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Devon Dikeou was born in 1963 in Denver, Co. She lived in NYC from the mid 80s to 2007. She now resides in Austin, TX.
Devon Dikeou is an artist, the editor/publisher of zingmagazine, and a Contemporary Art collector (Dikeou Collection). As an artist, she has concentrated her artistic efforts in defining the spaces that act as interfaces between the artist, the context of viewing the art—gallery/museum/street/magazine/art fair—and the collector. Often her work implicates the viewer into a participatory role, by delineating viewing contexts and critiquing spaces, ways art works are typically exhibited, or meant to be seen, much less collected or written about. The visual means she employs distinctly reiterate or re-enrich Conceptual models in their physical reality. Her titles are meant to further delve into these ideas by tapping into popular culture, creating another level of critique. This defining principle of the interchanging dynamics of artists, spaces, contexts, critics, and collectors has informed the genesis of zingmagazine and the Dikeou Collection, both of which she founded as part of her artistic practice.
As an artist, Dikeou has taken part in over 130 gallery shows, 20 of which were solo. Among the highlights: her ongoing series, “What’s Love Got to Do with It,”  which was first shown in 1991 in an exhibition curated by Kenny Schachter.
Replicating the directory boards in gallery lobbies of the 1980s—most prominently seen in the 420 West Broadway building in Soho when it was occupied by the pre-eminent dealer Leo Castelli—she made a sign for her first group exhibition listing the artists in the show, venue, curator, exhibition title, and dates. The series expanded to encompass every group exhibition she has participated in since, and was exhibited at Postmasters (1998).Postmasters. More recently, a selection of 10 directory boards was exhibited in the New Museum in a show entitled “NYC 1993: Jet Set, Trash and No Star” (2013) and 18 boards were shown at the Flag Art Foundation (2009).
Another important ongoing work, “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler,” made its debut at Tricia Collins Grand Salon (1997).
The same piece was selected and shown in the Art Basel 29 Statements Section (1998), and was also a finalist in the Mandarina Duck “Search for Art” competition (2000). Like “The Mixed Up Files...” many of Dikeou’s other installations examine the floor a gallery-goer walks on—she has made large floor installations by bringing asphalt into the gallery to make a parking lot, reclaiming cement imprints from Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and fashioning Victorian ceiling tin into an upside down carpet.
Another work, “The Niney Chronicles,” details the fictional life of her childhood security blanket and was mentioned in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” during its exhibition at the Williamsburg gallery Artmoving (2008).
And several of her individual pieces were grouped together for an installation in the Paris offices of Outcasts incorporated, and questioned the role of art in an office situation called “Ideal Office” (2002). Her show at 179 Canal, “It's Deja Vu All Over Again” chronicled zingmagazine’s then 15-year history in a special edition of “What's Love Got to Do with It”, listing all the curators of each issue (2010). This exhibition was followed by a show at Domy Bookstore in Austin, TX. Titled “You Can Observe a Lot by Watching”, it traces the way communication is rendered through a series of sculptures, installations, and performance (2010).
Most recently, Dikeou exhibited a work curated by Heather Pesanti, at The Contemporary Austin, TX. Originally executed at Artpace San Antonio, but not shown, the piece replicated photographically the last 16 paintings the impressionist Édouard Manet created before dying. Entitled, “Please”, the photographs, all reproduced to the same size of the Manet originals, compositionally duplicated the paintings’s floral bouquet arrangements in hand blown glass vases. The photographs were displayed in a series of Chinese box rooms that eventually disclosed the paintings surrounding all the vase relics atop an antique table and bookended by infinity mirrors. Also displayed were Pace Picante jars filled with dried bouquets’s blossoms also on an antique table, as well as a photographic image the artist took in the Wendy and Emery Reves Wing of the Dallas Museum, of the place where usually is displayed one of the 16 original Manet paintings. The installation addresses many of the artists concerns with curation, memory, loss, collection, and the history of those practices.
