Get a Taste of Contemporary Art and Wine at MOCA Talks

March 19, 2012

By Teya Vitu

Contemporary art is contemporary life. Many cities, like Tucson, may have a Museum of Contemporary Art, but contemporary art itself is integral to life all around us.

Cutting to the chase: it’s about wine, cheese, after work spirited conversation and an hour with Univesity of Arizona art professor Paul Ivey.

Ivey is in his third year of conducting the Art Now! lecture series at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 South Church Avenue.

Right now, “Art Now! Contemporary Art & Culture Since 1980” is in its spring run on most Wednesday evenings through April 25 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

MOCA Executive Director Anne-Marie Russell strives to make these contemporary art chats as audience-friendly as humanly possible. Thus the odd time and even brevity of each event.

“It’s the perfect post-work, pre-dinner… at a Downtown restaurant,” Russell said. “The best thing about Art Now! is the wine, beer and cheese” that comes with the $10 admission for MOCA members and $15 for non-members. “It’s artistry with a twist, a lemon twist.”

The remaining spring schedule is as such:

March 21: Photography is the New Painting

March 28: The Art Market Goes Retail

April 4: Barbarians at the Gate: Institutional Intervention and Critique

April 11: Festivalism and the Rise of the Art Fair

April 25: Unmonumental: New Sculpture

Art Now! will have summer and fall talks but they have not been set yet.

“These lectures are the caliber that would occur in any major city and here they happen in Tucson at MOCA every week,” MOCA President Randi Dorman said. “I had a friend tell me: ‘If I were in Boston, I’d have to make a reservation, plan ahead and pay $50.’”

Don’t worry, Dorman also veers right to the wine and cheese.

“For me, it’s an incredible opportunity each week to come to MOCA, have a sip of wine, sit for a while and learn the most interesting things about how art influences culture,” Dorman said.

Ivey wants to shatter the prevalent notion that art is intimidating for the public at large.

“There is a sense that art is only relevant to a very special crowd,” Ivey said. “It’s relevant to anyone. Contemporary art doesn’t just sit on its ass in a gallery.”

Ivey does adjust his university delivery to be more amenable to the general public and, especially, people who have no experience with art but are willing to give it a try.

“It’s much more of a lively debate of the relevance of art instead of pontification,” Ivey said.

His talks last about 40 minutes. Interrupting with a question is welcomed. The rest of the hour shifts to questions, discussions, debates, whatever the subject matter that day triggers.

“Paul has an incredible depth of knowledge about art and culture,” Dorman said. “The language he uses to describe it is almost like poetry. He makes everything sound so interesting. You never know where the hell he’s going to go with a thought.”

A few Ivey thoughts about the upcoming talks:

Photography: “I’m going to be discussing how large-scale photography has become as important as early paintings were.”

Barbarians: “That’s looking at the rise of British art and art markets based on the individuals.”

Festivalism: “The art market has given rise to these massive fairs. Its like the Academy Awards. A lot of it’s all about money and which party you’re invited to.”

 
Art Now! Contemporary Art & Cultures Since 1980

Wednesdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Members $10, Non-members $15, includes wine, snacks, great company and inspired discussion

March 21: Photography is the New Painting

March 28: The Art Market Goes Retail

April 4: Barbarians at the Gate: Institutional Intervention and Critique

April 11: Festivalism and the Rise of the Art Fair

April 25: Unmonumental: New Sculpture

MOCA is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest