The Art Museum at Symphony Park (AMSP), the group advancing a future art museum in Las Vegas, and Reno-based Nevada Museum of Art, the state’s only accredited art museum, have partnered to present an exhibition showcasing the most significant contemporary artists living and working across Nevada today. Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada bridges the divide between Northern and Southern Nevada communities, providing a broad overview and deep understanding of the most accomplished work being created by more than thirty artists living and working in the Silver State. The exhibition is co-curated by Nevada Museum of Art Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art JoAnne Northrup; and Las Vegas-based art advisor Michele C. Quinn, owner of MCQ Fine Art, LLC. Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada debuted in Reno August 5 through October 23, 2016, at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery. The show opens Friday, March 17 in Las Vegas at a pop-up art facility located at 920 S. Commerce Street, and will remain on view through Sunday, May 14.
Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada opened to much acclaim in northern Nevada, showcasing the vibrant creative fabric binding the Silver State. On the heels of the wildly successful Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains, co-produced by Nevada Museum of Art and Art Production Fund, a dialogue emerged about the future of visual arts across the state. To further develop that conversation, Nevada Museum of Art and members from the Seven Magic Mountains Las Vegas committee envisioned an exhibition that would look inward, and celebrate the serious work being generated by talented artists spanning the Great Basin. Those discussions led Quinn and Northrup to curate Tilting the Basin. Concurrently, The Art Museum at Symphony Park effort was underway in Las Vegas, and AMSP president Katie O’Neill, along with Nevada Museum of Art Executive Director and CEO David Walker, crafted a plan to bring the exhibition to Las Vegas.
The first nationally significant exhibition presenting art made in Nevada occurred in 2007 with Las Vegas Diaspora: The Emergence of Contemporary Art from the Neon Homeland, on view at the Las Vegas Art Museum, which has since closed. Organized by the well-respected art critic and curator Dave Hickey, the exhibition celebrated the work of twenty-six artists, all of whom received their degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and studied with Hickey between 1990 and 2001 when he taught art theory and criticism in the Department of Art at UNLV.
Until August, 2016, it had been almost a decade since a serious spotlight had shone on Nevada’s contemporary art scene. Fast forward to the present day. Northrup and Quinn conducted more than fifty artist studio visits across Nevada, spanning Las Vegas to the south, Reno and Carson City in the north. Through these travels a picture of Nevada’s contemporary art scene started to emerge.
“These are artists living and working here in the state. They are committed to this community,” said Quinn. “We chose works from artists that have a mature development in their work, and that were continuing to evolve. It was important to find something of long-term value, works that could resonate over time.”
Northrup and Quinn’s research revealed the Nevada contemporary art scene does not evidence a singular aesthetic permeating artists’ work, but rather a wide array of practices and media.
“Nevada artists are creating innovative work ranging from painting, sculpture, and installation, to photography, interactive, and sound art. Their work is informed by popular culture, the natural environment, and landscape, as well as cultural identity, politics, and current events,” said Northrup. “The exhibition aspires to provide contemporary dialogue aimed at enlightening our broader audiences to the richness of our entire arts community and how it can be a powerful tool in the growth of the great state of Nevada.”
Tilting the Basin highlights the work of six artists in depth, showing several examples from each in a variety of media. Featured artists include Galen Brown, Justin Favela, Katie Lewis, David Ryan, Brent Sommerhauser, and Rachel Stiff. The remaining artists’ work gives visitors a wide-ranging picture of the art being created across Nevada today, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, mixed media, street art, installation, sound performance, fiber arts and new media. Some work, like that of Reno photographer Megan Berner, will live exclusively on social media.
Northrup and Quinn sought to bring together Northern and Southern Nevada artists whose work has not been prominently displayed at the Museum in the past. Exhibition artists include:
Sush Machida Gaikotsu
David Sanchez Burr
Throughout the eight-week run of the exhibition in Las Vegas at 920 S. Commerce Street, AMSP and Nevada Museum of Art will host several public and educational programs designed to foster community dialogue surrounding the various exhibition themes, including what it means to consider a future, permanent art museum in Las Vegas. Details for these programs will be released soon. Information will be housed on NevadaArt.org.
Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada is co-presented by The Art Museum at Symphony Park and Nevada Museum of Art, and will be exhibited March 17 – May 14 at a pop-up art facility located at 920 S. Commerce Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. The exhibition is co-curated by Nevada Museum of Art Curatorial Director and Curator of Contemporary Art JoAnne Northrup; and Michele C. Quinn, owner of MCQ Fine Art, LLC, and AMSP board member. Gallery hours at 920 S. Commerce St. are Wednesday - Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm, Fridays until 9 pm. Admission is free.
Premier sponsorship provided by Public School 702; Stacie Mathewson and Doors to Recovery. Lead sponsorship by MGM Resorts International; and Wayne and Miriam Prim. Major sponsorship by Jacqueline Black and Xibit Solutions. Supporting sponsorship by Steven Molasky; Maureen Mullarkey and Steve Miller; Nevada Arts Council; and The Private Bank by Nevada State Bank. Sponsorship by Kathie Bartlett; Elaine Cardinale; Barbara and Tad Danz; Dolan Law, LLC; The Ogden and Juhl Condominiums; Tammy M. and Brian E. Riggs; and Sari and Ian Rogoff. Media sponsorship by Juxtapoz Magazine; and Nevada Magazine.