The art Todd Herman curates at east window is his way of addressing the injustices of the world.
“There’s still racism, sexism—there’s a lot we’ve got to undo on a daily basis, and this is my way of continually doing it,” Herman says over a phone interview, “in addition to just creating opportunities for harmony or education or whatever we want to call that process where people are just fucking nice to each other, you know?”
Since launching in June 2020, the micro art museum—literally a window facing east—in the warehouses of 4949 Broadway in North Boulder has featured underrepresented artists with blunt messages about society and their place in it: indigenous folks, people of color, queers, those with different mental and physical abilities. When Herman opens his new space, east window SOUTH, to the public on January 5, he hopes to take the mission further.
“I don’t think I want to put the word aggressive out there, but . . . perhaps the statements can be a little more bold because they’ll be in this interior space,” Herman explains. “They might not be entirely politically correct.”
When the space adjacent to east window opened up this fall, Herman jumped on the chance to expand. He’s currently crowdsourcing funds to revamp the 500-square-foot interior space into a black box gallery where he hopes to provide a modest stipend for up to 17 artists in the first year and change. The opening exhibition, called AFRICAN-AMERICA: Contempt of Greasy Pigs, will feature work by Texas-based nonbinary Black artist Andre Ramos-Woodard.
“This show screams reality,” Ramos-Woodard writes in his artist statement, “the reality lived by myself and the millions of other Black brothers and sisters and [nonbinary people] that have to walk down the streets knowing that the system is set up against us. This is the shit we have to deal with on a daily basis. Our reality does not end just because the media ain’t interested no more. Do not let people forget it. At the end of the day, no matter what, systematic oppression will not win. Know this: There is no such thing as a good cop. Period. Abolish the prison industrial complex. Fight back. Black power ’til the day I die.”
East window artists have examined race from all angles, with an artist like Susanne Mitchell exploring race, privilege and neo-colonialism through the lens of a white woman who was married to a Malawian man in the mid-’90s, just as the nation was instating its first multi-party democracy.
In January, east window featured work by Chicago-based, Taiwanese artist Chun-Shan “Sandy” Yi, whose wearable art—garments, accessories and footwear—reflect the experiences of disabled bodies, including her own.
“There’s been a thrust of work by Native artists,” Herman says, including artists Gregg Deal, Nicholas Galanin, and Sky Hopinka, with more indigenous artists slated for exhibition in the future. “And there’s a reason for that—that’s whose land we’re sitting on, and I want to keep that narrative focus because it’s an easy one to forget, as is Black Lives Matter. It’s not super in vogue in the news anymore.”
Herman hopes to gather $9,700 by mid-December in order to clean, paint, purchase and install lights, and create stipends for artists to exhibit in the new east window SOUTH space. He’s currently raised $3,200.
“With the original east window space, I have to be mindful of the visuals because this is an exterior, public space,” Herman says. “With that space it feels like you’re outside looking at somebody in their eyes. With east window SOUTH it feels like you’re inside their head. There’s more opportunity for different messages, more nuanced messages.”
On the bill: East window in collaboration with Collective Aporia and Innisfree Poetry Workshops present: ‘FRAGMENTATION / AMALGAMATION / TRANSFORMATION’ workshop, the fourth installment of a cut-up + collage + mixed media workshop series on the theme of DISGUST. Facilitated by Jennifer Lorenne. 6:30 p.m. November 16, NoBo Arts Center, 4929 Broadway, Boulder. To sign up for this workshop: eastwindow.org/disgust
This workshop is free.