Cover Story: On the Periphery

Beautiful Losers gets streetwise with satellite exhibits at PUBLICO and The Mockbee

James Czar


Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture roars into town this week at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), grinding up sidewalks and railings, leaping airborne through a city that will find itself transformed into a living mural. Culture and counterculture are colliding, bringing art of street level and eye level together.

In conjunction with the CAC's exhibit, two local galleries known for crossing and re-crossing that intersection of urban culture and contemporary art will present satellite exhibits, bringing the CAC's higher-browed approach back to street level.

When they first heard the CAC would bring artists of all backgrounds, disciplines and styles together to celebrate urban-inspired visual art and music, brothers Matt and Paul Coors of the Clay Street gallery PUBLICO knew they had to be a part of the streetwise action.

"We went about setting up our thing," says Paul Coors, "(which was) like-minded aesthetics within, and it sort of matched up with what we thought the Beautiful Losers exhibition was going to be. So then it was really good that Christian (Strike, co-curator of Beautiful Losers) got in contact with us."

Strike wasn't aware when he contacted PUBLICO that the Coors brothers were already planning a concurrent exhibit in response to Beautiful Losers.

"It makes sense at PUBLICO, because it's a do-it-yourself, artist-run gallery," Paul says.

Good World, PUBLICO's nod to the CAC's Beautiful Losers, focuses on 21 local and international artists whose work gathers in the cracks between street-level public exhibition and the controlled environment of an art gallery. The show will include installed artwork, artists' work painted directly on the walls, interactive exhibitions and even a "PUBLICO store" where artists can sell some of their pieces.

The show opens 7 p.m Thursday at PUBLICO, 1308 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine.

"The opening's going to be crazy," Paul says. "It's going to be a super-fun event."

Strike also contacted Carissa Barnard and Chris Daniel, curators of The Mockbee (2260 Central Pkwy., Brighton), about involving the large-scale gallery for satellite exhibits and performances.

"They had such a huge vision for what they wanted to do at the CAC, and they couldn't contain it all there," Daniel says. "They definitely wanted other people who maybe didn't go to the CAC, who went to places like The Mockbee or PUBLICO to be involved as well."

The first floor/Central Parkway entrance features Beaver College, an exhibit featuring the work of three artist collectives — Winipeg art aggregation the Royal Art Lodge (from Canada); Paper Rodeo from Providence, R.I.; and Space 1026 from Philadelphia. Artists Andrew Loughnane and "Fat Nick" Accurso of Scribble Jam fame worked with The Mockbee to set up a second-floor exhibit, Stop Motion, featuring works by skateboarder/artist Joe Castrucci, photographer Ross Schwartsman and painter Kevin Muente.

As for the third floor/McMicken entrance? A mini-skatepark will be constructed for performances by skating professionals.

"I'm really excited to see the space transformed, the third floor built out with ramps," Daniel says.

The Mockbee show opens 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5. Through March 28.

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