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The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis have joined together to create the Contemporary-Pulitzer blog which, for the first time, combines the perspectives of two separate institutions with differing missions within the same blog.

Offering alternating posts each day from the Pulitzer and Contemporary, the blog provides a candid look at the behind-the-scenes workings of both arts organizations.

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Open Studios STL

Open Studios STL June 22-23, 2013

Although Open Studios has now become an accepted tradition here at CAM, it is instructive to consider how singular and unique a phenomenon it is in the larger context of national and international contemporary art institutions. Museums are destinations, places where people come specifically to perform a ritual of interacting with meaningful objects and experiences that is simultaneously personal and public. As such, they are both generally accessible yet somewhat closed off, allowing for a sense of contemplation about the world in a space that feels closed off from it. The artist’s studio performs a similar function, offering the opportunity for private reflection and deliberation as well as production. Typically, the labors that take place in the studio are only seen in their completed form in the museum space. Open Studios, however, allows the audience a rare window into the artistic process, not only in terms of what an artist may be working on, but also a sense of the atmosphere within which the work is made. While a studio visit is a normal and everyday occurrence for a museum curator—providing a way to familiarize ourselves with a new artist’s work and working process or a site for discussion about a project we’re developing for the museum with an artist—it is a special privilege and form of access that this program affords to our public. There are no set rules per se, but one would generally be advised not to be shy about asking questions, to be respectful of being a guest in someone’s typically very personal space, and to visually absorb as much as possible. CAM is incredibly grateful to the St. Louis artist community for their annual partnership with the Open Studios program and we sincerely hope the experience is a thoughtful and enriching one for all involved.

By Dominic Molon, Chief Curator

About Open Studios STL
Now in its eighth year, Open Studios STL (formerly known as City-Wide Open Studios) features more than 170 St. Louis-based artists who open their studios and art spaces to the public over the course of one weekend. Studios and gallery spaces are open Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, 11:00 am–6:00 pm, with locations east of Grand Blvd. open on Saturday and locations west of Grand Blvd. open on Sunday. In addition, CAM is hosting a kick-off party at the Museum on Friday, June 21, organizing a variety of guided tours, and sharing information about artist-organized events taking place throughout the weekend.

Visit to search artists by neighborhood, medium, and more.


Has the World Changed or Have I Changed?

Jeremy Deller, Has the World Changed or Have I Changed?, 2000. Performance, Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany. Courtesy the artist. © Jeremy Deller

I first met Jeremy Deller at his studio in London in 2000. It was my last stop in the city en route to Heathrow and had been prefaced by two recent encounters with Jeremy’s work that heightened the anticipation of our meeting. As part of the Tate Britain show Intelligence, he’d presented his collaborative “Folk Archive” project with fellow artist Alan Kane which functions as an ongoing compendium of the art and cultural production of everyday contemporary Britons. I was blown away not only by the breadth and volume of the material, but also by his redefining the notion of what “folk art” could mean and represent—as something that could truly embody the creativity of a people rather than merely signifying a particular genre of art. The other was a more subtle and subdued work presented as part of the exhibition Protest and Survive at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, titled Has the World Changed or Have I Changed? (2000). I immediately recognized the phrase from the song “The Queen is Dead” by the legendary 1980s Manchester The Smiths. Both the song and the eponymously-titled album that it opens were a staple of my musical life as a Chicago-area teenager, yet I’d never really meditated on that lyric until prompted by Deller’s intervention. The work itself—represented as part of the larger installation Beyond the White Walls (2012) in CAM’s presentation of Jeremy Deller: Joy in People (opening February 1)—features documentation of a day that Deller spent with a circus clown in and around the German town of Hanover. The droll tragicomedy of the situation fit perfectly with the sense of world-weariness of the title phrase. While its appearance in the middle of The Smiths’ song is mitigated by the momentum of Johnny Marr’s urgent guitar, placed in this new context it becomes a somewhat maudlin reflection on growing old, on the passage of time, and one’s ability to truly feel in touch with the present moment. I suspect that both Marr’s guitar and a teenaged lack of life-perspective conspired to obscure the lyric for me in 1986, but since then I cannot help but reflect on the phrase when confronted with some new cultural phenomenon, the appeal of which I cannot fathom.

