Friday, December 10, 2010

Anderson Ranch Arts Center presents: FOSSILS FOUND AT THE RANCH, December 13-15, 2010

Anderson Ranch Arts Center presents:
December 13-15, 2010

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, COFOSSILS FOUND AT THE RANCH is an Anderson Ranch fall resident artists and staff exhibition inspired by the recent Snowmass Village fossil discovery, curated by resident artist J. Morrison.  The exhibition features “modern fossils” as art objects presented as an interactive, display site to be handled by the public.

The exhibition will be on view in the Painting Studio Project Space, December 13, 4-6pm and during the Anderson Ranch Holiday Open House on December 14, 4-6:30 pmfree and open to the public. The exhibition will close December 15.

Exhibition Overview by J. Morrison

My recent visit to the fossil site in Snowmass Village left me contemplating modern conventions of archiving and presenting artworks. During the day of my visit, 2,600 visitors had already waited approximately an hour to get into the local town Conference Center, to view one table of about 7 small fossils. It was amazing to ponder the actuality that the bones are no less than 43,000 years old. However, despite this remarkable historic discovery, they were treated with less professionalism and care than a children's science fair. For instance, the bones were sitting on several unevenly conjoined office tables, displayed haphazardly on a piece of ripped foam that barely covered the table, and laid out in plain view without any archival protection whatsoever. In addition, camera flashes were constantly going off, people were touching them despite the "do not touch” sign, and "attendants" around the age of high school students were randomly spraying the bones with water to supposedly preserve them amongst the chaos of people trying to enter.

As I concluded my visit, I thought about the similarities between how we preserve our prehistoric history, and the methods that artists care for their artwork in the present. My feelings of bewilderment turned to my own practice—I often handle my work with dirty hands, store it without proper protection, and even create it without archival materials. As the current verbose debate continues of how to preserve and store the fossils, I wanted to ask my fellow Anderson Ranch colleagues and community, "How do you feel about the current state of preservation and archival care within your own practice? Do you treat your work any better than a found mastodon bone?"

Inspired by the Snowmass Village fossil discovery, I am pleased to present an exhibition modeled as an excavation site. I visited all of the Anderson Ranch residents and artistic staff’s studios and collected what they considered to be a "modern fossil" of their work. Thus, the presentation of these artworks mimics that of the fossil site—the work is displayed as a collection of objects, placed on tables in a tent for the viewers to walk around and engage with, and the signage and placards further this concept of discovery. As the residents will be present for the opening and then will leave shortly after, the conceptual idea is to leave something behind—like a fossil left for future generations to enjoy.

Participating Artists

Tyler Adams
Tom Alward
Alex Blau
Doug Casebeer
Jessica Cerise
Paul Collins
Lisa Conway
Emily Fannon
Elizabeth Ferrill
Carey Hill Smith
Joe Kievitt
Lawrence LaBianca
Alice Leora Briggs
Rebeca Méndez
Michael Mocho
Brian Molanphy
J. Morrison
William Rogers
Nicholas Stawinski
Jason Schneider
Trish Shepard
Jason Speich
David A. Stassi
Yun Woo Choi
Koichi Yamamoto

*Special thanks to Paul Collins, Elizabeth Ferrill, Emily Fannon, and Carey Hill Smith.

Images available on request.

Anderson Ranch Arts Center is a world-class learning community dedicated to creativity and growth through the making and understanding of the visual arts. We promote the personal and professional development of artists of all levels of expertise through year-round workshops, artists’ residencies, exhibitions, lectures, public events and community outreach. The facilities feature fully-equipped studios, galleries, café, dormitory and ArtWorks store. Anderson Ranch programs and activities attract thousands of artists, art-lovers, students, faculty and patrons annually to this historic and beautiful 5-acre mountain ranch near Aspen.

For more information on our programs, call 970.923.3181, email, write Anderson Ranch Arts Center, P.O. Box 5598, Snowmass Village, CO 81615, or visit our web site at

Holly Bornemeier, Director of Marketing/Communications
970.923.3181 ext. 216

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