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BMoCa returns to its roots with Substrate


Photo by Ascended Lens Visuals

Since the last days of January the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has been showcasing Substrate, an exhibition that has been challenging the structure of the museum and its visitor’s perception of how they interact with their environment. Substrate consists of seven site-based installations that reflect the roles of each artist while digging up memories of installations past.S

With each installation parts of the museum are painted, drilled, scratched, pushed and pulled to evoke emotion from guests.

“The artists really used the space as inspiration,” Nicole Dial-Kay, education coordinator, said. “One artist even used the creaky floorboards as a sound installation.”

For Chicago artist Cheryl Pope, she took the inspiration a step further and focused not only on the ground of the BMoCa, but the ground that lies beneath it. For days Pope methodically painted 14 x 8 black slabs of paper with black ink incorporating subtle prints on each. The outcome is the entirety of the museum floor remodeled.

“Each slab has a bit of gold trimming along the edges, giving it a very Bible-esque feel to it,” Dial-Kay said.

On each side of the print, Pope painted a quote. One well known quote from Chief Niwot, who many residents take as a lighthearted curse placed on the Boulder Valley stating “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”

Many take the quote as Colorado being so beautiful that they won’t want to leave, but they disregard the latter half his curse, which is the real curse. By staying here, we are destroying the beauty, even if most of BoCo is environmentally conscious.

On the opposite side of the exhibit, Pope pulled a quote from Chief Niwot’s descendent, and contemporary Arapaho woman, Ava Hamilton who repeated the plea for the protection of our planet.

Tomorrow, BMoCa is hosting the Hushed Stories event where Hamilton will speak about the often overlooked and silence stories from the Native peoples of Boulder County. The event starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 7:30 p.m.

To further drill in the mission behind her art, Pope is selling pieces of the black floor as an example of people willing to rip up pieces of a whole for their own gain.

Substrate was originally on display through April 5, but has since been extended.

“It’s definitely something people of Boulder should check out,” Dial-Kay said. “There are so many great artists’ work on display.”

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