The forthcoming opening of Jeremy Deller’s survey exhibition at CAM has prompted me to ask the question “has the world changed or have I changed” once again from perhaps a more affirmative and optimistic perspective. The world HAS changed since The Smiths first posed that question to me, as have I—thanks, in part, to Jeremy’s work. As the exhibition demonstrates through a range of experiences—from a re-creation of Deller’s first show in his parent’s home to an exploration of the life and times of British glam-wrestler Adrian Street—there certainly is joy to be had in the things that people do, say, make, and sing—things that in large and small ways change the world and our relationship to it.

By Dominic Molon, Chief Curator


CAM is pleased to be participating in the inaugural EXPO CHICAGO art fair, September 20–23 (Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago). We will be presenting an interactive installation by Lauren Adams—who is currently exhibiting in the Front Room—at booth 520. On Friday, September 21 at 1:30pm, Dominic will be speaking on the Contemporary Curator’s Panel at the fair (more details below). If you’re in Chicago, please make sure to stop by and say hello!

EXPO CHICAGO/2012 features an outstanding selection of 100 international exhibitors as well as a limited number of young galleries in the Exposure section. Additional programming includes IN/SITU, a showcase of large-scale installations, site-specific and performative works by leading international artists situated throughout the fair, and /Dialogues, a daily series of panel discussions and conversations with leading artists, architects, curators, designers, and art professionals. Visit for more information.

We the People is an interactive installation in which artist Lauren Adams has painted slogans from recent Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party protests into reproduced Revolutionary War-era wallpaper. Visitors to CAM’s booth (520) can paint their own “protest” on a unique ceramic plate to be displayed during the fair. A custom-designed tea towel both advertises the project and will be exchanged with visitors in return for their contributions. The project complements Adams’ presentation in CAM’s Front Room, on view through October 14.

Friday, September 21, 1:30 pm Contemporary Curator's Panel features Michael Darling (Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), Lisa Dorin (Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, The Art Institute of Chicago), and Dominic Molon (Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis). Moderated by Paul Laster (Editor, Artkrush).

GOOD Ideas for Cities / Challenges 3 and 4

Check out the next two challenges:

3. Have an animated conversation with a young transplant or multi-generational loyalist and you will understand the passion people here have for St. Louis. But, too often, the message falls back on empty boosterism. Whatever the cause, we must understand it, admit it and fix it. How do we deepen the pool of diverse people who love St. Louis and are personally invested in its progress?

Jeff RainfordOffice of the Mayor Francis Slay and Hank Webber,Washington University

Brain Drain: Matt Strom, Tara Pham, Logan Alexander, Noah MacMillan, Zoë Scharf, Amanda Yates, Andrew Warshauer, Kuan Butts, Danielle Wallis, Christine Stavridis, Bennett Gale

4. Located in the heartland, St. Louis has unique resources that could allow it to become a leader in urban agriculture. Yet most of the food consumed in the region is produced hundreds or thousands of miles away, and many urban areas of St. Louis have limited access to fresh food. How can St. Louis use our resources and stakeholders to increase accessibility of healthy, locally grown food?

Craig HellerFood WorksFrank FinneganSt. Louis Area Foodbank; Mike SorthGateway GreeningEric SchneiderRCGA

STL Provocateur: Rhonda Smythe, Jeanette Reynolds, Stephanie Co, Nat Zorach, Andrew Flachs, Anne McCullough

GOOD Ideas for Cities
Thursday, March 8

Doors: 6:00 p.m.
Program: 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required. Invite your friends to the Facebook event. Cash bar. Pi On The Spot will be selling personal pizzas outside of CAM.

