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FRAMING THE MCA OCTOPUS INITIATIVE

Posted by Liana Orenstein on Mar 14, 2018

Have you ever spent an afternoon at an art museum, admiring stunning, thought-provoking works, only to wish that you could bring some of that beauty home with you?

Soon lucky patrons of MCA Denver, the city’s premier contemporary art museum, will be able to do just that.

MCA Denver Octopus Initiative

The Octopus Initiative, which launches with a not-to-be-missed party this Thursday, March 15th (consider yourself booked!), will provide a FREE art lending library, allowing Denver metro residents to take home original works of art (custom framed by Simply Framed!) to hang on their walls and live with for up to ten months. The novel and experimental idea is all about “putting art in the hands of many.” All of the works have been specially commissioned from some of Denver’s leading artists, each of whom were asked to create 25 unique works of art that form the library’s inventory.

The philosophy behind of the Octopus Initiative is to create a stronger bond between artist and art lover, and recognize the power of art and its ability to inspire, challenge, and enrich lives—beyond a museum’s walls. We share the same goals and beliefs, and the entire Simply Framed team is beyond thrilled to be involved in such a groundbreaking, innovative effort. And if you make it to MCA’s March 15th launch party, you’ll see us there too, toasting to beautiful artwork that you can (hopefully) bring home with you.

You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the participating Denver artists (including the first six to contribute to the library: Sierra Montoya Barela, Molly Bounds, Suchitra Mattai, Chris Oatey, Laura Shill and Derrick Velasquez) while touring the new library space and browsing the available art. The event will be penny admission from 4—9pm, and all Denver metro residents may sign up to enter the lottery and win a work of art for their homes—we hope you’re one of them! PLUS, the first 100 visitors (who are 21+) will receive a free beer, courtesy of local brewery Ratio Beerworks.

Can’t make it to the party? No problem. If you’re a resident of the Denver metro area, you can enter the Octopus Initiative’s lottery without leaving your couch. The museum designed a special web application that allows visitors to virtually browse the lending library, “heart” the pieces they love, register, and apply to win.

Keep on scrolling to learn more about the artists whose stunning work could soon be gracing your walls.

Sierra Montoya Barela

Each painting by Denver native Sierra Montoya Barela feels like a mini mystery just waiting to be solved, as she combines unexpected elements to create a fascinating and colorful tableau.

Art by Sierra Montoya Barela in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Molly Bounds

An illustrator and printmaker influenced by the aesthetics and narrative sequencing within alternative comics and zine culture, Molly creates evocative work that explores stories of power and authority rarely shared in normative culture.

Art by Molly Bounds floated in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Suchitra Mattai

Suchitra Mattai was born in Guyana, South America and lived all over the world (Nova Scotia, New York City and Udaipur, India to name a few) before moving to Denver. Her multidisciplinary work spans everything from fiber arts and collage to video installations, all mediums that she uses to weave fascinating narratives of "the other."


Art by Suchitra Mattai in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Chris Oatey

Chris Oatey's work explores paper of many kinds (old newspapers and magazines, printed video stills, even ordinary carbon paper that was once the de rigueur of corporate offices everywhere) as a medium for drawing pictures and making sculptures, installations, and wallpaper.


Artwork by Chris Oatey in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Laura Shill

The multi-disciplinary work of Laura Shill addresses ideas of the viewer and the subject, disclosure and concealment, absence and intimacy. Her Absent Lovers series, for example, clearly depicts only one side of a relationship while leaving the other completely open to interpretation and imagination.


Art by Laura Shill in our Natural Gallery Frame.

Derrick Velasquez

A recurring subject in Derrick's work is architecture. He employs unexpected materials, such as prefabricated ornate crown molding in a sculptural installation, to draw attention to the juxtaposition between modern and historic construction, and the traditional barriers that divide or connect new and old buildings.


Art by Derrick Velasquez in our Natural Gallery Frame.

UPDATE: Check out a few photos from launch night below:

Learn more on MCA’s website. And we hope to see many of you at MCA on March 15th!

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