For the second Biennial of the Americas, executive curator Carson Chan has turned the city of Denver into a giant outdoor exhibition space. Chan, who is based in Berlin and also curated the 2012 Marrakech Biennale, says he sought to get away from the typical gallery-bound art exhibition. “It’s really hard to get people to go inside a museum,” he says. “Plus, I wanted people to encounter art without even necessarily knowing that it’s art.”
The Biennial is billed as a celebration of ideas, art, and culture of the Americas, with public symposiums, workshops, performances, exhibitions, and parties. (“Davos meets the Aspen Ideas Festival,” quipped Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who conceived the inaugural Biennial of the Americas in 2010.) Chan, working with Paul Andersen, Gaspar Libedinsky, and Cortney Stell, developed the exhibition, titled, Draft Urbanism. The name, Chan says, is meant to convey the idea that urbanism is constantly in flux, but it’s also a nod to Colorado’s craft beer culture and longstanding love affair with bars and taverns. Indeed, the Denver Beer Company created a new brew just for the Biennial, with Maya nuts from Nicaragua, barley from Canada, and hops from Colorado.