GOOD Ideas for Cities is hosted by GOOD, CEOs for Cities, HOK, and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and supported by ArtPlace. Special thanks to our partners: AIGA St. Louis; ALIVE Magazine; Amber Murphy, nextSTL; Nine Network; St. Louis Regional Arts Commission; UrbanReviewSTL.

GOOD Ideas for Cities / Challenges 1 and 2


This Thursday, March 8 we will be hosting GOOD Ideas for Cities, an event that taps creative problem-solvers to tackle real urban challenges and present their solutions. Last year, we issued a call for creatives in St. Louis, and chose seven teams to represent the city. Each team was issued a challenge proposed by local urban leaders. At the event, the creative teams will present their solutions to their assigned challenge, and the urban leaders will join them onstage for a brief Q&A.  Afterwards, join us for drinks and more conversation as we discuss how to make these ideas a reality for St. Louis.

For the next few days we will be introducing you to a couple challenges a day so you can get acquainted with what will be presented this Thursday.

Check out the first two challenges:

1. We have a world-class light rail system in St. Louis. However, we have not seen a major effort to leverage the system as a catalyst for building more livable communities in the St. Louis region How might we increase ridership on St. Louis’ light rail to help demonstrate to the city the important opportunities around transit?

Kim Cella, Citizens for Modern Transit and Rhonda K. Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

STL Alley Lovers: Christopher Galli, Andy Heaslet, Derek Hoeferlin, Monika Jankowiak, Jenny Murphy, Jonathan Stitelman

2. Historically, St. Louis neighborhoods have been racially and economically segregated. The effects of these historic policies, and some current policies, allow the City of St. Louis to remain segregated in these ways: Throughout the city there are streets and public spaces that serve as dividing lines. How can we design the borders between our communities to act as bridges between our neighborhoods?

Vince Schoemehl, Grand Center and Jennifer Allen, Trailnet

Arch City Revival: Katy Mike Smaistrla, Emily Hemeyer, Joyce Gorrell, Amy Lampe, Sarah Paulsen, David Burnett, Michael Allen, Kara Clark Holland

GOOD Ideas for Cities
Thursday, March 8
6:00 p.m.
Program: 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.  Invite your friends to the Facebook event.  Cash bar.  Pi On The Spot will be selling personal pizzas outside of CAM.

GOOD Ideas for Cities is hosted by GOOD, CEOs for CitiesHOK, and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and supported by ArtPlace.  Special thanks to our partners: AIGA St. LouisALIVE Magazine; Amber Murphy, nextSTLNine NetworkSt. Louis Regional Arts CommissionUrbanReviewSTL.

“Secret show” to be played in CAM’s Courtyard at the Annual Concerts in the Courtyard


Tomorrow, Thursday, June 16, the CAM and the St. Louis Secret Sound Society will host a “secret show” at the Annual Concerts in the Courtyard. You won’t know who’s playing until you get here, but trust us – this lineup is worth the wait!

The St. Louis Complaint Choir – the final installment of a Winter 2011 Front Room exhibition – opens the show at 7:00 pm with their music compilation of over 100 complaints submitted by local St. Louisans. The concert kicks off the weekend-long St. Louis Arts Project Conference – a national arts and music conference held at select local venues.  For more information visit

Concerts in the Courtyard is presented in partnership with the St. Louis Secret Sound Society, Yelp, KDHX, and Eleven Music Magazine.

WHAT: Annual Concerts in the Courtyard
WHERE: CAM / 3750 Washington Boulevard / St. Louis, MO / 63108
WHEN: Thursday, June 16 / 6:00 – 11:00 pm.
Free admission and cash bar.

Like a bit of culture with your drinks?

Here at CAM, we know that for some people good wine and art go hand in hand. This Thursday, we’ve got an event that stays true to that sentiment, and we hope you can join!

