A TASK party will take place between 5 and 9 p.m. Oct. 21 at Gallery 210 at UMSL.

German-born artist Oliver Herring wants people to channel their creativity. To help them do so, he travels the country throwing parties involving a simple game – one that results in artwork making up a unique exhibit. He calls this TASK and he’s throwing one such party from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 21 at Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

TASK is an improvisational event with a straightforward structure and very few rules. Its open-ended, participatory structure creates almost unlimited opportunities for a group of people to interact with one another and their environment. The party is a platform for people to express and test their own ideas in an environment without a focus or failure or success or any preconceptions of what can or should be done with an idea or material.

How it works is simple. First, a task is written down on a piece of paper and then thrown into a task pool. Next, a participant draws a task from the pool. He or she can then artistically interpret the task anyway the participant chooses, using whatever materials and space is available.

When the task is completed, a new task is written and added to the pool, and the process begins anew. The continuous conception and interpretation of tasks is both chaotic and purpose driven. It is a complex, ever-shifting environment of people who connect with one another through what is going on around them. And one person’s task can become absorbed into other people’s tasks – objects generated from one task are recycled into someone else’s task without issues of ownership or permanence.

Herring will then curate an exhibition from the objects created by the TASK participants. “TASK,” the exhibit, will also feature work by Herring. The exhibit will be on display Oct. 28 to Dec. 3.

The Department of Art and Art History at UMSL, The Center for the Humanities at UMSL, Regional Arts Commission and Missouri Arts Council sponsor “TASK.” All Gallery 210 events are free and open to the public.

Gallery 210 was established in 1976 at UMSL. It was named for its initial location, 210 Lucas Hall. The gallery has since grown to include three exhibition spaces and a 50-seat auditorium at its current location, the Telecommunity Center at UMSL, 1 University Blvd. in St. Louis County (63121).

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment.

More information:

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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