, August 25, 2008
DiNA is a new kind of presidential candidate – one you yourself can have a conversation with, albeit virtually, at the Lab at Belmar. Ryan Warner talks to artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, DiNA's creator.
COLORADO CULTURE CAST, SEGMENT 158
Craig Richardson, Colorado Cultrue Cast, June 2, 2008
In Segment 158, Colorado Culture Cast producer Craig Richardson attends the opening night reception for Silent Films & Bedroom Paintings at the Lab at Belmar.
"ARTIST WITH A HANG-UP"
Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post, March 7, 2008
Phil Bender buys the stuff at estate sales that nobody else wants— ubiquitous, commonplace objects like egg beaters, stepladders, pot holders and matchbooks. Such humble castoffs become the building blocks of his assemblages, which are essentially groups of like things arranged in some precise fashion on walls, floors or shelves. On the most basic level, Bender's art consists of collecting and ordering. That might seem simplistic and obvious, but this approach turns out to be considerably more innovative and substantive than it might first appear.
Amber Taufen, Westword, February 14, 2008
"Valentine's Day is really the pinnacle of loserness for the beautiful loser," notes Adam Lerner, executive director of the Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Lakewood's Belmar complex. "Failure really is a critical dimension. It's critical of norms of American life, which says that there are certain norms of romance, and norms of the successful relationship and what that should look like, and Valentine's Day is a naive celebration of norms."
"TRACING EXODUS FROM PLAINS"
Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News, February 8, 2008
Lots of sky, and lots of space. Few people, and tough climate. Good hearts, and wary hearts. Those phrases from a piece by Michael Maidenberg, set against a gray video background, help New York-based artist Mary Lucier begin her video installation The Plains of Sweet Regret. On view on six screens, large and small, at the Lab at Belmar, Sweet Regret is a wistful yet lyrical examination of the flight of population from the Great Plains.
"FANG LIJUN: THE LABORATORY OF ART AND IDEAS AT BELMAR" (.pdf)
Kyle MacMillan, Artforum, November 2007
Born in 1963, Chinese artist Fang Lijun was still a student when his work was included in 1989's milestone exhibition "No U-Turn," at the China Art Gallery in Beijing. In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Fang emerged as a pioneer of "cynical realism," a style that writer Ben Davidson has characterized as a "mix of ennui and rogue humor." And while he is best known for his figurative paintings and wood-block prints–in particular those featuring his trademark bald Everyman–the artist has focused increasingly on sculpture in recent years.
"SPIRAL CITY OFF BALANCE"
Mary Voetz Chandler , Rocky Mountain News, October 26, 2007
Artist Melanie Smith was born in England and has lived and worked in Mexico City for almost 20 years. That capital's dense population and vibrant neighborhoods certainly show up in the alternately smart and murky aspects of this compilation of videos, installations, assemblages, paintings and photographs. And it was curated by critic and historian Cuauhtemoc Medina, a researcher at the Institute for Aesthetic Research at the National University of Mexico, where "Spiral City" was first shown. (Medina also is associate curator of Latin American art collections at Tate Gallery in London.)
"FLAWED GOLD: FIND BEAUTY IN MELANIE SMITH'S NEW INSTALLATION..."
Mark Dragotta, Westword, September 23, 2007
In my opinion, the mark of a good artist is the ability to turn the ugly or the offensive, or even the commonplace, into something greater. Look at Warhol or Duchamp, or even Pryor. Yes, I'm talking about Richard Pryor — so pay attention.
"HEADS UP AT BELMAR LAB"
Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post, August 27, 2007
Since the Impressionists defied the academy in the 19th century and Picasso overthrew centuries of pictorial tradition with his revolutionary "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" in 1907, contemporary art has been constantly in search of the new.
"BEST INSTALLATION SHOW 2007: WEEKEND IN SO SHOW"
Best of Westword 2007
After years of gurgling in a temporary space, the Laboratory for Art and Ideas at Belmar -- the Lab, for short -- finally started an exhibition program in its finished home last fall. The place aims to bring high culture to Lakewood, an idea out of the mind of founding director Adam Lerner. Lerner loves what's called "new media" -- film, video and installation -- and that's what's on tap in the still-open Weekend in So Show. With this multi-room piece -- which comprises wooden boxes, LCD monitors displaying an old film, and lots of wall text -- British artist Liam Gillick addresses the topic of human labor. It's hard to follow, but it's even harder to deny how good it looks.
Michael Paglia, Westword, February 15, 2007
Liam Gillick emerged in the 1990s as part of a generation of artists showing in London who were dubbed the "YBAs," or Young British Artists. He came to the Lab as a visiting artist working with a group of around a dozen students from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, which, like the Lab, is in Lakewood. According to Lab director Adam Lerner, Gillick "collaborated" with the students in the creation of Weekend, but that's hard to believe, since the resulting piece is signature Gillick -- right down to the miles of wall text and the elegantly simple three-dimensional elements.
"MIXED TASTE: LECTURES FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY FLEXIBLE"
Janae Reed, UCD Advocate, July 16, 2008
What do you get when you mix an Austrian philosopher's theory of metaphysical language with the Hawaiian tradition of hula dancing? One word: hula-physics. If you have no idea what that term means, join the club.
"BIG BAD WORDS: WHO'S AFRAID OF POETRY? NOT JAKE ADAM YORK"
Susan Froyd, Westword, January 29, 2008
Jake Adam York is a poet and a lover of poetry. But he's wise enough to realize that most people just aren't comfortable with verse, perhaps because they don't know how to make sense of it. "The things we fear about poetry are the things that are good about poetry," he says. It's those very qualities -- spare language and compressed meaning -- that York will try to explain during Who's Afraid of Poetry?, a four-part lecture series hosted by the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar and designed to dispense with that whole miasma of misunderstanding that people can't seem to deal with in poetry.
"OFFBEAT LECTURE SERIES RETURNS TO THE LAB"
Jeff Francis, The Lakewood Sentinel, June 16, 2007
University of Colorado Professor Joel Swanson talked to an audience about the popularity of the Helvetica font and its "illegitimate cousin," Ariel. Minutes later, Scott Kinnamon had the same audience singing along to "The Brady Bunch." Swanson and Kinnamon lectured at the opening night of the 2007 Mixed Taste lecture series at the Lab at Belmar. The series, which pairs two radically different topics for an offbeat meld — in this case Swiss typography and television theme songs — is back for its fourth year, with a growing following.
"REFORM MOVEMENT: PATTI SMITH GETS REINVENTED IN BELMAR"
Aubrey Shoe, Westword, October 18, 2007
Ever wondered what a Björk song would sound like interpreted by a barbershop quartet? Or what if someone decided to play Philip Glass using glasses filled with water? These are just some of the many original musical performances that have taken place in the past two years during the School of Music Reform series at the Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar.