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Draft Urbanism

16.07 – 02.09 / 2013
Biennial of the Americas, Denver

First envisioned by then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in 2010, the Biennial of the Americas is an international festival of ideas, art and culture hosted in Denver, Colorado, that provides a nonpartisan platform for leaders in business, government, civil society, and the arts to convene and examine the significant issues impacting life in the Americas.

Draft Urbanism, the Biennial of the Americas’ 2013 exhibition, brings together the most engaging discourses in art, architecture, and film from across the Americas. For the seven weeks of the exhibition, four full-scale architecture installations will address key urban issues on-site in downtown Denver. Billboards, posters and other urban signage already part of Denver’s visual context will be appropriated as places for exhibiting art. Dispersed throughout downtown, the public is invited to visit each work by car or on foot and, in so doing, transform downtown itself into a living, urban museum.

The core aim of the exhibition is to examine our evolving relationship with the urban fabric of our cities. What we do in our cities, and how they are built, used, and treated can inform us about how we see ourselves today and how we project into the future. Through newly commissioned works from across the Americas and beyond, Draft Urbanism will reflect on potential and future modes of living and the qualities we might ascribe them, while addressing some key planning issues that downtown Denver faces today.

In today’s world, nothing is final—everything is a draft of a draft. Our computers, phones, and cars are newer models of older ones; the programs and software we use everyday exist as one version of many; we watch remakes of movies and listen to covers, remixes and samples. As the name implies, Draft Urbanism takes on this condition and explores how it is articulated by some of the Americas’ most active artists and architects. Dispelling the assumption that drafts are unformed, incomplete versions of a final state, Draft Urbanism proposes the drafty and inchoate as the most vital moments for strange, unexpected ideas to take hold.

Draft Urbanism also pays homage to Denver’s long tradition of brewing beer. In 1859, the first city government was established in a saloon on Larimer Street called The Apollo Hall. Adolph Coors founded his brewing company in 1873, and today it is home to the largest single brewing facility in the world. Governor John Hickenlooper made his way into state politics through the success of his brewery, the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Surprisingly or not, Colorado brews more beer and has more craft breweries per capita than any other US state. From growing to brewing to imbibing, beer links economic factors with social ones; what we drink, where, and with whom reflects and shapes the way our cities behave and the way we behave in our cities, as beer explicitly connects individual experience with larger citywide systems.

Ultimately, Draft Urbanism is a celebration of the diverse ways we can address the urban future through the arts, while maintaining a deep understanding and respect for the city’s rich and liquid history.

Absolute Vitality, Julieta Aranda, Gustavo Artigas, Sofia Borges, Pia Camil, Corina Copp, Denver Beer Co., Douglas Coupland, Simon Critchley, Ricardo Domeneck, Jeromie Dorrance, Travis Egedy, Juan-Pedro Fabra Guemberena, James Franco, Cyprien Gaillard, Liam Gillick, Daniel Jackson, Jason Lazarus, June14 (Sam Chermayeff, Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge), Suwon Lee, Laurel Nakadate, Tom Noel, Dmitri Obergfell, Jennifer Osborne, Giandomenico Tonatiuh Pellizzi, Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Mauricio Pezo, Sofia von Ellrichshausen), plan:b (Federico Mesa, Felipe Mesa), Jon Rafman, Zach Reini, Steve Rowell, Isabella Rozendaal, Kate Sansom, Alex Schweder, Jeremy Shaw, Michael Snow, Timur Si-Qin, Erdem Taşdelen, Amalia Ulman, Kandis Williams, David Zink Yi, and Mario Zoots.

This post is also available in: Spanish