Denver Month of Video founders Jenna Maurice and Adán De La Garza present a diverse array of video arts throughout July 2023 at venues across the city.
Denver Month of Video has been the yearslong dream of partners Jenna Maurice and Adán De La Garza. Although Maurice and De La Garza have each arranged video art shows that incorporated each other’s work—and have brought Colorado artists to various cities in the United States as well as to Berlin, Paris, Toronto, and Mexico City—they never formally collaborated on curation until this year’s premiere MOV.
“As contemporary artists, we feel it is our responsibility to champion other ideas and approaches outside of our own practices,” say Maurice and De La Garza, emphasizing the inextricability of their roles as artistic custodians and creators. Maurice is a current resident at RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Metro State University affiliate professor, and De La Garza is an artist and participant in Collective Misnomer, an anonymous, anti-capitalist artist collective that has been coordinating sound, performance, and video art in Denver for nearly seven years.
Denver Month of Video will showcase a variety of video art and exhibitions with overlapping themes of Indigenous land and culture, social and environmental justice, and the contemporaneous “aliveness” of performance art. With the help of their vast network of video artist friends and various artist-run spaces and galleries throughout Denver, viewers can find MOV screenings and events in both “top tier” locations (such as the Denver Art Museum) and DIY warehouses, such as Glob. Other venues include Galapago Space, 17th Street “Storefront,” Denver Digerati, and the Daniels and Fisher’s Clock Tower.
MOV’s itinerary kicks off this weekend with a showcase of Colorado-based video artists at the Denver Art Museum on July 1, 2023 with subsequent one-night screenings occurring every Saturday at various locations. Many other screenings and live performances will take place throughout July, including alumni work from Signal Culture, a global media-artist residency program that recently relocated from Upstate New York to Colorado.
Beyond video and performance art, MOV will display video game art at Buntport Theater organized by Dizzy Spell (an artist collective including De La Garza, Rafael Fajardo, and Justin Ankenbauer) from July 8 through July 22 with a special one-night event organized by video game scholar Nicholas O’Brien.
The “public secret society” New Red Order, which presents a provocative consideration of Indigenous futurity, will exhibit at RedLine from July 1 through August 27. Currently on view in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New Red Order’s Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality uses three-dimensional photogrammetry of two James Earle Fraser public sculptures to “repatriate Indigenous objects” and comment on U.S. imperialism and the perpetuation of the historical violence against Indigenous people. This piece, along with other video works by New Red Order, will appear in RedLine’s exhibition Crimes Against Reality.
In the Union Hall Gallery exhibition Traverse, Santiago Echecverry, Chrissy Espinoza, Annette Isham, and Jenna Maurice will explore “the relationship between the environment and one’s self” via performance and video art. Understudy Gallery will show “performance for video” curations by Quinn Dukes, fair director of Satellite Art Show. Dukes is also the founder of the curatorial and online platform Performance is Alive, which promotes ongoing, contemporary performance artists and artworks.
After MOV comes to a close, Maurice and De La Garza will continue their respective video art projects. One of Maurice’s current works-in-progress includes a video essay examining the prolific possibilities within ambiguous “gray areas,” or domains lacking clear definitions. De La Garza, working on “video pieces focused on climate change and the desertification of Earth,” will also embark on a solo tour from Denver to New Mexico and Arizona this September on his way to exhibiting work at Everybody Gallery in his hometown of Tucson.
Back in 2015, Maurice and De La Garza joined forces with Christina Battle, Theresa Anderson, and Kelly Sears to turn their apartments’ bathrooms into galleries. Responding to “a lack of affordable artist studios and artist-run spaces” in Denver, they named their project Close Quarters and hosted events with zines, photographs, and video installations. At Close Quarters openings, friends and strangers viewed artwork “from behind toilets and [while] lying down in a bathtub.” Although no video art will be shown in any small Denver apartment bathrooms, Maurice and De La Garza’s interest in utilizing and highlighting a variety of venues as legitimate art spaces shines through their thoughtful organization of locations and content for MOV.
“We hope that MOV will provide different access points to video-based work and a home for that work to be seen regularly in Denver,” say Maurice and De La Garza about Denver Month of Video, which may become a biannual event that recommences in 2025. By that time, Denver will certainly be hungry for more simultaneous introductions to video artists and the local art spaces that display their work.