January 25 is Untitled Final Friday

Q&A with Secret Love Collective, Our Featured Artist for January's Untitled

For the 2019 season of Untitled Final Fridays, the Denver Art Museum will be collaborating with different creatives and community members to create an evening of artmaking, performances, and tours. Secret Love Collective is the January creative. Learn more about them in the following Q&A and check out what they have in store on January 25 at the first Untitled Final Friday of 2019. (See the program of events for the evening.)

1. What do you want visitors/viewers to know about your creative practice?

Secret Love Collective is a group of queer-identified artists, makers, and performers. We are currently a group of 7 core members including Katy Zimmerman, Lares Feliciano, Katy Batsel, Piper Rose, Lauren Zwicky, Genevieve Waller, and Frankie Toan.

While all members have their own individual creative practices, as a collective we aim to fuse our cumulative skills to produce events and installations that offer a sense of connection and community building. Our practice is informed by searching for worlds that do not yet exist. We do this by challenging facets of social categories, identities, and the status quo through video, performance, costuming, and installation.

We believe that the worlds that we wish existed can exist—we just have to make them.

– Secret Love Collective
members of Secret Love Collective parading outdoors in Breckenridge
Photo courtesy of Secret Love Collective. Breckenridge Pride Parade in 2017.

2. Why do you do what you do/what motivates you?

We’re motivated by the need to challenge the status quo, to value ephemeral objects and materials, and to provide space for connection and further imagining. We believe that a large part of our work is creating space for individuals to meet each other and to grow as a community.

3. How would you define a creative?

There is no one “creative.” Secret Love Collective believes that there are many creative decisions we make throughout our day—what to wear, how to move through the world, and how to piece together a life that is livable and meaningful. Sometimes you have to get creative in these decisions! For us, creating is not about your background, skills or education. It is about finding small ways to make improvements in your day or life, or the day or life of someone else. It is about exploring reality and alternative realities with others. It is about identifying missing aspects of life and building them.

For example, we created a dance party (“In Bed by 10”) for those who want to rage on the dance floor and then go home and get a good night’s sleep. We are constantly building our costume closet because we always want to be making ourselves over again, and allow you to do the same. We do parades because we wish we encountered more strangeness in public space. For us, we suppose a creative is someone who sees social norms, desires something else, and builds that alternative.

4. What is a museum?

We think a museum is many things at the same time. It is an institution, often a physical one. It is a hub of intellectual and visual conversation and debate. It is a place that demonstrates what visual objects, histories, and aesthetic techniques and processes are valued in a community or geographic location. It is a place of “culture making,” where a network of individuals are given the task and power to define culture and culturally meaningful frameworks. In this way it is a mechanism of the status quo—where cultural norms are born and exemplified.

A museum is also a place of cultural reflection and challenging the very norms it might help to create. It can also be a place that identifies poignant truths about the lives we live today. It is a place that values both innovation and history. It is a place whose role is constantly evolving as we do. It can also be a place where drag queens do makeup tutorials, children teach adults how to dress-up without fear, and identities can be recreated, if even for a night.

View photos from 2018 Untitled Final Friday performances, artmaking activities, and other events below.

2 men playing drums in the Stampede exhibition with crowd watching at Untitled Final Friday

Gallery view of Stampede: Animals in Art.

artist demonstrating yarn art to guests at Untitled Final Friday
a man and a woman post at Untitled Final Friday
two women with cocktails and flower crowns at Untitled Final Friday
band playing music at Untitled Final Friday
vases of roses surrounding horse sculptures in art gallery at Untitled Final Friday

Gallery view of Stampede: Animals in Art.

musician at a grand piano surrounded by papers on the floor and a large crowd at Untitled Final Friday
women doing spoken word performance in art gallery at Untitled Final Friday
DJ at Untitled Final Friday
dancer performing in atrium at Untitled Final Friday
black and white photo of Untitled guests in Stampede Animals in Art

Gallery view of Stampede: Animals in Art.

people on all levels of the atrium in the Hamilton Building stairway

5. What collections/exhibitions are you connecting to for this event, and how are they inspiring you?

We are looking at the Dior exhibit of course, but also the museum itself. The Dior show is a great example of how fashion and adornment are important and exciting elements of identity creation. It also reminds us that we can wear or shape ourselves in myriad ways with texture, color, and style.

However, the museum as a building and cultural institution is also inspiring to us. Much of what we do aims to bring people together, and by having activities and collaborators all through the building there will be multiple ways for people to engage with us and one another—all culminating in an enthusiastic parade through the museum at the end of the night.

Note: Untitled Final Friday is included with general admission. Dior: From Paris to the World is a ticketed exhibition.

6. What are some highlights of your Untitled event that you are most excited about?

Hosting a parade in the museum of attendees and collaborators in costume is an exciting prospect for us, especially in the deep mid-winter.

7. What do you hope visitors will get out of your Untitled event?

Freedom from gender binaries, boundaries, and taboos. A way to refashion and redefine themselves. Discovering their new favorite song, accessory, and cute friend!

8. What are your hopes for your Untitled?

Fun with criticality, lots of rhinestones. New friends.

9. If you could collaborate with anyone (past or present), who would it be?

The folks at Rebirth Garments are a current inspiration and dream collaborators—check out their amazing, genderqueer outfits and accessories online to see why.

10. What’s your favorite place in Denver?

Thompson’s Arts & Crafts, Arc Thrift Stores on Saturdays (they always have a float in the Denver Pride Parade too, which is awesome!).

11. Who are some of your favorite Colorado creatives? What makes them interesting to you?

We have SO MANY favorites! The drag artist Nuclia Waste, sculptor Kat Nechlaba, musicians Koko La Bonita and Key Lady of Rare Byrd$ to name a few.

12. What’s up next?

We’ll be part of Arthyve’s Art + Feminism event March 10. We also have some exciting things incubating for the more distant future.

13. Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Check out www.secretlovecollective.com and our Instagram @secretlovecollective.

Sarah Rockett is the artist programs coordinator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

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