Artist Projects in Art Fairs
Dikeou is very interested the role art fairs play in the way art is viewed. She explored this in her installation “Reserved for Leo Castelli,” a wall mural installation made from the image of a nameplate reserving a seat for aforementioned art dealer at Mezzogiorno Restaurant in Soho, which premiered at the inaugural Independent Art Fair (2010). Similarly, Dikeou made a partner wall mural installation of a nameplate for Ileana Sonnabend. “Reserved for Ileana Sonnabend” which reserves a table for the angel of the famed art dealer. It premiered as a special artist’s project at NADA Miami Beach (2010). “Not Quite Mrs De Menil’s Liquor Closet” another installation was also shown NADA Miami Beach, and in it she exhibited the work of over 150 artists that had gifted Dikeou art or that for which she had traded. The closet replicated the liquor closet of famous art collector Dominique De Menil (2012). In these art fair installations Dikeou critiques and probes the relationship of collecting, dealing, and viewing art in the commercial environment.
More recently at NADA 2013, Dikeou sent 76 American Museums a formal letter inviting them to participate in ”Pay What You Wish, but You Must Pay Something”, in which she asked each museum to let her replicate and display a copy of their donation box/es. 16 institutions participated and 18 donation boxes were replicated and displayed, at various points at the fair. Each day of the fair the funds gathered were tabulated and eventually sent back to the museums. Four boxes were displayed in a booth with an image of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s admission policy, along with the letter that was sent to all the museums—the entire installation was a commentary on the role of non profits in the commercial atmosphere of an Art Fair, the way in which we give to culture and its diminishing capacity to attract attention, and how function has co-opted tropes of minimalism.
Dikeou was also selected for an artist’s residency at Artpace in San Antonio, curated by Heather Pesanti. For her residency at Artpace, Dikeou again explored issues of curatorial memory—exploring the realm of jazz and all its selective history. The artist exhibited 55 photographs of hotel rooms ostensibly reserved for 55 jazz giants. Noting that one jazz great was missing, Dikeou created a 56th name plate for friend and Alto Sax/English Horn impresario Sonny Simmons. Along with 56 photographs—mounted on wood and installed salon style on wood paneled wall—the artist, Artpace, and Outcasts Incorporated a produced a CD, “Sonny Simmons Performs the Music of Charlie Parker +”, the print run of which was left in its shipping box and displayed as a giveaway in the exhibition area.
Among the tracks on the CD is a spoken-word piece in which Simmons—one of only four of the 56 still surviving musicians—comments on the 56 jazz legends displayed. Accompanying the sound piece is a wall mural of Simmons’ imaginary name plate reserving a room or space in the virtual hotel of jazz superstars. Lastly, following Dikeou's tradition of collaboration, she curated two drawings by Chad Dawkins into her solo residency exhibition. The drawings are internet responses to searches for songs by Simmons. The entire installation is titled “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”. (2011)
As part of Dikeou’s artistic practice, and again with her interest in the dynamics between artist, viewer, viewing context, critic, and collector she founded zingmagazine, where she is editor/publisher. Currently in its 19th year, zingmagazine has published the work of over 300 contributors in its unique curatorial format: zing invites different artistic professionals to publish projects in a 2-16 page format in the magazine, or in unique and distinct publishing formats (i.e. Independent Books, Music CDs, Cassette Tapes, Posters, Postcards, Special Fashion Bags). To date there have been 23 annual issues and each compilation has between 180-400 pages. While Dikeou is editor and publisher, it is her curatorial vision that has guided the editorial choices and curatorial format. zingmagazine has enjoyed international distribution and critical success. Among its accolades, zing won the Council for Literary Magazines and Presses prestigious Fiction Award. zingmagazine has participated in over 70 International Art Fairs, including Art Basel, Art Miami Basel, NADA Miami Beach, The Armory, Art Forum Berlin, Untitled, among others. One of its key presentation formats at some of these fairs was the zingmagazine Projection Drawing Series, in which several international artists participated. An online off shoot of zingmagazine came into existence in 2002 in the form of zingrecs. As a weekly newsletter, zingrecs is sent to over 15,000 people and lists art and culture events in five US cities, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and Austin.
