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Group-Think Yourself Happy 

Modern artist Jeremy Deller's chosen medium appears to be our collective consciousness. Deller creates moments in which our attention is jointly focused on the same thing -- or maybe he takes advantage of those moments when we're collectively focused on the same thing -- and then harnesses the spirit and camaraderie of that moment into something lasting. In other words, he fixes the ephemeral. Joy in People, the new exhibit at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.camstl.org), is a mid-career survey of Deller's finest fixed moments, such as Valerie's Snack Bar. This working replica of an English cafe was made to be a float in a parade organized by Deller; now it's an installation that serves tea and snacks, mimicking the very thing that inspired it. A video of the actual parade complements Valerie's Snack Bar, fixing the magic moment here in St. Louis rather than London -- at least for a little while. Joy in People opens with a free public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 1, and you should come -- Deller's art requires a crowd to really come alive. The work remains on display through Sunday, April 28, and the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 1. Continues through April 28, 2013

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