Late spring shows at Utah Museum of Contemporary Art: Out Loud: Growing Pains, Parable Bodies by Moses Williams, 2024 Gala Art Auction: La Dolce Vita

Late spring is always special at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA). The Utah Review looks at three of the latest exhibitions, including Out Loud: Growing Pains, Parable Bodies by Moses Williams and the works by Utah artists that are available in the 2024 Gala Art Auction: La Dolce Vita.


A wonderful lead-in to the Utah Pride celebrations in early June, Growing Pains is one of the current exhibitions at UMOCA, featuring work by 21 young artists representing 14 Utah high schools .They completed a 12-week workshop series in the eighth edition of the museum’s Out Loud program, 

With each year of Out Loud, the young artists appear to be bolder in their use of media, especially in blending  creative forms, including installation pieces and video art, most notably this year.  During the workshops, the artists learned from professional queer artists and then decided individually how they wanted to respond to this year’s theme which played on the counterpoint of childhood nostalgia and the challenges of coming-of-age as a young queer individual in Utah, The artists are identified only by their first names, given that some are not yet out for fears of being ostracized by their families and friends.

The diversity of form and media in the show reflects precisely the desire for genuine diversity in the queer spectrum. Each artist wrote a short artistic statement about their work. Some artists contextualized their work in prose, while several used poetry.

Out Loud: Growing Pains, 2024, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit: Zachary Norman.

For example, Riley’s It Will Be Okay (acrylic and canvas on thread) comes from a classroom exercise the artist recalled his favorite teacher used, asking students to imagine their younger selves in front of them. Riley’s work presents the older version of himself comforting the teary-eyed younger version of himself, holding his phone. The work is composed with roses that spread out across the canvas. Joy, by Evan Hancock is a marvelously executed 8-mm film short documenting a life that he never lived. Hancock’s use of classic film format is masterfully used to create a sense that is utterly familiar even if it is entirely constructed as an imagination. An Untitled piece by Eva is clay, acrylic and moss, a visual homage to the classic children’s story The Giving Tree. As Eva moves into adulthood, the artist likens the connection to the tree in the story: “giving all of myself and breaking myself down to make others happy. For a time, I was lost and broken. Now, I am trying to care for myself. I am working towards nourishing and healing.”

The show is available through June 1, which will coincide with Family Art Saturday, 1-4 p,m,, with family-friendly craft making activities available for museum visitors.

Parable Bodies, Moses Williams, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit: Zachary Norman.


The museum’s AIR (Artist in Residence) Space gallery undergoes dramatic transformations from one UMOCA artist to the next but, in a superbly emphatic expression, Moses Williams has made exceptionally impactful use of the gallery space with Parable Bodies. It is a profound yet minimalistic installation with six components, including Last Walker, a 16-minute short film with outstanding videography by Zachary Norman and Morgan Smith, additional art from Alix Twiggs Wrights and an equally brilliant sound design score, with percussion, bass and backing vocals by Nora Price. There are five sculptural forms that are utterly realistic in their corporeal forms. As Williams notes about their surfaces, “they are not concrete, impenetrable barriers but rather porous, mutable, transitory skins clothing unique entities.”

Williams has flipped the dynamic of ritual and ceremony on its head. Instead of a grand cathedral, the traditional apotheosis of anthropocentric dominion over nature, Williams reimagines the spiritual place as a fascinating, humbling and incredibly calming reevaluation of the human relationship to the nonhuman bodies where we anchor our existence. Unlike the traditional Christian spiritual journey as marked in the Stations of the Cross and the accompanying prayers at each stop, Parable Bodies invites the viewer to its own mesmerizing and transfiguring experience of meditation upon the exhibition.  

The exhibition closes June 1.

2024 Gala Art Auction: La Dolce Vita, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit: Zachary Norman.


Dozens of local artists have donated artwork for the 2024 Annual Gala Art Auction Exhibition, in which auction proceeds will directly benefit artists and community members through UMOCA’s exhibitions, education, and Artist-in-Residence programs, supporting an expansive and experimental arts scene in Utah. The auction has generated approximately $30,000 annually.

The works are on display through June 8, when the auction will close. The list of artists include many names familiar to the Utah art community along with several first-timers to the auction. They include those whose works have been featured not only at UMOCA but also at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Ogden Contemporary Arts and many of the state’s other museums and major galleries. Those wishing to participate in the auction can visit this UMOCA page for the works and suggested bid prices. 

Featured artists include Trent Alvey; Alise Anderson; Jean Arnold; jane barnard; Mitchell Barton; Henry Becker; John Bell; Ian Burnley; Shalee Cooper; Paul Crow; Daniel Everett; Peter Everett; Nolan Flynn; Daniel George; Josh Graham; Jeff Griffin; Aaron Hegert; Russell Huiskamp; Levi Jackson; Janell James; Casey Jex Smith; Brooklynn Johnson; Christopher Kelly; Lenka Konopasek; Dimitri Kozyrev; Jiyoun Lee-Lodge; Jared Lindsay Clark; Colour Maisch; Frank McEntire; Cynthia McLoughlin; Alison Neville; Zachary Norman; Traci O’Very Covey; Andrew Rice; Jean Richardson; Holly Rios; Horacio Rodriguez; Jared Steffensen; James Talbot; Jimmi Toro; Gary Vlasic; Jerrin Wagstaff; Michelle Wentling; Josh Winegar; Jaclyn Wright.

For more information, see the UMOCA website.

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