Warm Up the Skinny Jeans, Kids – Art to Check Out this Weekend! 3/16 – 3/18

March Madness is in full swing – college basketball has forced me to sever all ties with reality and rational thought. I may need anti-March-Madness meds. A dose of art may be exactly what the doctor (and court) ordered.  Here are the picks.

Tampa Museum of Art – Art on the House    Fri 3/16  4pm-8pm

Several exciting exhibits all happened to converge on the TMoA at once.  If you haven’t visited in a while, Friday is the perfect time – the museum offers free admission between 4pm and 8pm every Friday thanks to Hill Ward Henderson. Here are some highlights of a few of the offerings you’ll catch.

Romare Bearden – Bearden is an acclaimed artist for good reason.  He used a collage style that not only documented the African-American experience but shined a light on the perception of the African-American experience.  It’s easy to see why his work is so enduring influencing artists today such as Kara Walker.

John Cage – Tampa has had a special buzz about John Cage since January so chances are you’re well-educated on the multi-discipline artist.  His interactive installation involves twelve record players with albums donated by celebrities from Jack White to Christian Marclay.  You’ll find me there Friday night playing with the 45rpm setting.

Erik Levine – With the recent acquisition of Hand Held, a large-scale sculpture, by Erik Levine, the TMoA kicked off an exhibition that will also feature two of the artist’s video works.  We’ll get the obvious out of the way: Hand Held looks like a giant plywood condom.  Though the exhibition’s opening felt quiet, I wouldn’t miss a chance to see Levine’s work in person.  His use of such common material on monumental scales is meant to be appreciated first hand.

Studio@620 – Artbook Tampa Bay Launch Party    Sat 3/17  7pm-11pm

I’m recommending this event with reservations.  The company HDInteractive recently completed the development of Artbook Tampa Bay, an iPad app showcasing Tampa Bay area art and artists.  Studio@620 is hosting the Launch Party for the app this Saturday with an after party at Sake Bomb.  I definitely support promoting our often under-hyped art scene.  Also, kudos to HDInteractive for the innovative idea and making use of newly ubiquitous apps to that end.  Artbook will feature local artwork and artist bios as well as local institutions like the Tampa Museum of Art.  A preview version of the app can be downloaded for free, however the full version will cost $9.99.  Artists, though, won’t be compensated with any of the money the app brings in.  I understand capitalist reality and that paying the artists with anything other than “exposure” could be impossible – I don’t want to sound like a grump.  However, a project that can’t fairly compensate the artists whose work is generating the bulk of the income should reconsider its game plan.  I’ll stop the complaining before I get carried away.  I’d love to hear your thoughts – you can continue the conversation below or at Facebook. Anyhow, you may want to still consider attending; chances are you have friends or artists you know participating in the project.

  • Check out this Creative Loafing article for more info about Artbook and the launch party
  • Check out this article at Hyperallergic about fair artist compensation

Honorable Mention

Morean Arts Center – WAX: Medium Meets Message    Fri 3/16  5pm-7pm

Morean Arts Center presents a group exhibit with the medium as its tying theme: encaustic, a wax based paint.  The show will be featuring paintings by Kim Bernard, Ann Taylor Gibson, Lisa Pressman, Russell Thurston, Leslie Neumann, Elise Wagner, Mary Beth Rothman, Lorrie Fredette and Laura Moriarty.

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