Thursday, June 17, 2010

An art/golf mashup.

I've been a little hot and cold on Adam Price and his 337 Project.  I thought the original 337 Project was mostly bad.  The follow up exhibit at the Salt Lake Art Center was good.  And I was lukewarm on last year's street art competition.  I was definitely skeptical when he was made director of the Salt Lake Art Center.  I just didn't think he had the appropriate experience.

But the recent show at the Salt Lake Art Center (which was conceived as a 337 Project project), went a long way to convince me that Adam Price may be a good choice for the director of the Salt Lake Art Center.

The exhibit is titled Contemporary Masters: Artist-Designed Miniature Golf.  And it's just what the title says it is: 18 holes of putt putt golf created by local and regional artists.  This is one fun show.  It's the perfect exhibit for summer and I hope it brings a lot of new people to the art center.  I went to the opening reception which meant it was too busy to play the course what with Miss Utah, Peter Caroon, and other dignitaries getting first crack at the course.  But I'll be back on a quiet weekend to play through the course.

I can't decide which holes I like best:  the absolute-guaranteed-you'll-make-it holes; or the absolutely impossible holes.  Artists definitely bring a unique view to miniature golf. Let's stop talking about the project and look at few of my favorite holes/sculptures.

I'll start with Hole #1 (Take it Easy: Artificial turf, plywood, plastic, corner brace), which is one of those easy holes.  But it's also a perfect abstraction of a beautifully manicured green.  It was created by Kisslan Chan.

Close by is Hole #18 (Siphon & Reservoir: Steel and metal fabrication, wood, vinyl) by Craig Cleveland.  This is more on the difficult side.  Once you make it into the initial hole, a hand-powered plunger shoots the ball up into a series of funnels that hopefully delivers the ball into (or at least close to) the final hole.

Hole #16 is a golfer's nightmare created by Jennifer Joseph. The Golfstar (Constellation Virgo) (Wood, golf tees, mixed media) is a sparkly night sky with golf tees blocking absolutely every path to the hole.  I'm not sure how you make this shot.

Popular local artist Trent Call along with Tessa Lindsey and Clint Call give us Hole #8, Barnaby Banker's Big Bender (Wood, acrylic, enamel, felt, found objects, electric motor).  This is classic Trent Call with an attitude that would feel perfectly at home in a cartoon from the 1920s.

Hole #6 is from artist Loggins Merrill and feels something like a golfed-out, Vaudeville stage.  Industry (Birch plywood, metal, cement, cork, plastic) features a bicycle that helps power a crazy fairway. 

Nathan Florence's Hole # 5 may not be the most exciting hole but the details are sure cool with a carved mannequin holding a frilly skull.  It's called Three Graces (Salvaged material from neighborhood cleanup piles including wood and polystyrene insulated sheathing, 3Form Varia Ecoresin panels, old fiberglass mannequins, hardware, adhesive, paint, cloth, textiles).

And finally, my favorite hole: The impossibly difficult, beautifully abstract Hole #9 called Pissing in the Wind (Powder coated aluminum).   Created by Josh Bell, I can't imagine anyone actually making this hole.  I issue a challenge to all my golfing friends.

Once again I have to comment on how beautifully the Salt Lake Art Center displays art (and golf). I hope Adam Price doesn't change that. And as always, entrance to the Salt Lake Art Center is free.   So this is a great way to spend a couple of hours enjoying art and putt putt golf.  Contemporary Masters is up through September 16.


  1. This would make for a great first date. I'm just sayin'.

  2. Now this is my kind of art. I'll have to check that out.