In 1998 Dikeou formed the Dikeou Collection with her brother, Pany Dikeou. As an extension of zingmagazine, the Collection aims to create a dialogue between the publication’s presentation of curated projects and the reality of art in installation, and again comes out the artist’s own strategy of implicating and engendering the interfaces between the artist, the viewing context, viewer, critic, and collector. Much of the work in the Dikeou Collection, no matter what medium, aims to reflect major forces in each artists’ oeuvre and reflects the very conditions that exist between artist, viewer, context, critic, and collector. The Collection is free and open to the public in Downtown Denver and houses permanent installations of over 30 artists in a variety of mediums from photography to drawing, video to painting, sculpture to installations. The Collection has several public programs, including a Contemporary Poetry and Written Word Performance Series, a Reading Group Series, the first being the Artist’s/Collector’s/Writer’s Lecture Series. Lectures are planned as a permanent programming function. The Dikeou Collection has hosted many select groups from local Colorado Art Institutions including: the Denver Art Museum, the University of Colorado Museum of Art, The Museo de las Americas, The Lab at Belmar, and the MCA Denver, the Aspen Art Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Boulder and the Soundpainting Group among others. The Dikeou Collection was featured in The BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors, and Private Spaces by Peter Doroshenko. The Collection is located in downtown Denver.
Independent Curatorial Projects
Aside from her curatorial work at zingmagazine, Dikeou has curated several independent exhibitions: “Between the Acts” C/O Oslo, Norway, and Ice Box, Athens, Greece, (1996 catalogue) “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”, MCA Denver, (2000), “Vik Muniz Re-mastered: Photographs from the West Collection” (with Lee Stoetzel) at the Museo of the Americas, Denver (2007). She was a guest curator for RX Art Ball in NYC (2007). Artpace and the Dikeou Collection co-exhibited work in “Swap Meet: Artpace and the Dikeou Collection” (2012), co-curated with Mary Heathcott. Dikeou is also an independent writer/critic, and she has published four international essays for artist’s catalogues, and Vogue Condé Nast Publications.
Dikeou has been a Teaching Mentor at the School of Visual Arts in Fine Art Photography, participated in several Parsons’ Final Photography Reviews as well as a Final Review at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, and lectured at Brown University. She is current member of the Drawing Center’s new Drawing Room Board. She is a past member of the Advisory Board at MCA: Denver, as well as part of their Architectural Search Committee, which resulted in their David Adjaye designed museum. She received the Sue Cannon Award from the MCA for her artistic efforts in Denver. Dikeou was also on the advisory board of mixedgreens in NY. zingmagazine is a member of LCMP, Literary Magazine Council of Presses. The Dikeou Collection is a member of IC Independent Collectors.
Dikeou attended Brown University, graduating with honors in 1986, where she was awarded the Albin Polasek Award for Fine Arts, and did her graduate work at the School of Visual Arts, MFA Program, graduating 1988. She worked for the ‘80s curatorial team Collins and Milazzo, and interned under John Post Lee at Tibor de Nagy Gallery. In High School she was an intern for Senator Gary Hart, where she worked the auto pen.
- Tom Moody, Artforum, January 1998, page 102 ""
- Gregory Volk, Art in America
- Devon Dikeou Official Site
- Dikeou Collection Official Site
- zingmagazine Official Site
- Denver’s best-kept art secret is on the 16th Street Mall
- Dikeou Collection in Modern in Denver
- "Pay What You Wish" in Art in America
- Blouin Artinfo: Devon Dikeou Peppered Museum Donation Boxes Around NADA Miami Beach
- Art F City: The Definitive NADA Slideshow and Commentary
- Dennis Scholl's NADA Miami Beach 2013 Highlights
- Whitewall: Best of NADA 2013
- Review in ...might be good
- Review in the Austin Chronicle
- Review on Glasstire
- Glasstire: It's in the Water
- Review in Plaza de Armas
- Interview Magazine Online, "“Malls for America: Devon Dikeou at 179 Canal”
- “Reservation Required”, Art in America Online
- "Wish You Were Here", Artnet
- "Liquor Closet of Curiosities", The Art Newspaper
- "Rocky Mountain High", Artnet
- "Can An Art Fair Ever Be More Than An Art Fair?", Hyperallergic
- " Design Miami 2012 Report", Wallpaper
- "Sweet and Dreamy", Westword
- "What You Think You See", Denver Post
- Devon Dikeou, West Collection
- "Denver's Art Scene Soars....", USA Today
- Top Fifteen Picks Around Miami Beach, Art Basel 2012
- ARTINFO: From ABMB to Untitled: 50 Greatest Hits from Miami's Art Fair Extravaganza