Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Responding to the Artwork: Momentum Tulsa Curator Brian Hearn

Guest Author: Joey Stipek, Intern
Momentum is an annual exhibition that features Oklahoma artists 30 years and younger, working in all various media including art, film, performance, and large scale installations. Momentum’s mission is to present a diversified look at emerging artistic talent in Oklahoma. The Tulsa version opens 8 p.m. until midnight, October 8th, 2011 at Living Arts, 307 E. Brady in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Guest curators for the Tulsa edition of Momentum are Oklahoma City Museum of Art film curator Brian Hearn along with emerging curator, Tulsa’s Lovetts Gallery director Waylon Summers. The curators selected three artists for Spotlight awards, for which the artists receive $1,750 and three months of curatorial guidance.

I had the honor of communicating with Hearn via e-mail and asking him questions about his thought process as one of the curators behind the Tulsa edition of Momentum. Below is the question and answer session from our conversation.
Brian Hearn participating in OK Art Writing & Curatorial Fellowship workshop
Q: As a curator for this year edition of Momentum, what drew you in particular to the artist’s work you’ve selected?
Brian Hearn: So far we've only selected the three Spotlight Artists for Momentum Tulsa, but each of them demonstrates complex ideas in a visually interesting way. Hey emerging artists out there, you've got until September 12 to submit!

Q: With both you and Waylon having diverse backgrounds, is there a medium emphasis either one of your chose when selecting the work for Momentum?
BH: Not at all. We both respond to quality work first and foremost. I take into consideration the multiple ways in which the work engages me: visual, intuitive, emotional, intellectual, physical. etc. In curating a show like Momentum there is also an element of "have I seen this before?"

Q: How has your experience been working with emerging curator Waylon Summers?
BH: It's been very enjoyable. I like the collaborative dialogue in curating this show. Waylon is very thoughtful and has a keen eye. His experience working in a commercial art gallery is a valuable contrast to my museum background. Though we've mostly agreed, it will be healthy to have some push and pull as we get deeper into the curatorial process.

Q: Can people attending Momentum expect a bigger emphasis on video installations or media?
BH: I doubt it. My sense is that emerging Oklahoma artists are embracing an astonishing array of artistic media. Everything is on the table these days. One of the strengths of Momentum as an art event is that it is broadly inclusive of all 2D and 3D media as well as performance, digital, sound, and installation. The work simply must be good. People attending Momentum Tulsa this year can expect to have fun and experience something new.

Artists may submit to the survey exhibition by September 12. See the call for entries here. Tickets to the October 8 opening party are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at, or by phone at 405-879-2400. Regular gallery hours are free to attend.

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