Last week Red Bull Curates: Canvas Cooler Project returned to Los Angeles with Greg Auerbach and Ashley Sumner announced as our city’s representatives. The duo will represent Los Angeles at SCOPE Miami during this year’s Art Basel Week via Red Bull Curates: The Canvas Cooler Project. Twenty artists participated painting the canvas wrapped Red Bull cooler which will be displayed in businesses, bars and nightclubs throughout the city, including Filter Magazine, KCRW, Pattern Bar, Los Globos, and Regent Theater to name a few. Next on the Red Bull Curates tour, Portland, followed by Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Orlando, Houston and Philadelphia. The Red Bull Curates Canvas Cooler Project, now in its fourth year, is organized by San Francisco-based Arts Fund.
The Los Angeles judges–Andrea Aberegg, Director of Major Donor Events at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; designer and HGTV star David Bromstad; Alex Slato who currently serves on the Board of Directors for the downtown Los Angeles-based non-profit LA Art Core; gallery owner Dina Brown of Gallery Brown, and Cartwheel Art founder Cindy Schwarzstein– all had high praise for the professionalism of the team running the event and the quality of the artists’ work. During the judging, they looked for specific things–not only great art, but how the artists managed the unique object with which they were working, the future of the cooler, and much more.
Alex Slato was very detailed his approach:
The challenge for the artist was to embrace a well designed functional working electric cooler and make it the canvas to create a work of art, something that already has a distinct identity has to be re-visualized to have another life of its own all together. This is not an easy task for any level of artistic skills and experience. So one of the things that I looked for was to see if the artist incorporated every side of the cooler including the back, where the cable and connections are installed. Of course, there were many other things I was looking for, like quality of work, execution, how unique the work was and last but not least, if the intent of the requirements were fulfilled.
David Bromstad, who recently designed a playful, colorful line of shoes for Naturalizer, focused on the art and its impact:
First and foremost I know these pieces are going to be in clubs and other public social spaces, so I was looking for designs that would stand out in such a crazy intense atmosphere. Secondly I was looking for originality and something f-/:ing sexy! Thirdly, color and contrast play a huge part of noticing something in a wild light and intoxicating experience.
Cindy Schwarzstein was looking beyond the art:
I saw this as an opportunity for Los Angeles to be represented at SCOPE, so I looked at what is representative of the L.A. contemporary street art scene right now. And since I have attended the SCOPE art fair numerous times, I was looking for works that I felt were going to resonate with that collector base. Also I was looking at how the artists were presenting themselves, as that would be a reflection on the organizers and Red Bull. There were many aspects that I considered in choosing the winning pieces for this competition. They included taking into consideration not only the coolers with the quality of their work and how the artist executed the challenge of painting a cooler as their canvas and also how it looked as a public art piece for the participating venues. I looked at the work that was shown of theirs as well. I felt this was important as the artists will be provided the opportunity to sell their work at SCOPE.
Andrea Aberegg felt the same way, explaining:
In making my selection, I was looking for both work I felt was unique and innovative, but also mature enough to be displayed at the SCOPE art fair. SCOPE provides a extraordinary moment for artists to showcase their work in front of press and a serious collector base, and I was looking for an artists who I felt could maximize that opportunity and also represent the LA art scene.
For judge Dina Brown of Gallery Brown which represents Gregory Siff said:
While I did consider quality and technical skill, I was more moved by works that were autobiographical and authentic. I was looking for a person’s visual voice I hadn’t heard before. Someone who I could see the potential for continuing ideas and growth. Red Bull Curates is a fantastic platform and opportunity for artists. Gregory Siff went to SCOPE in 2012 and is one of the artists I currently represent. Red Bull was an integral part of his career moving forward, and now his work is becoming internationally known.
The evening was huge success, drawing a large art crowd from all over the Southland. As Alex Slato, who loved the vibe at the historic Mack Sennett Studios, emailed us:
It was great to be able to meet with not just participating artists, but the event was full of great artists from the greater LA area as well as past Red Bull Curates winners. The room was crowded and it was full of collectors, artists, art dealers, aficionados and art scouts.
With an audience like that and further exposure in public locations, Red Bull Curates provides artists with the opportunity to be appreciated and “discovered” on a larger scale. And because of its parameters, the Canvas Cooler Project gives artists a unique challenge. Los Angeles host committee member Holly Harrison, Curatorial Assistant in the Contemporary Art Department at LACMA, gave us her thoughts on the Red Bull Curates:
It’s an incredibly creative, inventive idea–to take this sort of mundane, everyday object like a cooler and transform it in to something that would make someone walking by stop and take notice. Artists and their ability to arrest our vision and change the way we think/feel about something that we would otherwise never give a second thought to need to be celebrated in a very public way and the Red Bull Canvas Cooler project does this.
Host committee member Marsea Goldberg of New Image Art Gallery adds:
I like the fact that young artists are receiving an opportunity to show what they can do in the context of a commercial and artistic project. And it is fantastic opportunity for the winners to exhibit at Scope Miami. Anything can happen!
Daria Brit Greene from SCOPE, the largest and most global art fair in the world, where Red Bull Curates: Canvas Cooler Project presents the Red Bull Curates representatives from the U.S., explains SCOPE’s involvement:
SCOPE is thrilled to partner with Red Bull for a third year to present The Red Bull Curates: Canvas Cooler Project at SCOPE Miami Beach 2014. A perennial favorite at SCOPE shows, Red Bull’s presentation of The Canvas Cooler Project is a remarkable opportunity for little-known artists to reach a massive global audience and parlay their experiences into lasting careers. Several alumni of the project have gone on to critical acclaim and SCOPE is very excited to have participated in this effort as a judge. Our core mission is to promote emerging work and Red Bull’s Canvas Cooler Project has proved itself as the ideal forum for such a goal.
Host committee member Jonathan Reiss, whose films Bomb It! and Bomb It! 2 document international street art scene had this to say:
With the total overwhelming supply or art and media overload in our culture, it’s amazing to have curators who seek to spotlight artists to get them to the next level. Canvas Cooler is showing their multi-year commitment to emerging artists and that is to be commended.
While representatives from each city in the Red Bull Curates: Canvas Cooler Project go to SCOPE, Red Bull’s commitment to all the Canvas Cooler participants doesn’t end. Red Bull and The Art, the organizers of Canvas Cooler, provide other opportunities for participating artists, including securing commissions to paint hotels, participate in murals at sporting events, and other art related projects.
Spencer “MAR” Guilburt, a Red Bull Curates artist says:
The Redbull Curates program opened a world of opportunities for me. Red Bull and Arts Fund put on great events and curate some of the best art. They are both very influential and they use their power to support the arts. They are wonderful new avenue to expose and promote up and coming artists in each community. I’m forever grateful to have them in my corner.
Past participant Thank You X comments:
The Red Bull Curates program exposed me to people that would have never seen my art. Not only do Red Bull and Arts Fund put on a great event, they continue to support my career in many ways. It’s basically a showcase for up and coming artists in the community.
Bill Franchley, General Partner, Arts Fund summed up the feeling of everyone who participated:
It’s rewarding to be part of the Red Bull Curates: Canvas Cooler platform as it continues to elevate the careers of artists across the nation, highlighting their creations to entirely new audiences.
Judges Alex Slato, Andrea Aberegg, David Bromstad, Dina Brown, Cindy Schwarzstein
Judge David Bromstad checks out the artwork
Robert St1cky Shaw