Tim Van Schmidt
I’m glad I got to see the current exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Art in the light of day.
The show, “Beauty & the Beast: An Unexpected Journey,” is a two-artist exhibit of work by Lorri Acott and Adam Schultz, featuring individual pieces of sculpture and more as well as collaborations.
What is the same about their work is a kind of upbeat playfulness and a mysterious lyrical quality that helps unlock doors to somewhere else, some other time.
During my daytime visit to MoA, I was able to see the details of the pieces and read the placards.
But now I’m thinking that I’d like to see Acott’s and Schultz’s collection of work in the middle of the night when the museum is closed and Old Town is quiet. I think that’s when the mythical-like spirits they have created in piece after piece will really come alive.
Acott’s antler people will gingerly slide off of their stands, reaching out with their long legs to step across the gallery and fawn over Schultz’s brawny bear. The three sisters will rise and move fluidly together from room to room, laughing all the way. The lion will get up, yawn, and start pacing.
Meanwhile, a fish without a belly will float through the air while a child begins slowly swinging inside the chest of an older figure. Long-legged horses will start scampering around while a fierce eagle begins his guard duty by the windows.
The big silver person bent to the floor will stand and watch over all that is happening, beaming in the moonlight.
You don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about the fantastical spirits in the work by Acott and Schultz. The exhibit, “Beauty & the Beast”, is framed around the old fairy tale, but there are many more characters and stories suggested by the show — strange, mysterious, and fascinating.
A lot of the show is sculpture, from small works to large. But there are also some paintings sprinkled in, giving an experiential contrast to the 3-D nature of sculpture — and a little extra splash of color.
You may already be familiar with work by Acott and Schultz. That’s Acott’s “Conversations with Myself” sculpture standing in front of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, featuring a very tall person bending to communicate with a small person.
In the Memory Garden at Pathways Hospice, that’s Schultz’s piece, “Compassion” — a tall centerpiece that flows upward to an active, stylized heart. Also, Schultz’s “Magical Fish” is in the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland.
Together, the pair have been collaborating on large-scale sculptures for public places, installing pieces throughout the country as Dream Big. See their site at dreambigsculpture.com for info on that.
It takes special artists who can “dream big” enough to fill an outdoor space. But Schultz and Acott accomplish the same thing inside MoA’s galleries with “Beauty and the Beast”.
The extra bonus here is that “Beauty and the Beast” is accompanied by “Unpacking the Shadow”, an exhibit organized by Acott to aid women’s expression. Dozens of women contributed art pieces limited to the size of a three-inch cube, as well as some writing. Each piece reveals the unique visions, personalities, and stories of the artists.
There’s an excellent video by NOCO videographer Herb Saperstone on Acott’s site covering the original installation of “Unpacking the Shadow” in Lakewood. Saperstone also covered the installation of one of Schultz’s works, “Flying Together”, in a time-lapse video on YouTube at “Herbsearth” and contributed the interview video playing during the pair’s current MoA exhibition.
Even more, the current MoA exhibit includes an interactive gallery, “Together Stories”, inspired by the artistic vision of the “Beauty & the Beast” show. See the museum’s site at moafc.org for info on how you can see everything.
When I visited “Beauty and the Beast,” I wasn’t really planning to go anywhere in particular. That was the “unexpected journey” part for me — to go to a place I had not expected to go or even knew existed.
That’s good art when that happens and now that I’ve been there, thanks to Acott and Schultz, I wouldn’t mind going back — maybe after midnight.
Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. View his channel on YouTube at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt.”