Inside the Vault:
Truths & Myths from the Utah
State Fine Art Collection
The State Fine Art Collection, begun in 1899 as the Alice
Merrill Horne Collection, now consists of over
1,200 works by Utah artists in all media.
The pieces are on display in various state and
office buildings throughout Utah and many travel
with the Utah Arts Council Traveling Exhibition Program.
The continued acquisition of artwork
comes from purchases made through the
visual arts program and donations from patrons
and artists of the state of Utah.
This series is an effort to preserve
and share the stories and experiences surrounding
the artwork and artists of Utah as
seen through the eyes of the Utah Arts Council
Compiled by Laura Durham
Assistant Visual Arts Coordinator, Utah Arts Council
Gilbert Blowtorch Cooke
Richard Johnston was the chair of the art department at the University
of Utah and director of the Salt Lake Art Center for a while. Johnston
made the first Untitled Horse Form in 1990 for the main quad on the UVSC
campus in Orem. The original piece was brightly colored with reds and blues.
As is the case with many contemporary pieces, someone didn’t like
it. In this case, that someone was Gilbert Cooke. Cooke was an administrator
for UVSC and apparently his distaste for the sculpture grew to such aggressive
levels that he hired a grounds worker to take a blowtorch to the piece
over Christmas break in 1996.
Obviously, this caused a big stir in the art community. In 2001, the
piece was reinstalled at a different location. Johnston decided to make
the second version all black because it was "a much more serious piece
now.” The original was meant to be playful. He and the piece had both
been through hell.
Gilbert Cooke remains in administration at UVSC and someone told me his
business card reads “blowtorch” underneath his name, but I don’t know how
true that is.
Biggs Larsen on the spot:
ARE YOU READING LATELY?
As much as I can -- "A Girl Named Zippy" by Haven Kimmel, "Another
Beauty" by Adam Zagajewski, The New Testament, the 1956 Betty Crocker
Picture Cook Book, a 1774 Anicent Songs and Ballads collection, and,
of course, Lance Larsen's latest poems and essays.
WHAT IS HANGING
ABOVE YOUR MANTEL?
Nothing. It's a beautiful blank wall. The bare canvas idea. Room
for images to grow.
YOU CHOOSE TO PAINT OR SCULPT
The quilt makers of
Gee's Bend, Alabama -- especially Polly Bennett. I'd like to see how she
would translate a person into squares and strips.
Public Issues: Salt Lake City
This Little Piggy Went to Uffens Marketplace
by Linda Bergstrom
It’s that time of year again. Time for the Farmer’s Market at Pioneer
Park to open it’s proverbial doors and welcome the eager public. But along
with throngs of produce-buyers and art-lovers, the Market's opening has
also brought much controversy in the community of artists regarding the
artists selling their wares in the park.
The “non-paying” artists, that is.
Starting last summer, the Downtown Alliance added the new “Arts and
Crafts Market” area to the Farmer’s Market, which has been a thriving success.
The artists pay either on a weekly basis, or for the entire summer for
these coveted booth spaces. One hundred feet away from these artists, the
“free speech” artists have set up booth space to sell their wares, much
to the aggravation of the farmers and the booth-paying artists.
This struggle between commerce and free speech has gone to the Salt
Lake City Council, where upwards of twenty artists showed up in one week
to speak their piece to the council members regarding their feelings on
these issues. Farmers and their advocates also showed up at the Council
meetings to share their displeasure about the “renegade” artists (sometimes
referred to as "parasites") who set up at the Farmer’s Market. There were
also impassioned pleas from the free-speech artists, encouraging the City
Council members to vote in favor of the artists selling for free in Pioneer
Park, wherever they pleased.
The Council ended up somewhere in-between, deciding to allow the
free-speech artists to stay at Pioneer Park, at a distance of 150 feet
from the Farmer’s Market and Arts and Crafts Market. A $30.00 fee has
also been levied, which has angered some artists who feel it is their
First Amendment right to display their works in public, free of charge.
Where public entities have failed to find a solution, the private
sector may be able to provide some assistance. Uffens Marketplace,
just north of Pioneer Park at 336 West Broadway (300 South) is offering
artists booth space free of charge.
Uffens Marketplace was built with Pike Place Market in Seattle in
mind. Due to the raging success of the Farmer’s Market in Pioneer Park
over the last few years, the idea of a year-round marketplace with booths
for artists and crafters is a brilliant idea waiting to come to fruition.
All they need are the artists. A sort of “If you build it...they will come”
mentality. And since it is private property, it is free. Free for the artist
or performer to set up a in a 6’ by 8’ booth space in a beautiful venue.
Free to be successful.
Marketplace is just north of Pioneer Park, organizers believe that participating
artists will get a great deal of traffic from the Farmer’s Market, but
be able to be in a place where they are welcomed. Nay...needed. This is
not to say this space will always be free, but if there is a fee, it will
be much smaller than the $30.00 fee required by the city.
Uffens Marketplace is a beautiful, urban venue, ripe for artists and
performers, located just north of Pioneer Park at 336 West Broadway (300
South). If you‘ve never been there, it‘s a must-see. Having the historic
Firestone building which houses Tony Caputo’s Market and Carlucci’s Bakery
on one side, one can see this space becoming the year-round marketplace that
is so charming in most major cities. Uffens even has its own mascot,. Petunia
the Pig. Once you locate the hefty statue of Petunia, go up the stairs
and you’ll see a series of large garage-type doors which open up to provide
amazing space, inside or out. Artists and performers of all genres are encouraged
to set up on the sidewalks in front of the garage doors, or inside the
garage’s spacious areas.
It would benefit all public artists to take advantage of this incredible
opportunity, while there is still space available. It took years for
the Farmer’s Market to become the success that it is now, with the artists,
farmers, and a supportive public working diligently together to make that
happen. The artists of Salt Lake City are part of a unique and thriving
arts community, and can successfully function together within that community
without ill feelings toward each other. Uffens Marketplace is providing
a way for the free-speech artists and the booth paying artists to co-exist
together, with each maintaining their rights and dignities as artists.
If you are an artist, or a performer, it would benefit you to take advantage
of the incredible opportunity being offered at Uffens Marketplace.
For information on selling at Uffens Marketplace, call Jeff Martin
at 792-4661, and check out their website at
Artists of Utah News
Spring Support Drive
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