Beauty Mark

Beauty Mark

Contemporary Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO | 2013

Curated by Brad Cloepfil and Dominic Molon to celebrate CAM’s 10th Anniversary, the installation is part of the exhibition Place is the Space. Composed of two parts, Beauty Mark suggests our complex relationship to architectural structures and memory. The first part re-creates the de-installation of Downen’s work The Posture of Place, produced for CAM’s first Great Rivers Biennial in 2004. The removal of the art left a pattern of staggered, elliptical scars in the wall that are deliberately reconstructed here, implying how the physical remnants of every artist’s work presented at CAM has become a hidden part of the building’s history. For the new installation’s second component, Downen uses gold leaf (along with her father Wayland Downen and brother Greg Downen, master guilders) to fill in the long crack in the main gallery’s concrete floor. Downen’s work elevates a blemish – an inevitable result of the ambitious single pour of concrete – in the otherwise seamless surface of the museum floor.