Lucky '13: Cortney Lane Stell, RMCAD gallery director and curator

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

The 2013 Venice Biennale. Every other year in Venice, Italy, there's a biennial and it's basically a state of the union address for contemporary art. Countries get national pavilions and then there's a large curated exhibition. This exhibition essentially takes over all of Venice and it's a huge spectacle, but it's also a great time for me to get a sense of contemporary trends and what people are collecting and certain ideas that are circulating. It's really an important event for me to attend, and it's also very overwhelming in the sense that you see the Art world with a big "A," the art world that Colorado doesn't really see. For example, like, Elton John or whatever millionaires or billionaires pull their yachts up along the Biennale and they have huge, like, Jeff Koons sculptures on the prows. You can see Yoko Ono and all the big celebrities, so I also get to be a little bit voyeuristic and see the part of the art world that I'm not really engaged with but I know about. This year my husband's going to be going with me and he's never been to Italy or Venice or to the Biennale. So every year I've gone before I've been by myself, which I also enjoy, but it'll be nice to share it with him.

What's coming up for the Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program at RMCAD in the new year?

This coming term, the theme is ethics and practice. We'll have a panel in conjunction with our exhibition on January 10th called The Temporary Institute for Emancipated Objects. The exhibition is about kind of the ready-made, so artists who use everyday materials in a way that complicates or expounds their original use or intention. And there's four artists in that exhibition, so that night at 7 p.m. there will be a panel discussion. And then there will also be a lecture by Paddy Johnson, who is the editor for Art Fag City, which is a pretty well known New York blog. The last person is Simon Critchley, and he's the editor for the New York Times philosophy section. He's also a professor at the New School and has edited books on how to read Heidegger, things like that. So the entire theme will be around ethics and practice and not just telling artists what to do but kind of looking at our sociopolitical situation and empowering artists to make their own set of ethics and their own set of decisions upon that. Because being an artist is really an entrepreneurial endeavor. So empowering people around the idea of building their own ethical systems and understanding the reasons around and behind and within their actions. It's also the 50th anniversary for the college, so we're going to be doing a big student exhibition in March and probably an alumni exhibition this summer.

What was your favorite thing about 2012?

My favorite thing about 2012 was getting a year older. You know, all of the things that happen within the time span of a year and all of the lessons you learn. I think that time is our most valuable resource, so I think the thing I appreciate the most about 2012 is having another year to reflect upon and to grow out of. Either that, or learning to enjoy the Nuggets basketball team.

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One of Denver's art treasures, Cortney Stell is a brilliant curatorial force and valuable resource to artists, students, and the public. Hopefully she'll stick around but don't be surprised if she's running some big coastal art institution in a few years.

Her shows at RMCAD campus art gallery are not to be missed.

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