“Leave it to the Wex to not just throw a party, but throw one hell of a party.” So says Columbus Alive, and who are we to argue? Off the Grid, the contemporary art party of the season is back for its fifth year this Saturday and is hotter than ever. If you’re just awaking from winter hibernation (and we can hardly blame you for that) we’ve compiled here a quick catch-up on all things Off the Grid, including some words from the night’s headliner himself, the Philly-raised, Brooklyn-living DJ Cosmo Baker.
First, the nitty-gritty: Presented by GenWex, our young patrons group, Off the Grid is a night for the 21+ crowd to sample delicious bites from local restaurants, hear great music from Baker as well as Columbus’s own Nick Tolford & Company and DJ George Brazil, and check out our newest exhibition (and inspiration for the evening) Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil. Proceeds from the night go to Wex education programs, which provide access to contemporary art experiences to thousands of children and families each year.
Swing by the Columbus Free Press to hear Baker talk with Wes Flexner about skateboarding, his favorite Ohio funk/soul records, and his Wex game plan. (Hint: it involves dance, rap, and old-school music that will “get the people dancing.”). The two continued the conversation over on Flexner’s tumblr, where talked about the “holy trinity of youth culture—skateboarding, graffiti, and rap music”—as well as on Flexner’s blog Swing State of Mind, where Baker (aka Cosmo Strauss, brother of well-regarded photographer Zoe Strauss) held forth on the importance of art education, among other things. Says Baker:
Art is this intangible thing that moves the world. I mean art, in any form, moves people personally, and that feeling matriculates through relationships and families and communities. It’s such an integral component of human communication and interaction. And now these days when arts programs are being gutted from schools and for the most part young kids only exposure to are comes in the form of public art and advertising, it’s crucial that we all do our best to continue educating other about the importance of art in all aspects of society. So yeah, things like this mean a great deal to me. If it weren’t for my art education, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
Over on FlyPaper Magazine, Baker talks with DJ Bern about DJing and his favorite genre of music (or lack thereof). Says Baker, “I’ll play Debussy as much as I play Ice Cube or Boys Noize or Jackie Wilson or Joni Mitchell. The thing about making sure that you stay attuned to different things is it’s through that you’re able to draw the correlating lines between genres in your head, and then make that translation on the dance floor.”
Baker also took some time to chat with Columbus’s own Envelope for a far-ranging conversation on DJing, music, the thrill of discovering new records, and the creative process. A heads-up that there is some casual profanity in here, so it may be NSFW depending on where you W.
Finally, hop over to Fox28 to watch a segment on Off the Grid and other charitable events in March by Columbus Socialite blogger Ashley Curl (including a look at one of the dishes that will be served up at Saturday’s party).
Still looking for something to wear tomorrow? Check out the video above from our friends at Rowe and Brigade, make sure to bring your dancing shoes, and get your VIP and General Admission tickets now.