Calling all friends and fiends … The Modern Culture art group launches first show

Sometimes all it takes is a grand idea and a little liquor to propel a vague concept into reality. For artists Rebecca Crutcher, 28, and Jill Morgan, 25, The Modern Culture art collective was devised amid tequila and friends in 2005. Back then they called it “The Anthropologists of the Modern Culture,” more of an online venture where Crutcher, Morgan and friends could show their artwork. Three years later, Modern Culture is more than 25 members strong, and the first event, “Friends N Fiends,” takes over the Mellwood Art & Entertainment Center Saturday evening. 

submitted photo: Jill Morgan and Rebecca Crutcher’s The Modern Culture collective includes more than 25 local contemporary artists in varied mediums.

submitted photo: Jill Morgan and Rebecca Crutcher’s The Modern Culture collective includes more than 25 local contemporary artists in varied mediums.

The Modern Culture is an open forum for creativity, Morgan says. The group includes local contemporary artists of varied backgrounds — from photography, printmaking and painting to mixed media and sculpture. “It wasn’t too hard to get artists together on this,” Morgan says. “Most are friends or friends of friends. Louisville has an abundant amount of young talent in its arts community, and we want to exhibit that.”

Curators Crutcher and Morgan are independently funding “Friends N Fiends,” which will meld both art and music. The Invaders, Natural Geographic and DJs Sam Sneed and Stan Doll are among the performers. “We basically have been very DIY about it,” Morgan says. “The beauty of having group shows is they involve the community, and they give newer artists with a smaller portfolio the opportunity to show their work.”

The “Friends” concept is easy to understand, but the “Fiend” part requires a deeper explanation than its alliterative charm. “It can be a person who is highly skilled or gifted in something; a person who is extremely addicted to some pernicious habit — in our case, that habit is art; a person or thing that causes mischief or annoyance; and a person who is excessively interested in some game, habit, etc.,” Morgan says. “We feel like that pretty much sums up ourselves and our friends.” 

Artist Gina Gentile-Moeller is creating new work for the show, and says she doesn’t have to stretch too far for the “Fiend” aspect. The creatures and monsters she typically paints are anything but innocent. “It just so happens that most of my pieces would usually fit into the ‘fiends’ category,” she says. “I’m currently obsessed with pigeons. So there will be some definite pigeon action.”

Morgan hopes “Friends N Fiends” will be more of a celebration of art than the uptight, formal evening sometimes found at gallery openings. “We make stuff, and we’re content with that. The art may be gritty or dirty or smooth around the edges,” she says. “Our whole premise is that art is taken too seriously. Why can’t it be about just the sheer beauty it evokes?”

Crutcher adds that The Modern Culture is partly a reaction to the current state of the world. “Our work evolves out of our subconscious and melds with what we visually soak in on a daily basis — from arts, music, surroundings, politics and the current election. There is this looming feeling of a need for a more peaceful world, it’s as if we are on the verge of something new and beautiful. We believe this is something felt amongst our peers and that we all interpret it in varying forms of art and music.” 

‘Friends N Fiends’ 

Saturday, Aug. 9

Mellwood Art & Entertainment Center

1860 Mellwood Ave.

Free; 7 p.m.