Exploring ideas of threat and security in American society, artists Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin, known collectively as Type A, have conceived a new installation for MCA Denver entitled Guarded. The installation features an armed security guard stationed in the gallery monitoring nearly 30 objects deemed potentially dangerous by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). To highlight the theatrical nature of security procedures, the prohibited objects will only be visible to museum visitors on a series of closed-circuit security monitors.
While already a topic of much frustration and suspicion, the TSA's "Prohibited Items" list and its screening process have become a microcosm for the actions that contemporary Americans have either willingly or begrudgingly submitted themselves to in order to remain safe from terrorist acts. Guarded probes the public's view of these security measures, from outrage to ambivalence to helplessness, by bringing the prohibited items into a museum for the sole purpose of having them guarded. The installation provocatively asks visitors to explore their own feelings about fear and safety in America.
The artist team, Type A, has repeatedly focused its attention on the boundaries that distinguish social and private spaces. This installation builds on the artists' previous works, such as Barrier, 2009, in which the artists placed reinforced concrete traffic barricades, the kind commonly used to secure urban sites from terrorist attacks, in the galleries of the Tang Teaching Museum. Guarded similarly calls attention to the borders and boundaries that are ubiquitous in our post-9/11 world.
The exhibition at MCA Denver is sponsored in part by MCA Denver's Director's Vision Society members and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The museum would like to further thank the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.