ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presents Centering on the Grand, on view through August 20, 2006. Paul Ha, Director, wrote: What inspires an artist? A soup can? A ballerina? Water lilies? A starry night? The Contemporary is one of the newest residents who call Grand Center - St. Louis' Creative and Cultural District - its home. It gives me pleasure to present works by three artists who were inspired by the architecture and vibrancy that Grand Center provides. The Contemporary's mission is to support the artists of our time and to strengthen the cultural landscape - both locally and nationally. We are hard at work forging new relationships with other cultural institutions, the launch of Artlink - a multi-institutional membership program between the Contemporary, Laumeier Sculpture Park, and Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis - being a great example. We are also dedicated to building connections between local artists and their community. Our Great Rivers Biennial, the newly launched Flat Files Program, and our City-Wide Open Studios Program demonstrate that the Contemporary is diligent in our commitment to building our community. When Bill Kohn approached the Contemporary with the idea of having the exhibition Centering on the Grand we knew immediately that it was a perfect fit for us, and that we needed to do this show. As practicing artists, teachers, and radicals, Bill Kohn, Peter Marcus, and Robert Pettus have each played a significant role shaping the current cultural scene in St. Louis. I am proud to present work by these three artists - proof that in this case, inspiration comes from the place we call home.
The Contemporary is pleased to present Centering on the Grand, a group exhibition of work by Bill Kohn, Peter Marcus, and Robert Pettus that explores the urban Creative and Cultural District of St. Louis known as Grand Center. The exhibition is comprised of large-scale paintings, prints, and photographs that were inspired by historically significant buildings located in Grand Center such as the Fabulous Fox Theater, Continental Life Building, Masonic Temple, and the renowned Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. Bill Kohn has stated, "Grand Center as a landscape embodies forces of creativity, decay, restoration, preservation, learning and innovation, interacting over time in the heart of a metropolitan region, whose rich character is often overlooked by its own residents." Work in the exhibition will ask viewers to reevaluate their perceptions of the area and see it with new, enlightened eyes.
In recent years it has been the city's mission to redevelop Grand Center by supporting existing art and cultural organizations, as well as, encourage new institutions to emerge in the area. Grand Center boasts much celebrated architecture, such as the 1928 Art Deco Skyscraper, Continental Life Building, Coronado Hotel, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and the Masonic Temple. The Grand Center Bill Kohn described has several historical buildings that exemplify early twentieth-century architecture, and are now evidence of the constant changes the city has undergone throughout the last century. Artists included in Centering on the Grand realize the invaluable character the area has gained over the years. The Contemporary hopes to raise the visibility of Grand Center's significance on a local and national level, playing its part in furthering this very exciting urban redevelopment through the presentation of Bill Kohn, Peter Marcus, and Robert Pettus' timely work.