Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Unveils New Site-Specific Artwork

Rick McCartney

Kristin Bauer, “Gestures #4,” 2020.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) announces a new artwork on view outside its building with a goal of bringing the community together: an installation of text art created to cultivate a sense of togetherness.

As part of a new series of work — “Untitled Gestures” — Tempe-based artist Kristin Bauer recently installed a text work on the main entry of SMoCA and along an interior curved wall in the Museum. The exterior text reads, “AND A SHARED LONGING CONNECTS US,” and the interior text reads, “ACROSS AN EVER SHIFTING TERRAIN.” These newly commissioned works will be on view indefinitely. Valley residents can view other conceptual text-based works in this series on public storefronts throughout the Phoenix metro area on an ongoing basis.

“Bauer’s poetic musings give a sense of hope, while also acknowledging that the future is going to look very different. This work resonates with communities here, and across the world, who are looking for new ways to make connections from a distance,” said Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator at SMoCA. “During SMoCA’s temporary closure, visitors will be able to view the exterior message from the front of the building, reflecting on the ‘shared longing’ for connection during these times of social distancing. Once the Museum reopens, visitors will be able to engage with the second phrase as they find new forms of normality ‘across an ever-shifting terrain’ of shared public space.”

Kristin Bauer, “Gestures #5,” 2020.

During this time of public closures that affect many businesses, including local boutiques, restaurants and cultural institutions, Bauer is partnering with the community to utilize the closed storefronts to share messages of solidarity. She uses white sign vinyl on windows to keep the installations inexpensive and accessible to businesses that are seeing steep drops in sales due to the closures.

“These works are conceived of and executed as an artistic gesture, an actionable effort to speak to the collective level of uncertainty and into the emotionally complex terrain felt globally. Elevating the function of common storefront signage, the series acts as physical conduits to facilitate a feeling of human connection within the heightened concern about physical contact,” Bauer said.

While the Museum remains temporarily closed to the public, it still has a goal to provide the city with art and culture. Participating in Bauer’s “Gestures” community project is a way to meet this goal and publicly share art that speaks to the current moment. The Museum is working toward a reopening date within 2020, and information will be released at a later date.

Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually. In conjunction with the City of Scottsdale, we also host more than 200,000 people annually on our campus through a robust rentals program.

Founded in 1999, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) explores the best of contemporary art, architecture and design. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s collection, along with SMoCA Lounge, a living, functional art installation and space for community engagement. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, readings, performances, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s “Knight Rise,” one of the renowned artist’s public skyspaces, and “Scrim Wall,” a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum’s retail store, Shop@SMoCA, offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books, and imaginative gifts for all occasions.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

As of March 2020, the Museum will be closed to the public until further notice. For more information regarding Scottsdale Arts’ response to COVID-19, visit

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