Denver: Art installation confronts airport ‘security theater’

"Guarded" opens March 30 at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art.

An exhibition starting March 30 highlights TSA’s prohibited objects

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Savvy flyers have long speculated that airport searches and safety checks are a form of security theater, at once meant to reassure travelers and to let terrorists know that they can’t just walk on to a plane without being challenged.

Starting March 30, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art will explore ideas of threat and security in American society with an exhibit by Type A. The two-man artist collective — Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin —have assembled a collection of about 30 objects deemed potentially dangerous by the Transportation Security Administration.

To highlight the theatrical nature of security procedures, the prohibited objects will be guarded by an armed security officer and only be visible to museum visitors on a series of closed-circuit security monitors.

According to a press release from the museum, the TSA’s prohibited items list and airport screening procedures have become a microcosm for the actions that contemporary Americans have either willingly or begrudgingly submitted themselves to in order to remain safe from terrorist acts — not mention a topic of much frustration and suspicion.

The exhibit, called Guarded, probes the public’s view of these security measures, from outrage to ambivalence to helplessness, by bringing the prohibited items into a museum for the sole purpose of having them guarded. Some visitors may be spurred to  explore their own feelings about fear and safety in America.

Type A, has repeatedly focused its attention on the boundaries that distinguish social and private spaces. This installation builds on the artists’ previous works, such as Barrier, 2009, in which the artists placed reinforced concrete traffic barricades, the kind commonly used to secure urban sites from terrorist attacks, in the galleries of the Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY. Guarded similarly calls attention to the security measures that are ubiquitous in our post-9/11 world.

The exhibition at MCA Denver is sponsored in part by MCA Denver’s Director’s Vision Society members and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.  The museum would like to further thank the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Museum Location, Hours and Ticket Prices

MCA Denver is located at 1485 Delgany on the corner of 15th Street and Delgany, Denver, CO. Telephone: 303-298-7554.  Museum hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 6 p.m.. The Museum is closed on Monday. General admission is $10, senior and student tickets are $5. MCA Denver offers a $1 discount for visitors who come to the Museum via public transportation. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free.


4 thoughts on “Denver: Art installation confronts airport ‘security theater’

  1. I love this! Congratulations to the artists, and I thank them for provoking the kinds of conversations we ought to be having about this country’s irrational and paranoid anything-for-security tone.

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