"Of the Siren and the Sky," which will open at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) in Salt Lake City on Dec. 7, is the first proper museum exhibition on the career of Siren Bliss, a Salt Lake City native who has made more than 80,000 artworks. Curated by Triple Candie, the presentation includes recreations of the artist's drawings and sculptures, posters containing statements by him, and photographs and objects related to his life story. An enigma to anyone but his closest associates, Siren Bliss has eschewed all involvement with the mainstream contemporary art world. In fact, his career choices could be viewed as a satirization of the art system and its star-making machinery. Following a brief collaboration with the artist Paul McCarthy in the late 1960s and a decade in Los Angeles, Bliss became a nomadic mystic who has operated under multiple identities, traded his art on the barter system, and operated his own itinerant museum. 1997, his work was in more corporate collections than any other artist. The Security and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) estimated the value of this work in excess of $250 million. "In a world where expertise and talent can be a poker-faced mystery, to check out can lead to something greater, such as a parallel universe," said Aaron Moulton, senior curator at UMOCA. "Bliss brings us to a level of personal mythology that is an arcane Wagnerian epic cloaked in a familiar language. This cross-section of an otherwise unknown figure helps champion the quest for a new obscurity." This exhibit provides a glimpse of an epic career, focusing primarily on work made by the artist during stints in Salt Lake City by addressing a series of 750 sculptures he made, under the nom de guerre Sky Jones, with the homeless in 1992-93 as part of a recycling project.
The opening of "Of the Siren and the Sky" will open at the Utan Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City, on Dec. 7, from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. The reception will include a DJ, food,and a cash bar. There will be a Q & A with the curators beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.utahmoca.org/.