This Thursday CAM is hosting CAM Nights / Pinot & Picasso from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Stop by and sit down at an easel with a glass of your favorite vino and enjoy an evening of wine-tasting and live model drawing. For those who can’t draw, or who don’t know anything about wine, we’ll have artists and local wine expert Jayce McQuerter – Director of Wine at Robust – on hand to offer pointers!


Mark your calendar for the third Thursday of each month for CAM nights, a free and ever-changing series of after-hours exhibitions, entertainment, live music, and drinks. Start the weekend early and enjoy a fun night out with colleagues or friends!

Here’s what you can look forward to at future CAM Nights:

CAM Nights / Feast Your Eyes
March 17 / 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required. Cash bar.
Enjoy a delicious night of Indian and Southern cuisine and music inspired by the cultural backgrounds of our exhibiting artists. Watch chefs prepare tastings right in front of you and listen as they talk about their styles of cuisine, methods of cooking, and concept behind the featured dish being served! During the feast, enjoy hand-crafted Belgian beer selected by local beer expert and brewer, and enjoy an entertaining live musical performance. Presented in partnership with Feast Magazine and Yelp!

CAM Nights / Pecha Kucha / Cultural Chit Chat
April 21 / 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required. Cash bar.
Join us for a drink and a lively public dialogue about what makes St. Louis great: the personalities, the creative thinkers, the musicians, the urban fabric, the rich cultural heritage, and entrepreneurs’ right in our midst. Meet, network, and listen to quick presentations from a wide range of creative professionals in the quick-moving Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) format.

Wine for CAM Nights / Pinot & Picasso donated by: Appellations, Trademark Wines, Classique Wines, A. Bommarito Wines, Garco Wine Company, Major Brands, Missouri Beverage, and Golden Barrel.

Scan Me!


Do you know what a QR Code is? QR stands for Quick Response. The two-dimensional code was developed by Denso Wave Corporation in 1994. QR Code contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a traditional bar code contains data in one direction only. QR Code holds a considerably greater volume of information than a bar code. As a result, companies, museums, and individuals have embraced the technology and have used the QR Code for a variety of applications ranging from gallery labels to grave stones. With a simple QR Code Reader and Scanner App that can be downloaded for FREE on your mobile smart phone, a user can take a picture via their camera on the phone while in the App, and the application will scan the data within the QR Code and directly link the phone to the embedded content.

This past weekend, I presented on this innovative technology at the Association of Midwest Museums 2010 Annual Conference: Museums Making Connections in Cleveland, Ohio. With the evolution of Web 2.0 and the rise of smart phones, today’s museum visitors seek more multimedia content that they are able to access, share, and save on their mobile devices. On the flip side, museums are frantically searching for a way to connect to a constantly connected audience. One challenge is getting over the learning curve of in-house technologies used for digital tours (i.e., iPods, iPads, and other digital players). But if the content can be accessed straight from the users personal smart phone, then there is no learning curve – they must only understand the mysteries of the QR Code – quickly gaining popularity in the United States. If you were to talk with a native from Japan about QR Code, it would be like talking about the intuitive action of walking. Over 75% of people in Japan either know or have used QR Codes in their daily life. The QR Codes exist on newspapers, billboards, tattoos, and even wedding rings.

Look out for QR Codes soon in the galleries and throughout the museum. You may even start to see them in our advertisements in local media publications. Still confused? Curious? Use this simple guide to get started.

Third Thursdays


Our Third Thursday program series kicked off with a short talk by Jennifer Gross, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery – and curator of the upcoming Richard Artschwager retrospective. The talk was followed by performances by 3 local noise musicians, Eric Hall, Bradley Schumacher, and Charlie Turner.  Each artist approached  noise differently and the unique sounds ranged from harmonious chimes to randomly produced electronic signals. The non-traditional instruments existed as circuit benders, distortion pedals, custom computer software, and a variety of microphones that hissed and buzzed with live static. The experience was one of a kind and the complexity of the sounds was undeniably original.

