UTAH BIENNIAL : MONDO UTAH
Ansel Adams, Wulf Barsch, Adam Bateman, Chris Burden, Mike Cassidy, Jared Clark, Maddison Colvin, Stephen Groo, Hagen Haltern, Michael Handley, Trent Harris, Nancy Holt, Levi Jackson, Annie Kennedy, Cara Krebs, Lazaros, David Chapman Lindsay, Paul McCarthy, Jon McNaughton, Jim Magnan, Allen Midgette, Bob Moss, Dianne Orr, Gianni Pettena, Annie Poon, J. Kirk Richards, Jean Richardson, C. Larry Roberts, Derek Rigby, Casey Jex Smith, Jared Steffensen, Summum, Ultimus Mormon, Morganne Wakefield, Jennifer West, Andrea Bowers and Cori Redstone, Matthew Antezzo and Sesher Sah, Salt Lake Art Center Collection
Utah Biennial: Mondo Utah is an anthropological look at the history past and present of contemporary art, folklore and culture in Utah. The theme of this first edition looks at the myriad ways in which Utah has been used as a site, subject, support, and material. Generating new projects and unearthing archival legacies, the exhibition demonstrates how Utah has produced its own language of contemporary art within our country’s cultural puzzle.
“Mondo Utah” or “the world of Utah”, is taken from the eponymous book by Utahn filmmaker Trent Harris, a publication of contemporary mythology that looks into the fables and idiosyncrasies originating from the Beehive state. The word “Mondo” references a filmmaking genre dating back to the early 60s from Italian filmmaker Gualtiero Jacopetti whose 1962 film “Mondo Cane” pioneered a filmmaking style known for cinema verite and pseudo-documentary that blurred reality and fiction. The film was structurally divided into short, unrelated vignettes or stories that brought one through a panorama of events unfolding before the camera.
Structured like a Russian doll, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is taken over by a series of exhibitions within the larger framework of the biennial. The recursive format reveals parallel worlds of art history, recent cultural productions, contemporary practices, outsider trajectories and aesthetic positions. Projects include Andy Warhol’s hoax, Chris Burden’s guerrilla art history, a tower of tumbleweeds, a film bathed in the Dead Sea before being thrown into a Spiral Jetty, a survey of faithful abstraction, the sublime of conceptual landscapes, a contemporary guide to a lost Utah, a 72-hour survival blanket, and an attack of a giant brine shrimp on downtown Salt Lake City. Institutional collaborations and collections come from the Church History Museum, the Central Utah Art Center, Summum, Wolf Productions, and the Salt Lake Art Center Collection.