Denver Butson the sum of uncountable things
May 5 – May 29, 2015
Opening Reception: May 2nd 6p – 9pm
the sum of uncountable things
Poetry Collides with Painting, Sculpture, Invention and Sound at Court Tree Collective.
Court Tree Collective in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn is proud to host the sum of uncountable things: collaborations/interactions/conversations with the poetry of Denver Butson, a rare collision of poetry with other arts in a gallery setting. (Wine graciously provided by Deadly Chaps Press. Dumplings on opening night provided by Kar Yee from Kar Yee Noodle Shop)
Bringing together thirteen visual artists (painters, sculptors, inventors, and filmmakers) for the month-long exhibition, launching a book also called the sum of uncountable things (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), hosting fiction and poetry readings, and staging two music/poetry performances, as well as a poetry reading with actors, Court Tree is thrilled to offer poetry as it is not usually experienced . . . not only in conversation with art on the walls but also in interaction and collaboration with performing artists.
the sum of uncountable things will present work that is somehow related to (some of it from on-going collaboration, some of it from first-time interaction) the poetry of Denver Butson. Butson, author of three previous books of poetry — triptych, Mechanical Birds, and illegible address — and the newly published the sum of uncountable things (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), is A New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, a Campbell Corner Poetry Prize “Distinguished Entry,” and a frequently featured poet on National Public Radio’s Writer’s Almanac. His work appears in anthologies edited by Billy Collins, Garrison Keillor, and Agha Shahid Ali and in such journals as Yale Review, Ontario Review, Caliban, Willow Springs, Exquisite Corpse, Field, knockout, Quarterly West, and elsewhere.
The visual component of this exhibition — a startlingly original combination of painting, sculpture, invention and film/video — brings together an impressive array of talent, including:
- the poet’s brother and painter Gary Butson,
- Bush Fellow and NEA recipient photographer/camera maker Cedric N. Chatterley,
- NYFA Fellow and internationally exhibited visual artist Pietro Costa,
- celebrated Ohio-born painter Dennis Dawson,
- choreographer and painter Melissa Goodling,
- Emmy Award Winning Comic Artist Dean Haspiel,
- Italian painter and sculptor Orazio,
- Emmy and Peabody Award Winning Film/Videomaker Eric Maierson,
- visual artist/coder Maria Mercedes Martinez,
- poet/artist/art organizer and publisher Joseph A.W. Quintela, painter/printmaker/papermaker Karen Revis,
- artist/inventor/kinetic sculptor Walter Rossi,
- and Fulbright scholar/painter Toni Ann Serratelli.
In addition to playing host to these fine artists, the sum of uncountable things will also serve as as the May 2nd book launch for Butson’s new collection of poetry by the same title.
the sum of uncountable things is, in the words of Zachary Lazar (novelist and recent recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ prestigious John Updike Award) “a missive from the ‘only café left at the end of the world,’” and “a ghostly meditation on time, loss, betrayal, memory, desire—all the flavors of this world, which we will miss so dearly when they and we are gone.”
Celebrated, contemporary poet Matthew Rohrer writes “the sum of uncountable things is a beautiful little book, inside and out; a long poem in prose punctuated unusually, making a rhythm that propels you forwards. Memory and dreams fuse. Coffee is brought unbidden. Come sit for a minute while Denver Butson juggles the past, present and future sitting in a café, waiting to plead his case to eternity.”
During the exhibition, Court Tree will host several related events:
“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to work with these artists,” Butson said about these collaborations,” and “moved beyond words by what the artists have brought to these conversations. This show for me is as big and important to me as any collection of poems I have done, not only because I get to see my work in a different way, but because I get to rub up against some of the people whose work I like and appreciate the most.”
Butson’s poetry has been praised by many writers since his first book came out in 1999. Among those writers are Edmund White, Jim Harrison, Agha Shahid Ali, XJ Kennedy, WS Merwin, Thom Gunn, Tomaž Šalumun, and more.
About Denver Butson, Billy Collins wrote “Here is a poet who is wild, frenzied, and refreshingly mad. His imagination unlocks for us the cells of reason and sets us loose in a world of dizzying possibilities.”
Some of those “possibilities” unlocked will be seen and heard here at Court Tree in May.