A New Gallery in Old Loveland Continues to Break Boundaries Between Art, Technology, and Theater
UAP Gallery opened September 13th, 2023, on one of downtown Loveland, Colorado’s oldest streets. The inaugural show featured the wide-ranging, meme-based art of Brian Kane, and included a multi-media performance by Phillip Stern. The area on 4th Street is known for everything from the local art museum around the corner to restaurants, and tattoo parlors. The following experience on opening night exemplifies UAP Gallery and marks the artist/dealer’s continued concerns with technology, meme-based art, and human connection. Since its opening, the gallery has continued to bring unexpected, and boundary-crossing art to the area.
UAP Gallery, once a storefront on one of Loveland Colorado’s main roads, is celebrating its inaugural exhibition. At the opening, the Gallery is curated with art objects that range from wall-mounted digital displays and large cast sculptures to stone plaques — the kind you’d find at tchotchke shops with pithy phrases, but these objects are Kane’s brand of humor etched in stone.
Kane’s larger sculptures are cast at Loveland’s historic art foundries, which have collaborated with artists for at least a century — everything from Western bronzes to abstract sculptures installed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, to his translation of memes turned 3-D reality. I suggest to Kane that he’s bringing these worlds together — traditional casting and meme culture — a high-brow/low-brow fusion. He considers my words. “Whatever you want to call it, sure,” he says shrugging. “A phrase I like to use is ‘Suburban Surrealism’ “.
While the gallery does not feel suburban, it certainly does feel a little surreal on opening night. Kane sports a jacket of his own design. At first glance, the apparel appears printed with a painted landscape, but upon closer inspection, it reveals a robotic dog roaming the grounds. The printed “painting” on canvas, complete with a gilded frame, is also installed on a full-motion Television wall mount on the east side of the gallery. When I ask him about the jacket, Kane grins, “It’s the opposite of how we usually think about things. We step into another world when we watch a video or reel. We escape INTO a story by exiting our own. My work is the inverse. Instead of entering a fantasy realm, I’m pulling fantasy — digital objects — out of the digital realm and INTO our real lives.”
Kane’s humor and smarts are the throughlines in diverse media. A large print installed on the same wall as the robot dog landscape shows a wide open sky with “Top Text” and “Bottom Text” in the respective parts of the image. It turns out he commissioned a pilot to fly these two phrases in local air space to document and print them, committed to bringing his brain-tickling ideas to the world IRL (in real life).
As the inaugural party gets going, Kane and a small assisting cast of collaborators pull out a large bundle of what looks like the proverbial ‘Weather balloon” as per the official government story of UFO denial mythology. They unpack and unfold the shimmering parachute fabric on the gallery floor. The gallery lights have shifted in color now and the fog machine disperses the light in a low-hanging cloud of electric blue. Outside spectators congregate on the sidewalk, peeking in, their phones shooting video of the inflating silver mass in the gallery. Within fifteen minutes, the foil is inflated into a giant anvil, filling a large part of the gallery and leaving just enough room for people to look on a few feet away. The anvil is proportionally larger to most of the people in the room, compared with the one in which Wile E. Coyote, “Super Genius”, of Looney Toons fame, often meets his end. Kane’s play with proportion and expectation, serious art, and fun theater, illustrates the sensibility and artistic berth that UAP Gallery expects will bring people in the doors.
The performative part of Kane’s way of looking at art began long ago. The artist, along with a few other RISD pals had already had their hand in creating glitch-jittery video projects under the label EBN (Emergency Broadcast Network). In the early 90s, Kane, Gardner Post, and Joshua L. Pearson invented a new standard in the culture of AV remixing, video scratching, and audiovisual sampling techniques. In the process, Kane developed the first known VJ software called Vujak. The music and video sampling continue to inform Kane’s aesthetic. “And now, I want to push these ideas further and bring other artists into the gallery who play with unusual ways of looking at the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, I continue to watch people come in and surround the anvil, while smoke and indigo light spill out onto 4th Street, and performance artist, Phillip Stern, pumps out pulsing sound synchronized to the throbbing light. Kane was attentive to the crowd, directing the activities and enjoying the way people who might ordinarily feel intimidated by a gallery space, seem to feel drawn to it. Kane offers. “When I thought about starting the gallery, I thought, how cool it would be to have a real space where people can celebrate with art and performance, and gather in a physical social space for Art. I think we are all longing for that again”, he said.
In the months that followed this opening, Kane has hosted other artists and performers who push the melding of visual art and technology.
Brian Kane is an artist, designer, and a former RISD and MIT professor. Brian Kane’s legacy, pioneering music and video-sampling design, has influenced a generation of digital artists. His art is centered on bringing internet memes to 3-dimensional reality. UAP Gallery, a new venture for Kane, shows artists who cross disciplines and leading-edge art boundaries. Brian Kane is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Painting). He lives and works in Loveland, Colorado.
UAP Gallery is located at 115 East 4th Street, Loveland, CO,
Hours: Monday-Wednesday, closed, Thursday, 12-5 pm, Friday and Saturday, 12- 6 pm