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Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art challenges expectations

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art challenges expectations

Written by in Features, News on Sep 2, 2011 0:10 / comments

A 2007 Boulder city poll showed that Boulder is concerned it’s becoming an elitist community.

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is addressing this concern in the art exhibit Biodome: An Experiment in Diversity. Artists Laleh Mehran, Chris Coleman, Gustavo Artigas and Seth Wulsin combined forces to create the three-part exhibit featuring interactive, multimedia and physical artwork.

Wulsin’s ‘Wishing Well’ at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. (CU Independent/Mahala Proch)

Biodome is an exhibit designed to promote diversity in Boulder. Over 200 people have filled the museum during the farmer’s market.

Bianca Betta, an 18-year-old freshman international affairs major, visited the exhibit with the Communications Residential Academic Program in her residence hall, Buckingham Hall.

“It wasn’t what I expected, it wasn’t what I expect of art,” Betta said.

Artigas turned the project into a community wide sporting event. His part of the exhibit is called “Relay (Endless).” Participants carry a baton through a circuit track inside the museum or take it outside of the museum. The baton can be kept overnight, but has to be returned by 11 a.m. the next morning. Participants answer a diversity questionnaire after they have the baton. Artigas created the relay as a metaphor of collective effort.

“Let’s run together, not from each other,” Artigas said.

Mehran and Coleman took a technologic approach to diversity in the “W3fi” section of the exhibit. “W3fi” features different effects of technology on individuals.

Dmitri Obergtell, the visitor services representative of the museum, said the technology aspect could be a double-edged sword or an open platform for people.

“Technology connects everyone to each other regardless of where they are,” Obergtell said.

Jordan Robbins, the manager of museum marketing, said he didn’t anticipate the outcome of Biodome. The artists had never collaborated for an exhibit before.

“Technology and diversity are something people haven’t thought about. The social responsibility about technology can be positive,” Robbins said.

Wulsin’s section of the exhibit, named “Wishing Well,” consists of two spheres made from twenty identical mirror triangles. Wulsin’s piece invites viewers to consider differences rather than aspects that can be measured by statistics.

Kathryn Longnecker, a 19-year-old sophomore advertising major, toured the exhibit during Wednesday’s farmer’s market.

“I don’t feel like it promoted diversity as much as it analyzed what was already going on,” Longnecker said. “There’s a lot of money in Boulder, with expensive homes and college students. I don’t think of it as elitist though. I picture Boulder as being diverse and welcoming with the mindset of people here.”

The Biodome exhibit ends Sept. 11. The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is free to the public from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesdays and every Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Contact CU Independent Writer Mahala Proch at

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