By Alexandria Hurtt
As May marks the semester’s end and graduation for this year’s seniors, it also marks the 10th anniversary of Tate Modern in London. One of the world’s greatest museums of modern art, it is inviting artists from all around the world to celebrate, including the chair of the College’s art department and associate professor of art, Anita Allyn.
Allyn will join 10 others within the Vox Populi artist collective, located in Philadelphia and one of the oldest running art collectives in history, including adjunct professor of photography at the College, Stefan Abrams, at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall as part of a three-day festival entitled “No Soul For Sale – A Festival of Independents,” from May 14-16.
The festival was first housed in New York City last June, and this year it has invited 50 independent art spaces and collectives from Shanghai to Berlin. Vox Populi also participated in the first edition of the international festival, that a press release described as “a convention of individuals and groups who have devoted their energies to keeping art alive.”
It is a chance to “explore ideas that can’t easily be made into a commodity,” Allyn explained, as it allows for more visibility of art, while it enhances a focus on content.
While many shows present an artist individually, this free, non-profit festival operates on a different model, Allyn said, as there is “something that can happen when a group works together, which can be much more powerful than (when) working alone.”
And it is this process that will ultimately dictate the art Allyn and the other members of the collective will present, as it is still in the planning stage.
“We’re trying to create work that represents us all … and can travel,” she said with a laugh.
While the scale for the upcoming project is not finalized, the artwork has been created for a presentation space eight feet wide by eight feet high, and the final piece will incorporate each member’s personality and style.
“We’ll use materials in London,” Allyn continued, describing the final piece as “a conglomeration of all the artists’ artwork.”
Many mediums will be framed within a base sculpture, which will ultimately include anything from digital media, such as video and photography, to print and animation.
Allyn, who has experience in many mediums, takes a “cut-and-paste” approach to media, as her biography on the Vox Populi website reveals, and much of her recent work has taken the form of print on vinyl and installation, a medium that challenges one’s perception of space.
Her pieces are also largely influenced by her childhood, drawing upon images from the 1970s and 1980s, and her work has been exhibited in galleries from New York to Beijing. This is her first presentation at Tate Modern.
Allyn and the other members will leave for London on May 11 in order to install the project by the opening date, and the entire event is “really exciting for the artist collective,” she explained.
Vox Populi, which was founded in 1988, is a high profile, competitive artist collective that has been supporting and challenging experimental work from artists for over 30 years. Recently the collective published “We’re Working On It,” a visual representation which includes the first written history of the collective and also celebrates its 21st year of programming.
To learn more about the festival and visiting information, visit tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions, and for more information about Vox Populi, visit voxpopuligallery.org.