For those not familiar with noise music, musician and organizer Bradley Schumacher is planning an entire series of noise concerts at select venues throughout the next couple of months.  The performance at the Contemporary was the debut concert in the series – so if you see  flyers floating around St. Louis about the next show make sure to check out these highly experimental concerts. The next Third Thursday occurs on October 21 at 6pm. Join neuro-psychiatrist Abhilash Desai and Associate Curator Laura Fried for a lively conversation about art, perception, and the human experience. Afterwards enjoy a special performance by experimental audio visual musician Christopher Willits. Click here to listen to a sample of his recordings. All Third Thursday programs are free and open to the public.

Open Studios Recap

If you missed Open Studios this year, don’t worry, there is always next year. A previous blog post already mentioned the Preview Party which had a record breaking 720 people in attendance. Special thanks goes to the River City Professionals for co-hosting the program, helping to promote the event, and bringing all of their members to party. In addition to the 150+ Open Studios artworks on display in the galleries, Pi on the Spot, also known as PiTruckSTL on Twitter was parked outside the building serving up fresh pizzas straight from truck’s oven. As a local phenomenon, Pi has been embraced by the St. Louis community and even Chicago based Senator, turned president Barack Obama has endorsed the iconic deep dish pizza with his seal of approval. Just recently, chefs of Pi were flown to the White House to caterer an event especially for the president. Alongside the Pi Truck, a Frosty Treats ice cream truck was also parked outside for those looking to fill their sweet tooth on a hot summer’s evening.




As an added bonus to the Preview Party, guests were encouraged to enter a bike raffle to win a Electra Pink Hawaii Cruiser donated by Big Shark Bicycle Company. Ramona Scott was the winner and stopped by the museum the next day to pick up her prize and even rode it home.


With temperatures reaching over 99 degrees, that still did not stop the devoted cyclists from riding over 14 miles and stopping at a variety of studios along the way. Led by Greg and Alex from Bike Shark Bicycle Company, the bike tour departed the Contemporary on both Saturday and Sunday at 10am. Special thanks also goes to Bike St. Louis, a division of Great Rivers Greenway for endorsing the program and helping to make bike riding in St. Louis safe and accessible.



Later that day, Director Paul Ha and Associate Curator Laura Fried introduced themselves at the museum to over 30 people that registered for a 4 hour bus tour to select studios. As visitors boarded the luxurious air-conditioned bus provided by BEST Transportation St. Louis, “Pops” the driver greeted them and drove them all over the city to studios chosen directly by both the director and the curator.



On Sunday, winners from our Facebook competition joined Joe and Jeff from Glide St. Louis Tours for a segway excursion to select artist studios. Director of Individual Giving & Stewardship Emily Klimek acted as the Contemporary representative on the tour. If you applied to win a spot on the segway tour, do not give up, become a Fan of the Contemporary on Facebook now and look out for the next opportunity on this platform. Those that won the Facebook competition also received a free meal ticket to the Open Studios BBQ.


What better way to end a whole weekend of programs and tours plus a Homegrown Summer for that matter then to enjoy barbeque from Pappy’s Smokehouse and ice cold beer from Schafly. The watermelon was sweet and chilled to perfection, but the pulled pork sandwich was definitely the crowd favorite. Normally, you would have to wait hours to get a taste of Pappy’s perfectly cooked BBQ, but at the Contemporary it was all there for the taking for only $10 a meal. In addition to the BBQ, sides, and beer, Ted Drewes frozen custard was offered as an additional summertime treat.


What could be more “Homegrown” than Ted Drewes, Pappy’s, Schlafly, 150+ local artists, and the Great Rivers Biennial exhibition? Well, you asked for it… the Rum Drum Ramblers, with upright bass, harmonica, and banjo guitars rocked the courtyard with down and dirty St. Louis blues. The summer might not be over, but this year’s Open Studios was the climax of the Contemporary’s Homegrown Summer, a series of programs featuring local art, food, and music.


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St. Louis, MO 63108
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