Kenzie Sitterud Untitled Final Friday May 31

Q&A with Kenzie Sitterud

I guess I believe in Art for Art's Sake, but with the added benefit that I am doing something different and interesting that is making an impression on the public awareness of queer issues.

– Kenzie Sitterud

Kenzie Sitterud is the featured artist for Untitled Final Friday: "Sit. Stand. Play." at the Denver Art Museum on May 31. Read our Q&A below to learn more, and then join us at Untitled! (You can see the program of events here.) Untitled is included with general admission, which is free for members.

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

I am motivated by a natural drive to create, often by impulse and inspired by the world around me. Growing up in a small coal-mining community I didn't really have much to look at or think about. I think what motivates me to create is that need to create big, beautiful experiences or objects that make people look and think.

My practice is unique in a way that I am able to inform the general public about the queer experience, by designing dysphoric atmospheres while simultaneously producing interesting colorful objects to connect with. These installations operate on a visceral level and make people feel different or “queer.” My creative spirit is nourished by the feedback from both heteronormative people who gained a sense of their privilege, as well as from all the wonderful queer folks that have been able to enjoy my work and the safe space that it creates for them. I guess I believe in Art for Art's Sake, but with the added benefit that I am doing something different and interesting that is making an impression on the public awareness of queer issues.

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

Ray Eames with the first prototype of The Toy in Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America. I am designing an experimental stage using shape and color for Laura Ann Samuelson to activate.

I have been going to the DAM since I was 19, and I have always wanted to smuggle in a slinky and give it a try down the stairs of the Hamilton Building, but I always have resisted because…well, I like going to the Denver Art Museum. So [at this Untitled there will be] Slinky Races.

– Kenzie Sitterud

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

I am most excited about the playfulness of the evening. I have really tried to curate some of my favorite artists, aesthetics, and friends into this evening. Be prepared to stay for four hours. My biggest highlight will be Slinky Races. I have been going to the DAM since I was 19, and I have always wanted to smuggle in a slinky and give it a try down the stairs of the Hamilton Building, but I always have resisted because…well, I like going to the Denver Art Museum. So the Slinky Races. I am also really looking forward to seeing how Laura Ann activates my experimental stage through her performance.

4. What do you hope visitors will get out of your Untitled event at the Denver Art Museum?

It's Friday so I hope that everyone can relax into their weekend with an interesting, fun event. I hope they walk away with a smile, and a renewed sense of youthfulness. I really want people to let loose, party, and have as much fun as possible.

I hope to create a unique atmosphere for the guests. I hope that its successful and that everyone is satisfied.

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

I would collaborate with Andy Warhol because I would like to see how he would use the technology available today in order to move art into the future. I would also love to play chess with Marcel Duchamp and discuss his performativity of gender.

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

Everyone I have invited for this event is someone I respect and admire in their art practice. Charles Parson is one of my favorites. He was my professor at Community College of Denver and was a very stable creative person in my very unstable life at that time. He was the reason I created my first installation, The Bathroom. I owe a lot to him. I think Laura Ann Samuelson is a creative genius.

7. What’s up next?

I have been selected to do a temporary public art sculpture called Future Seat supported by Design Workshop and the PS You Are Here! Grant. This project highlights the environmental education of the importance of trees in the urban setting and brings awareness to the Urban Tree Canopy Public Art Project. This piece will be up from July to October between 15th and 16th on Curtis. I am also graduating from my residency at RedLine so I am looking for space for my new studio.

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

I am a resident at RedLine through August so you are always welcome to come by and say hello.

You can also find me at www.kenziemckenzie.com and please follow me on Instagram at @kenziesitterud

Kenzie Sitterud works as a multimedia artist and designer primarily producing immersive large-scale installations and designed experiences. Sitterud (who prefers the gender-neutral personal pronoun “they”) began their creative practice in 2008 with their first installation in Denver (The Bathroom), establishing interest in conflicts between queerness and domestic spaces. Continuing this practice after moving to Seattle, Sitterud established themselves within the DIY and music communities. They returned to Denver in 2013 to pursue their BFA in communication design from Metropolitan State University of Denver, graduating in 2016.

Sitterud designs work expressing the dysphoric environment the queer community faces in a heteronormative world. The crafting of these spaces correlates to the precarious anxiety queer individuals experience in a society that is neither designed for, nor inclusive of, their queerness. This body of work contains The Kitchen Table, The Wardrobe, and The Bedroom.

The history of the Bauhaus and Duchamp’s readymades informs Sitterud’s practice, redefining these modernist histories through a queer lens. Their current body of work aims to recreate the entire house through a queer perspective, redefining traditional domesticity in order to express queer anxieties.

Sitterud began their second year as an Artist-in-Residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center located in Denver. Sitterud is a Colorado Creative Industries and NEAA recipient for the 2017 Career Advancement Grant. Most recently, Sitterud received a 2019 P.S. You are Here Grant through Denver Arts & Venues to complete a commissioned public project for Design Workshop Foundation.

Kenzie Sitterud currently resides and works in Denver, Colorado.

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

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