100 Colorado Creatives: John McEnroe
#56: John McEnroe
johnmcenroe.com John McEnroe, "National Velvet."
Artist John McEnroe tangles with the challenges of synthetic materials and sculptural process in big, drippy works with minds of their own. Best known for sometimes-ragged installations molded from plastics and polymers and filling spaces in unexpected ways, McEnroe seems to naturally think big. That's reflected in several public art installations scattered around the metro area, from the Dry Creek light rail station to the Colorado Convention Center.
And though Westword poked fun at what might be his best-known public piece, National Velvet, a lighted sculpture at the foot of the Highland Bridge, we also named it Best New Public Art in 2009. Big ideas deserve big reactions; National Velvet juggles them both with McEnroe's bold aplomb.
McEnroe's site-specific installation Beauty Does can currently be seen at MCA Denver through the end of September as part of the museum's Biennial exhibitions, so we asked him to tackle another big challenge: our 100CC questionnaire. His forthright answers follow.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Photo by Alex Stephens. John McEnroe. "Beauty Does," 2013. Resin, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Robishon Gallery.
John McEnroe: Rauschenberg is the name that's fast on my tongue, but I would love to work with Philip Guston. His sense of texture and composition are both familiar and foreign, but I see many similarities in the tactile materials I use as they relate to Guston's forms and paint handling.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I'm fascinated by the Rubell Family Collection and other serious, well-funded collectors of contemporary art. They have the power to create and promote an entirely new aesthetic category based on the artists they acquire, and by proxy, canonize! Both the market and academics pay attention to their choices. Big collectors and powerhouse dealers get to define the blue-chip artists of the future. There is much more to the beautiful messy outlaw art world, but the private collections are very telling of the current story of art.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Art auctions: Artists should not be asked to donate their work to auctions, no matter how deserving the charity. Art auction donation requests put the artist, their patrons and dealers in a difficult spot. There's lots an artist can do to help a charity, but don't ask them to hand over their only stock-in-trade.
Continue reading for more from John McEnroe.