Friday, January 9, 2009

UrbanArt Introduces 'Works in Progress'

Date: January 8, 2009 Contact Person: John Weeden, 901.454.0474

UrbanArt’s ‘Work in Progress’ presents Niki Johnson’s
Saving Face — an exploration of social networks and modern collectible friendship

UrbanArt is expanding its practice to include ‘Work in Progress’ — a series of month-long artist residencies providing a forum to develop innovative art making techniques that may be translated into public art projects. The program gives selected local artists the opportunity to use the storefront gallery space of UrbanArt on 2549 Broad Avenue as a demonstration studio for one month with a hosted closing reception.

The first artist in the series is Niki Johnson, a recent graduate of University of Memphis BFA Studio Arts program. On January 5th 2009, Johnson began Saving Face, an installation inspired by the 19th century invention of the wallet-sized portrait. The highly personalized calling cards led to the invention of trading cards and changed the way that individuals disperse their visual imprints. Facebook continues the practice of modern-day calling cards as well as emphasizing "collectible" friendships via the Internet.

Saving Face tests the depth of involvement of Johnson’s Facebook contacts by asking them to step of out of the popularity counter of networking sites to invest in a physical connection of friends via parcel post.

During the closing reception from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, January 30th, Johnson will display a multi-media installation revealing the results of her social experiment.

Local artists interested in submitting proposals to be considered for the ‘Works in Progress’ residency should contact UrbanArt for proposal guidelines and project parameters at:

The mission of the UrbanArt Commission (501c3) is to create a dynamic, vibrant, nurturing community through art and design. The UAC is funded in part by the City of Memphis, ArtsMemphis, Tennessee Arts Commission and the Hyde Foundation.