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Of The Siren And The Sky

Dec 7, 2021 – Feb 23, 2013

Curated By Triple Candie

Of the Siren and the Sky is the first proper museum exhibition on the career of Siren Bliss, a Salt Lake City native who, by his own account, has made more than 80,000 artworks. Curated by Triple Candie, the presentation includes recreations of the artist’s drawings and sculptures, posters containing statements by him, and photographs and objects related to his life story.

An enigma to anyone but his closest associates, Siren Bliss has eschewed all involvement with the mainstream contemporary art world. In fact, his career choices could be viewed as a satirization of the art system and its star-making machinery. Following a brief collaboration with the artist Paul McCarthy in the late 1960s and a decade in Los Angeles, Bliss became a nomadic mystic who has operated under multiple identities, traded his art on the barter system, and operated his own itinerant museum. By 1997, his work was in more corporate collections than any other artist. The Security and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) estimated the value of this work in excess of $250 million.

This exhibition provides a glimpse of an epic career, focusing primarily on work made by the artist during stints in Salt Lake City by addressing a series of 750 sculptures he made, under the nom de guerre Sky Jones, with the homeless in 1992-93 as part of a recycling project. Also included is a visit to the Bankers Art Museum, which he founded for his work in 1988 and operated under the pseudonyms Joseph Banker, Richard S. Dickens, and Art Carter; as well as thousands of drawings Bliss made in 2003 while operating the BAM Drawing Club.