For artist Harrell Fletcher, community itself it art. Though an object—a public sculpture, another artist’s paintings, documentay photographs from another museum, a rug—are sometimes at the heart of his based art projects, the work itself is always about human relationships and processes of community understanding. This Sunday at I.D.E.A. Space at Colorado College, Colorado College artist-in-residence Fletcher will host “Come Together: Colorado Springs” a open gathering for people to discuss the military with veterans of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as part of his larger project: “Active Engagement: Learning about the Military in Colorado Springs.” Full details of the event are below along with an interview and slide show featuring Fletcher and his wife Wendy Red Star we did in December about their “Made in India” project which was on dispaly at IDEA Space then.

Wendy Red Star & Harrell Fletcher Interview

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Though husband and wife Harrell Fletcher and Wendy Red Star both normally work separately in what could be loosely called community-based documentary art, they teamed up on “Made in India” after they accidentally received two of the exact same rugs as a gift. Rather than sending the rug back to the company, they decided to create an art project out of returning the value of the rug to the person who made it in India. In the process, the two were able to put human faces to interactions that normally remain anonymous and strictly monetary in a capitalist economy.

In the interview above (recorded in December), Fletcher and Red Star talk about their own separate work and the “Made In India” project.

Harrell Fletcher is current at the college working on the Active Engagement Project:

Active Engagement
March 28 — May 13, 2011, IDEA Space
Sunday, March 13, 4:30pm: Sneak Peek Reception & Performance
Active Engagement is a collaborative project between Resident Artist Harrell Fletcher and students in six Colorado College classes in the arts and social sciences. A Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually on socially engaged, interdisciplinary art and performance projects for over fifteen years. Through photography, video, dance, and narrative, Active Engagement will reflect Fletcher’s work with students and the broader Colorado Springs community.


2 Responses to The Objectless Objective: Harrell Fletcher’s Art Practice

  1. Bill Sulzman says:

    I have lived in Colorado Springs most of the last 50 years. No institution anywhere is as ingrained in the fiber of a city as the military is in Colorado Springs. The fact that Harrel Fletcher had access to students from 6 classes at Colorado College to “increase awareness” of the military here is like helping the folks in Newcastle understand coal mines.
    I have been a peace activist here for most of the past 40 years. It’s an uphill battle made more difficult by the likes of Harrel Fletcher and his project. The story in Monday’s paper was very upsetting to me and many others around here.

  2. John Andrews says:

    Bill –
    You’re a perfect candidate to involve yourself in Fletcher’s work. Maybe, by availing yourself the opportunity to see and experience the personal stories of those serving in the armed forces you may find some common ground and understanding that goes beyond your singularly sighted and wholly negative perception of anything and anyone that is associated with the military. The fact is, Colorado Springs has a large military community and that’s not going to change anytime soon, so what’s wrong with an attempt to build bridges with that community in an effort to create common bonds of understanding and cooperation? Sure, we all know that the military exists here, but what we don’t understand is that which lies beneath the adhesive of the “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers, it’s the thing that reveals the human side of the military and those that for whatever reason decided to become a part of it. I think Fletcher is doing something good here by providing a different lens through which we can view our community’s relationship with the military and the sociological, psychological and economic ramifications inherent within that relationship for good or ill. What’s wrong with a little dialog? You say you’ve got the peace thing down, but I think you could use some work in the love and understanding parts.



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