UMOCA to Open 5 New Exhibitions January 25



Salt Lake City, Utah– The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) opens its 2019 exhibition schedule with a multi-artist show that challenges the stereotype of suburbia as the ultimate ideal lifestyle, a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the ways in which people indulge in self-medication and experimental artistic videos that compel the viewer to look at mundane situations and commonplace objects in a surprisingly different way. In addition, there are exhibitions of paintings that portray neighborhood as a warm, inviting state of being and works highlighting moral messages that are the undercurrents of classic superheroes stories.

The opening reception for the exhibitions will take place Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

MAIN GALLERY: JAN. 25 – MAY 25, 2019

The exhibition considers the long-term effects of American suburbanization within the larger context of issues of urban density, homelessness and outdated infrastructure in disrepair. Shady Acres is the culminating show in a triptych of exhibitions at UMOCA that comprise the relevant community and environmental spaces in their totality. The first two, respectively, focused on landscapes as well as urban centers and downtowns. Works of 10 artists will be on display.

“We’re encouraging people to challenge how suburban lifestyles have been sold,” Jared Steffensen, UMOCA curator, said. “The idea of innocence and affordability that come from living in the suburbs can be seen as beneficial for the families moving there, but it also comes with a price. It has the potential to create a homogeneous community that could make others feel unwelcome.”

Suburbs proliferated in the U.S. following World War II along with the ‘baby boom’ generation that lasted from 1946 to 1964. The suburbs contained virtually every necessity that made going to urban downtown areas redundant and reinforced the notion that conveyed a sense of security, not necessarily found in urban centers. However, as suburbs have aged and residents are moving to larger urban areas, the exhibition also entertains the question of the impact on urban residents who are being pushed out because of rising housing prices: If they move to the suburbs, will they benefit from the construct that initially drew the families of the 1950s?

Participating artists include Albert Gray, Chris Buck, Eric Edvalson, Erick Michaud, Jason Manley, Kelsey Harrison, Paige Turner-Uribe, Tamara Johnson, Aili Schmeltz, Daniel Granitto, Jared Lindsay Clark and Whitney Bushman.

STREET GALLERY: JAN. 25 – MAY  11, 2019

Gettin’ By is a tongue-in-cheek exploration by artist Mike Simi, who explores the various ways in which people indulge in self-medication, as might be marked by class and economy. In addition to the show’s sly winks and self-effacing humor, Simi’s artistic approach blurs the boundaries between self-representation and objecthood in ways that deny their existence in either realm. This approach is manifested, for example, in a sculpture of a pair of Tylenol PM pills fashioned to scale. Other representations show cast pitchers of Miller High Life beer and Bloody Mary cocktails.

“You are more likely to consider something once you’ve laughed at it,” Mike Simi, artist, said. “My work takes the world around us out of context, forcing a quiet spin on a predictable reaction. It creates a diffusion layer between one’s personal experience and the generic nature of branding, language and imagery. In particular, this body of work attempts to question the poetics of interaction – presenting everyday experience in a way that contradicts everyday expectation.”


Caldwell ponders the connotation of neighborhood as a title or state of being not unlike more conventional terms such as sainthood, parenthood, or knighthood. His paintings portray people as neighbors, being neighborly, or being happy and at peace. The theme also encompasses kindness, friendship and relationships of safety, security, comfort, and trust among neighbors. As a counterpoint to Shady Acres, Caldwell conveys a warm ideal of suburbia, where people say “hello,” and wave, give apples as gifts to each other, or are simply comfortable walking around with a cup of water in their hand. The people use simple movements and gestures, while other symbols of houses, airplanes, the sun, stars and cars can be readily understood by children and adults alike.

CODEC GALLERY: JAN. 25 – MAY 11, 2019

Lenka Clayton’s work deconstructs and then reconstructs routine situations and commonplace objects that take on new meanings that may not have been previously evident to its viewer.
For Driving Home, a three-minute whimsical video, she uses a portable 1957 Smith-Corona Skyriter typewriter that uses the left-to-right movement to draw her way home. She accomplishes this with hyphens, carets and backslashes that become roads, trees and houses that pass by while looking out of the window.

