Hilary McBeard's Valentine's Day installation — more than 150 ceramic cups spread about a late-revealed location — figures to be unique, and not just because guerilla art galleries are rare in Colorado Springs.
Once they find out via Facebook where it's happening, locals will be welcome to interact with the space, move the cups and, in fact, take one home. McBeard doesn't see attendees as deconstructing the installation; instead, she sees them helping spread it, like an artistic virus.
Clay Cups is hopeful Dadaism and abstract expression combined with public awareness and interaction, and it's influenced by 2011's Cakebox Show, in which Jonas McCluggage clipped his sketches and small works to a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 25. It's also a celebration of what the 28-year-old McBeard calls "the simplest form."
"It's a basic cylinder," she says, "but it at the same time is the most functional form. Everyone loves cups. Everybody knows what it is and everybody has some use for it."
McBeard created each cup by hand, pulling from a bucket of scraps containing porcelain and red, white and gritty clay. Having already sold many ceramics in seasonal art shows around southern Colorado, she wanted to break away from clone-goods manufacturing.
So do not show up looking for a set of four perfectly matching cups. Do show up appreciating the importance of individuality, and community. Bradley Flora, an Indy photographer who helped with the concept of the show, explains that "People will be encouraged to ... take one of the cups, for free, in an interactive manner which will be revealed along with the location."
McBeard says the locale will have something to do with love — hence the date — but won't reveal more. This isn't secrecy for secrecy's sake, she adds; it's that she doesn't want to be disturbed while assembling the initial phase of the presentation.
After all, once the art-lovers arrive, it's completely out of her hands.
"This is something we are not controlling," she says. "As soon as the first person takes a cup, depending on which cup they take or move, the whole thing is going to change."