Just like modern music, contemporary art is nothing more than a reaction to a reaction going all the way back to caveman drawings. Such is the focus independently of the Akron Art Museum and Hi-Fructose magazine, as well as collectively in the form of a new exhibit.
Locally, the Akron Art Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon (or two) taking in modern and contemporary art, including its upcoming presentation of touring exhibit Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose, which opens Fri 2/10 10 at the Rubber City museum. That evening, attendees can meet various artists, as well as experience a special one-night only performance by New York City artist Olek.
The exhibit celebrates more than 50 artists whose contemporary art work has been highlighted by the popular art magazine Hi-Fructose. CoolCleveland talked to Akron Art Museum assistant curator Elizabeth Carney about Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose.
First of all, what’s the origin of the exhibit Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose?
It’s the 10th anniversary show of the magazine. This was a show that was organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach. It showed from May to December. We agreed to bring the show here before it opened. We’re interested in it because this is an exhibition that is rather unusual.
What’s so special about Hi-Fructose magazine to warrant an exhibit?
Hi-Fructose is a contemporary art magazine that has been around for more than 10 years now. The creators, who are artists, founded the magazine with the intention to produce a publication that would be different from other art publications that they were seeing at Barnes & Noble. Those tend to cover the New York gallery scene and kind of established art world, if you will. They were seeing a lot of artists they knew, people on the West Coast, who were creating artwork that they thought was worthy of publication.
What should people know about the magazine and the kind of art it covers?
It’s an extraordinarily popular art publication. Part of the appeal of the magazine is that they show a huge range of artists who are known for graffiti and street art and tattoos to blue chip artists and artists you might find in a New York gallery scene. All artists are working now and are very contemporary.
For those taking in Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose, what type of artwork should they expect?
It’s a very broad range of artists working now. This is really a contemporary and global art magazine and exhibition. There will be paintings, significant number of sculptures, some drawings, a video and photography. I would describe that this is all artwork with sort of identifiable images, stories. These are figurative works, so you’re not going to see, for example, minimalist abstraction in this exhibition. You’re going to see a lot of work influenced by comic books, animation, pop culture and art history. These are also artists who have grown up using the Internet and have been exposed to a huge range of influences from the broad art world globally to elements from pop culture, literature, entertainment, etc.
Why is Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose a perfect fit for the Akron Art Museum?
Our mission is to enrich lives through modern and contemporary art. While we have a wonderful collection of modern and contemporary artwork, this is a decidedly contemporary exhibition. It’s bringing together artworks that really are rarely seen in a museum context. Most of the artists are known through the Internet. These are artists who are very savvy through social media and keeping their images sort of out there in the digital realm and the printed pages of magazines like Hi-Fructose. Fans of these artists rarely have an opportunity to actually see these artworks in person.
Finally, let’s hope people don’t confuse high-fructose corn syrup with Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose.
That’s interesting. Actually, I had conversations with the magazine founders and have asked about the title. Their explanation was when they founded the magazine around 10 years ago, high-fructose corn syrup was this controversial buzzword out there. They figured a lot of people would be looking that up and they wanted to get into that conversation in a way. I think the name Hi-Fructose is interesting because you think about synthetic, syrupy sweetness, or the seduction of the images, but then there is sort of unhealthy aspect of that substance. A lot of the artwork in this exhibition has a similar quality: It’s beautifully painted, very seductive colors but there are deeper and darker messages in the artworks.
Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose will be on view through 5/7.