In the video series, The Distance I Can Be From My Son, Clayton tests the comfort level of both mother and child while measuring the distance between them. She attempts to objectively measure the furthest distance she can be from her son in a variety of environments, including a city park, back alley and supermarket. Questions that become significant in the video series include: At what point does the child feel the urge to return to the mother and when does the mother run after the child? When are you both okay with letting go?

AIR SPACE: JAN. 25 – MAR. 3, 2019

Haupt, who participates in UMOCA’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program, created Ultra Force, which is a bootleg Power Rangers/Super Sentai team. The exhibition focuses on how superheroes spend their days off or what would they do if all of the villains were eliminated. Haupt said that shows about superheroes sometimes include cheesy messages, but these morals tend to take a backseat to epic battles. By focusing on these messages, the ‘Force” in Ultra Force encompasses friendship, kindness, teamwork and other overlooked superpowers.

About Greg Caldwell
A Provo, Utah artist who works with drawings, paintings and ceramics, he focuses his art on symbols of people, cars, houses and objects found in daily life, as well as constructed objects that reflect his ideals. He builds compositions and situations from these symbols, in which he articulates meaning but also allows space for interpretation of meaning to be made by the viewer.

About Lenka Clayton
Lenka Clayton is an interdisciplinary artist whose work considers, exaggerates, and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd. For three years she was the world’s first Artist-in-Residence-in- Motherhood after she founded a self-directed artist residency that took place inside her own home and life as a mother of two young children. On Mother’s Day 2016 she launched Artist-in-Residence- in-Motherhood as an open-source project. There are currently over 600 Artists-in-Residence-in- Motherhood in 41 countries.

In 2017 Clayton and collaborator Jon Rubin debuted a major new work …circle through New Yorkcommissioned by the Guggenheim Museum that took place at the Guggenheim and in five other locations in a circle throughout the city including a pet store, a church and a Punjabi TV station. Other recent exhibitions include Object Temporarily Removed, at The Fabric Workshop and Museum Philadelphia, Talking Pictures at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and A Measure of Humanity, at the Columbus Museum of Art. Clayton has been artist-in-residence at Headlands Center for the Arts (2017), The Fabric Workshop and Museum (2014–2017) and The Palais de Tokyo Insta Residency (2018).

About Jacob Haupt
Haupt works with photography, video, and sculpture. His work employs pop culture as both metaphor and mirror for addressing the tragedy of becoming an adult. After completing the book Infinity Gate with Noah Jackson in 2015, he recently released a photobook of his own, Gloom. Airlock Gallery in California hosted his first solo show Beyond the Super Rainbowin 2015, and he has continued to exhibit nationally, internationally, online, and in print. His work has been featured by Self Publish Be Happy, Der Greif, Don/Dean, and Ordinary Magazine.

About Mike Simi
Born in Michigan and currently living and working in Chicago, Simi has shown his works in a number of exhibitions including Volta New York, New York, Sluice, London, England, Season, Seattle, Washington, Threewalls, Chicago, Illinois, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington, and International Contemporary Art in Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, among others. He has held residencies at Pilchuck Glass, Stanwood, Washington and S12 Glassworks, Bergen, Norway.

His work is creatively simple and subtly subversive allowing for his sculptures to become troublemakers, denying themselves their original function while barely able to operate with their new identity. The common denominator in his work is a smart and incisive commentary on the trappings of self-representation by way of class and economy.

About the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art:

Free and open to all, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) has advanced the community of contemporary arts and culture in Utah. Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, UMOCA is a fearless voice for innovation, experimentation and dialogue surrounding the issues of our time. The Museum invites curiosity and strives to be a place where people of all points of view, backgrounds, experiences, and ages feel welcome.

UMOCA is located at 20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. The Museum is a 501c3 institution that is supported by public, foundation, and corporate donations. Admission is a suggested $5 donation. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.