Black Cube: Denver’s Nomadic Museum Freeing Art From Galleries
In just five years, the nomadic museum Black Cube has established itself as a jewel of the Front Range cultural scene, pushing the boundaries of art exhibition beyond traditional white-cube galleries and museums. Black Cube has set up ambitious, large-scale art installations in surprising public spaces and launched wild performances not just across Colorado, but around the world, all while hosting critical conversations about art, culture and politics.
Black Cube’s work is proudly decentralized. Curator and director Cortney Lane Stell finds organizational inspiration in aspen groves, grasses and other rhizomatic biological structures that take root horizontally and spread. In her case, that’s been around the globe, though she and Black Cube still call Denver — and, most recently, an industrial building in Englewood that she’s dubbed Black Cube Headquarters — home.
Black Cube was founded by artist and philanthropist Laura Merage and the David and Laura Merage Foundation — whose money came, in part, from the family company that created Hot Pockets. Merage also helped found RedLine Contemporary Art Center in 2008. While RedLine has supported Denver’s arts community and created a world-class, non-commercial exhibition space in Five Points, Black Cube has brought artists from around the world into the Rocky Mountain region while exporting homegrown talent to other communities. Both institutions play an outsized role in Denver’s arts scene, often producing more vital work than better-funded behemoths like the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.