Republic Plaza brings local artist Rian Kerrane to downtown Denver on Sept. 19 in an innovative exhibition of two art installations – Defining Milieu in the lobby gallery of Republic Plaza and The Oscar Wallpaper, a three-dimensional mural on the wall of the alley off Court Place between 16th and 17th Streets. The 3D mural opening launches the second installment of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Alleyways Project.
The interior show, Defining Milieu, will be on display in the office building’s lobby Sept. 26 through Nov. 8 in order to participate in Denver Arts Week.
“Brookfield Properties has a long history of bringing our spaces to life by curating free art programming. Additionally, as long-time members of the Downtown Denver Partnership we are committed to enriching the downtown experience and are thrilled to brighten the south end of the 16th Street Mall with both this incredible 3D mural as well as Rian Kerrane’s art inside the building lobby,” says David Sternberg, Executive Vice President at Brookfield Property Partners.
Denver-based and Irish-born artist Rian Kerrane found inspiration in Oscar Wilde, William Morris, and Leadville, Colorado for The Oscar Wallpaper. Kerrane taps Wilde as inspiration for Defining Milieu as well, featuring memorable and satirical Oscar Wilde epigrams alongside every day household items as a penetrating critique of human nature.
The Oscar Wallpaper, as part of the Downtown Denver Alleyways Project, is produced and maintained by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID), an arm of the Downtown Denver Partnership. The installation will be completed for Doors Open Denver 2019 which runs Sept. 21 and 22. The remaining alleyway art installations will occur through November 2019 in various locations in downtown Denver.
“We want to celebrate Downtown Denver as an international center while highlighting the connections our local artists have to the greater global community. This art project redefines how people engage with alleys and creates a sense of place rooted in Downtown Denver that reaches beyond geography,” says Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
This year’s alleyway art project primarily focuses on upper downtown locations with an international reach. Kerrane’s will be the first of five site-specific art installations, all by local, female artists including Sabin Aell, Lares Feliciano, Marsha Mack, and Chinn Wang, to be installed this fall.
“We’re aiming to give artists new opportunities to scale up their work,” says 2019 Alleyways art curator Castle Searcy. “For most of these artists, this project is their first foray into public art,” adds co-curator Deanne Gertner.
The Oscar Wallpaper outside of Republic Plaza combines the late 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement aesthetic and William Morris’s botanical wallpaper patterns with Oscar Wilde’s 1882 visit to Leadville as part of his lecture tour on aesthetic theory for the home and fashion, which was heavily influenced by Morris. While in Leadville, Wilde appeared at the Tabor Opera House and Silver Dollar Saloon. He eventually won over the miners with his hard drinking and witty repartee, becoming so popular that the town named a new lode of silver at the Matchless Mine after him. The installation explores ideas of domestic reconstructions and artificial simulations of nature, the weight of time and history, and the ways in which the local and global intersect.
Inside the lobby at Republic Plaza, the symbolic icons in Defining Milieu – the ironing board, bathroom rug and the shipping pallet – remind us of our consumerism and labors in the homeplace. The cast iron brands and rolls of paper are an alphabet, literally indicative of our dialog, ideation, exchange of knowledge, and our voice. The Oscar Wilde quotes featured in this exhibition remain relevant to our social constructs. The epigrams, while memorable and satirical, are a penetrating critique of human nature that retains the ability to define our culture. Kerrane, like Wilde, explores how aesthetic details shed light on larger social themes.