It's been almost a century since Marcel Duchamp called a urinal a "fountain" and submitted it for exhibition, leaving viewers to wonder what constitutes "art." The Galleries of Contemporary Art will force that question back into the spotlight locally this week, as nonprofit artist group the M12 Collective brings its Black Hornet exhibit to town.
For the past four years, the Byers-based Collective has worked with the Hall family racing team in Fort Morgan on The Black Hornet, a project that comments on rural community and culture, the divide between rural and urban understanding, intergenerational cooperation and the nature of participatory art.
"It's hard to pin down as a traditional art experience," says GOCA director Daisy McConnell. "They are moving beyond the traditional, more passive, experience."
Hornet will feature race cars, trophies, video of the cars in action, and photographs of actual races as an exploration of multi-generational exchange, especially as it relates to rural life. That's why the Collective chose to work with the four-generation Hall family racing team, says M12 founder and creative director Richard Saxton.
"In addition to these ideas, the Black Hornet also comes from a place of exploring public space in rural communities," Saxton says. "In many ways the racetrack, the cars, and the people involved equate to the modern-day courthouse square."
Hornet is one of about two dozen M12 projects, which also include its Byers-based International School of Rural Experiences, and The Ornitarium, a social space and bird blind in southwestern Australia.
As for bringing this specific taste of country life — as art — to Colorado Springs?
"Taking the cars in context to a gallery space provides the push and pull of the urban and rural cultural divide," adds Kirsten Stoltz, M12's director of programs. "How do we bridge this divide?"