Critical Mass for the Visual Arts is a nonprofit, self-formed visual arts collaborative dedicated to promoting, enhancing and initiating contemporary visual art in the St. Louis region.
Much of the most important art in St. Louis is marked by a keen sense of site-specificity—attending explicitly to the social conditions that define the city and the region, engaging with the particulars of its neighborhoods and communities. The first half of the decade was arguably defined by celebrated placemaking projects and critical art-activism interventions. This summer saw a number of announcements about ambitious cultural initiatives on the horizon—the Chouteau Greenway, a new affordable artist housing initiative in Gravois Park, and the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge grant that St. Louis is a finalist for—all of which promise to use art to re-imagine and even re-shape the urban fabric. In this moment, with St. Louis poised between two intensive waves of site-specific art projects, this roundtable offers a space to consider site-specific art practice. How has work that engages the city shifted in the past decade, and why? What work is happening right now and what spaces of opportunity are emerging? How do local artists want to engage with the major projects that are coming and what independent paths are open? Artist and curator Gavin Kroeber will provide introductory comments and facilitate a roundtable discussion. This event coincides with G-CADD’s opening of Exhibition #18. Critical Mass for the Visual Arts thanks G-CADD for collaborating, and donating concurrent use of the space for our event.
Join us as we interview Margaret Keller, winner of this year’s Public Works Project. Margaret chats with us about her impressive career, new projects, philosophies, and her interest in the intersection of the living world and human invention. Margaret Keller works in related series in various media, including installation, drawing, digital prints, painting and silkscreen, as she examines the relationships between nature, contemporary culture and technology. She has a degree in drawing from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in painting and printmaking. She studied the history of garden design at London University and also did post-graduate studies at Webster University in electronic media and was a visiting artist at the University of Arizona. In 2002 and 2003, Keller was a Visiting Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis and also taught the Summer Program in Florence, Italy, which included the Venice Biennale. As Professor of Art at St. Louis Community College – Meramec and gallery co-director of the Meramec Gallery of Contemporary Art in St. Louis, she curated Everywhere and Elsewhere, showing regional and NYC painters in October 2015 and January 2016. Regarding Nature, Disseminate and 3 x 3 are among approximately fifty exhibitions she has curated at the gallery.Exhibits include Quadratfuß-NX2-Annex Art /Berlin, Cedarhurst Museum, The Arkansas Art Center Museum, The Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago, The Maryland Federation of Art Gallery in Annapolis, The Crisp Museum at Southeast Missouri State University, The Wichita Art Museum, The Neville Museum in Green Bay, The Tweed Museum in Duluth, The Riverside Museum and The Brea Cultural Center in California, The Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts, and The Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio, among others. Upcoming in 2019, Keller will exhibit at The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center Museum, Illinois. Margaret is the winner of the 2018 Public Works Project with her work Riverbend, which opened September 22 at the Gateway Arch in Ely Luther Smith Square.
Margaret Keller’s artwork Riverbend opens Saturday, September 22, from 2-5pm at the Gateway Arch. The silver, mirror-like, 105 foot-long representation of the navigable Missouri River as the Gateway to the West, references the Arch and activates the space. Opening events include a hands-on activity for all, The Sappington Creek Bluegrass Band, and food trucks. Rain date is Sunday, September 30, 2-5pm. RSVP to the opening here.
Check out Rikki Byrd of Alive Magazine’s a feature on our latest Public Works Project recipient Margaret Keller and her Riverbend installation. Riverbend will open in September on Ely Smith Square.