DENVER — A Denver-based artist worked for months to individually create ten thousand pieces to be installed as one work now on display at the Denver Art Museum. After it’s run there is over, that artist plans on giving away each piece for free.
“It’s really creating value in experience. An emotional transaction instead of a monetary one,” artist Jonathan Saiz said.
The installation is known at #WhatIsUtopia, a 33 -foot wide pillar adorned with 10,000 two-by-two-inch squares.
“They’re drawings, they’re paintings, they’re sculptures, they’re pieces made out of clay, they’re oil paintings on wood,” he explained.
Saiz says his work is a “multifaceted story,” including works that people can look at and from that, interpret their own version of utopia.
“You can go up and explore an individual world, but you can also step back and see a larger almost pixelated landscape,” he said.
That landscape includes some gemstones, pearls, even a 24-carat gold leaf that Saiz received from people to be included in his art. There is also a very sentimental piece.
“The gold engagement ring that was my father’s when he proposed to my mother. That’s included in the boxes,” he showed Denver7’s Jason Gruenauer.
The work is part of the “Eyes On” exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Saiz is hoping that people can use Instagram (and #WhatIsUtopia) to connect and share their stories about the artwork even if they can’t see it in person.
The number of pieces involved is the first attention grabber. The valuables included in the art is the second. The third is what will happen to this installation when it’s run comes to an end in November.
“All the thousand pieces will be deconstructed from the column, individually wrapped in brown paper, and given away as free gifts to 10,000 different people,” Saiz explained.
Saiz says it is his way of allowing as many people as possible to own a piece of contemporary art that once sat in a museum. All pieces will be given out wrapped, and so the recipient will not know what they are receiving.
There will be giveaways of the ten thousand pieces in November and December taking place at the Denver Art Museum, Saiz’s gallery K Contemporary, and more. To register for updates, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @utopia_is_free on Instagram.