We had the chance to sit down and talk with Michael Cuffe, founder of the docu-magazine Warholian and curator of the upcoming show, Universe: The Art of Existence at Modern Eden. This will be the second exhibition at Modern Eden curated by Cuffe, following last year's Tarot: Art of Fortune.
ME: What was your inspiration for this show and how did you come about the theme UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence?
MC: I personally really love looking up at the sky at night. The Universe that surrounds us is simply amazing. For years, my partner Lyrica Glory and I have thrown around the concept of a space based show. We both have been personally interested in the cosmos over the past few years, and one day Lyrica brought it up during a brainstorming session. The timing just felt right, and it was the most exciting concept for me personally to bring artists together under.
Left to Right: Chris Blackstock, Mab Graves, John Wentz, Xiau-Fong Wee
ME: How did you select the participating artists for this show?
MC: I know hundreds of artists through my arts site Warholian, which covers the world of contemporary art. Once I think of the concept, I then decide the type of artists I’d like to present. For this show I really wanted there to be a lot of painters, which tend to always balance a handful of mixed media artists within any exhibition.
To pick an artist, I often imagine their art in the overall aesthetic of the show itself. I also look for diversity in a range of styles. I then bring them in under one centralized concept, and ask them to create entirely new work based on a speciﬁc size. Keeping a show size speciﬁc focuses the viewer in on the art, and not the actual scale of the work. In this way, the art is allowed to speak for itself. Artists can communicate through their various mediums, and be heard more clearly as well. Size speciﬁcs also can be practical when trying to determine how many works I can ﬁt into a space without making the show feel cramped.
In this show the artists have had a little more than a month and a half to create a work for this exhibition. After years of visiting artists in the studio, I began to notice that some of their best art was created under a deadline. In UNIVERSE I am highlighting that fact that artists can - and do - create amazing art often with little time. They are all master creators, and watching professional creatives at work is always inspiring.
Photo by Michael Cuffe
ME: Do you have any other-worldly stories?
MC: I've seen UFOs three times in my life, and I’d say that’s always stuck with me. The experiences have been strange, and most deﬁnitely otherworldly. From what I've seen with my own eyes, they sure don't look like they're from around here. :)
Photo by Michael Cuffe
ME: In general, what is your goal in curating art exhibitions?
MC: I want every show to be a fun experience for both the artists involved, and visitors to the gallery as well. With some structure, artists can really achieve amazing feats when they work towards a common goal. I’m just the facilitator. I see a group exhibition as one overall art piece, and there has to be structure when dealing with a large talent pool of creatives. Overall though, it’s always a fun process… and that is the goal. It’s all about the joy of the journey.
ME: You are the founder and editor of Warholian as well as an accomplished photographer and artist. How did you initially get started in your art career?
ME: What historical artists most inspire you?
MC: Edward Hopper, Alphonse Mucha, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Rene Magritte, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Chuck Close.
UNIVERSE: The Art of Existence opens April 12th at Modern Eden Gallery. More info about the exhibition can be found HERE.