January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
Artnauts.org, 01/17/2017

Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
Artnauts.org, 01/17/2017

The Artnauts artist collective was founded in 1996 by Dr. George Rivera, Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The collective uses the arts as a tool for addressing global issues while connecting artists from around the world. The group has exhibited work in museum, university, gallery and public spaces on four continents and has captured the attention of art critics both in the United States and internationally. The work of the collective is rooted in an engaged practice that draws from Joseph Beuys’ construct of “social sculpture,” Paulo Freire’s “conscientization” or critical consciousness and Nina Felshin’s definition of “activist art.” The collective has worked at the intersection of critical consciousness and contemporary artistic practice to impact change for almost two decades. The collective started with George Rivera and four other founding members (Garrison Roots, Dennis Dalton, Luis Valdevino, Beth Krensky).

Art as a form of social commentary has existed since Greek civilization. Since that time, the arts have been employed as tools for shedding light on social injustice and the human condition. Historically, this type of art has existed in both museum and gallery settings, as well as in the public domain. However, before the 1960s in the United States, much of the social and political commentary artwork was found almost exclusively in museums and galleries. The conceptual and earth art movements of the 1960s moved art out of museums and into the streets and land. The act of moving art from high art world venues into the “real” world impacted the political art movement of the 1970s and laid the foundation for the ecological art movement. The feminist art movement from this period turned “the personal is political” into visual images that broke the silence around issues facing women and fueled the fires of political art in general. The 1980s ushered in the ecological and activist art movements. These movements represented a major paradigm shift from the Modernist social disconnection and alienation of the artist to a connection between the artist and community (Gablik, 1991). They offered a new possibility for art and the artist—a supportive and collaborative effort between artist and society which was thought to ultimately lead to social change (Becker, 1994). The ecological art movement inextricably links art to the context within which it is created—the community and environment. The ecological aesthetic redirects the focus onto issues of context and social responsibility, as does the aesthetic of the activist art movement.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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