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What is good art?

Bad Art Night challenges artists' sensibilities



Remember the liberating experience of sloppily finger-painting and proudly looking upon your incredibly awful, multi-colored creation?

Partake in Bad Art Night and you won't be reproducing that exact childhood reminiscence, but something pretty darn close.

"Bad Art Night means you're forbidden from making anything good," says Christopher Lynn, director of the Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. "Even experienced artists don't feel as much pressure to make really good work."

Lynn launched the series last November. He encourages artists to be sloppy while immersing themselves in the creation of mock contemporary art.

"The idea is to sneak art education in on people without them actually knowing it," Lynn says. "It's almost like an art workshop. They will learn about contemporary art and art-making."

Through Bad Art Night, Lynn hopes to "make the act of art-making accessible to everyday people," and absolve the misconception that art is "only for the elite."


The July 28 event is influenced by Thomas Hirschhorn, a contemporary Swiss artist who used tinfoil, plastic wrap, packing tape, cardboard and magazines to create art installations. These same materials will be provided for participants at UCCS.

"Everyone has fun working on a room-size installation," Lynn says.

During a previous Bad Art Night, Lynn and participants poked fun at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's Dale Chihuly exhibit by donning eye patches and messily painting LP records with acrylic paint.

"The focus is on art-making as opposed to art display," says Lynn, who emphasizes that this is an "event," not an "exhibition."

A final word to the wise: "Check your aesthetic sensibilities at the door," Lynn says. "We don't go into these things expecting you to make a fantastic piece of art, just a fantastic piece of crap."

Bad Art Night: Thomas Hirschhorn-esque

Gallery of Contemporary Art, UCCS, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.

Saturday, July 28, 5-7 p.m.

Materials fee: GoCA supporters, UCCS students and staff, children 6-12, $3; adults, $4. Call 262-3567 or visit for more.

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