Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 5/31 – 6/03

Your weekend begins tonight!  Don’t worry: I’ve already worked everything out with your boss to get your weekend started early.  They may act a bit surprised (and maybe a little upset) when you return Monday.  However, rest assured – it’s only a ruse to prevent your workmates from becoming jealous.  You’re welcome.  Tonight, we’re headed to the FMoPA!

Cube at Rivergate, 2012 © Chip Weiner

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts – The Secret Paris of the 1930s: Vintage Photographs by Brassaï    5/31 6pm-8pm

The FMoPA brings the work of legendary photographer Brassaï, to Tampa tonight.  The museum opens its doors at 10am with an opening reception tonight beginning at 6pm.

I’m sufficiently excited to describe myself as “totally stoked” to see this exhibit .  Perhaps mostly because the photography of Brassaï operates as a starting line for a sort of gritty ultra-modern aesthetic that nearly always catches me off guard.  Brassaï’s gloomy urban landscapes seem to anticipate Film Noir that would flourish ten to fifteen years later after he first rose to fame.  It’s difficult to see Vienna depicted in the film The Third Man without Brassaï depicting Paris in his particular style fifteen years prior.

More important (and perhaps more recognizable) is Brassaï’s subject matter.  Photography at the time was still relatively new as an art form.  Leaving behind still-lifes and studios for bordellos and opium dens is significant.  His photos, at times, can be downright gritty, even by today’s standards.  In a strange way this always made his 1930’s Paris much more real to me, his subjects that much more relatable, and his work always relevant.  Brassaï’s Paris isn’t the Paris of silent films but rather marginalized individuals that are so familiar it’s eery.  Though nearly eighty years old, I’m sure you’ll find Brassai’s photography relevant in a way that’s rare even for contemporary work.  Make sure to stop by the FMoPA while the exhibit is in town.

Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 5/31 – 6/03

Art@Bay at Sarasota Visual Art: Andy Warhol and (Facebook) Friends

Cube at Rivergate, 2012 © Chip Weiner

Dial-up internet had just sprouted legs and began to crawl out of the water when Andy Warhol died.  Yet, somehow, he pegged the Facebook aesthetic while Mark Zuckerberg was still learning how to speak in complete sentences.  Saying “Warhol was ahead of his time” isn’t so much a cliché compliment as pointing out some sort of cosmic mistake.

Read the rest of the article here

Art@Bay at Sarasota Visual Art: Andy Warhol and (Facebook) Friends

Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 5/18 – 5/20

This week’s art binge is dominated by area museums.  In fact, there is so much museum fun, you can expect to pass out, forget most of what you did, and somehow end up on Museum Nerds Gone Wild.  With that said, we’re heading to Downtown Tampa’s Museum Row.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts – Andy Warhol and Friends Closing Party

Fri 5/18  6pm-8pm

Members – Free / Non-members – $10

I’m sure, like me, you’re proud as punch of our scrappy underdog of a museum – the FMoPA.  They were just getting started with their classy new digs.  May is turning out to be quite a month for the museum.  The FMoPA is closing Warhol only to open Brassai, exhibits that should make their neighbors across Curtis Hixon park jealous.  This Friday the Andy Warhol and Friends exhibit closes with a Factory style party (presumably sans amphetamines).

Though Warhol is loved by just about every art loving and art hating person for his screen prints, he was an outstanding photographer as well.  Personally, his photographs seem to convey his ideas on fame more clearly than his large and well-known silk screens.  I’ll save the rest of the critical writing for the review.  The thrust of the preview, though, is to not underestimate Warhol’s photographs in favor of his paintings.  A stroll through the gallery will be worth the $10 admission for non-members.  Wine and hors d’oeuvre will also be served with your Warhol.

Tampa Museum of Art – A Hundred Years – A Hundred Chairs. Masterworks from the Vitra Design Museum    Sat 5/19

The TMOA‘s new exhibit will feature 100 chairs throughout 100 years from the Vitra Design Museum.  At the center of the museum’s new exhibit is “the design of the most ubiquitous of objects”.  The ubiquitous nature of chairs allows them to take on and play out the drama of modern life in a way – changing sociopolitical and aesthetic sensibilities are built into the chairs and their design changes with them.  Charles Eames’ initial use of ply wood, for example, has as much to do with war as it does with practical design.

Anyhow, I realize a lot of serious art nerds have a difficult time digging a design exhibit at an art museum.  The differences between fine art and design seem to generally lie in the context of a gallery setting.  If you’ve already seen this exhibit or photos of it you know what I mean: these chairs are displayed as and feel more like serious works of art rather than purely utilitarian objects.  Also, Saturday night at the museum is the annual Pride & Passion event.  The event kicks off St. Pete Pride each year while raising funds to the museum.  Individual tickets are $85 and a pair is $170.  Admission includes museum membership (!), food from Timpano, drinks, and entertainment.  The event draws a large crowd each year and is a major source of support for the museum.

And on the subject of museum’s…

Museum of Fine Art St. Petersburg – Global + Local: Studio and Contemporary Glass on Florida’s West Coast   Sat 5/19

Please don’t impale me when I say this:  I have a hard time getting into glass art.  I know our beautiful ‘Burg is now famous for it, but it just doesn’t move me.  In view of the fact that we’re talking about museum openings this weekend (and many of you may be into glass art), I couldn’t leave this one out.  The exhibit presents a number of glass artists including super star Dale Chihuly and local favorite Duncan McClellan.  The show coincides with a nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement.

Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 5/18 – 5/20

If You’re Feeling Philanthropic… Art to Check Out Thursday!

Philanthropic Young Tampa Bay – Boca Hyde Park    Thurs 5/10  7pm-9pm

The merry band of culture patrons known as Philanthropic Young Tampa Bay descend on Boca Hyde Park tonight, May 10th.  You can join the gang with an admission fee of $5.

Boca is the latest in locally sourced restaurants that have been trending lately.  In addition to great fresh food, with admission you’ll find snacks and drink specials.

Also, the evening will be featuring the work of the talented local photographer Rion Sabean.  His Men-Ups series makes use of the visual language vintage pin-ups.  However, photographing male models makes for both a funny product and a thought-provoking one.  When I stopped giggling, the psychological fetish in the structure of pin-ups, the faux innocence intrinsic to the form, becomes clear.  Check out his work at the Huffington Post here or at Juxtapoz here.

All of this fun is geared toward sponsoring the first exhibition at the new home of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.  Check out the Facebook event page here.

If You’re Feeling Philanthropic… Art to Check Out Thursday!

Warm Up the Skinny Jeans, Kids – Art to Check Out This Weekend! 2/10-2/12

Tarpon Springs has the sponge docks.  Clearwater has the beach.  Oldsmar has…I don’t know…a movie theatre.  But Dunedin – beer, Scottish-ness, and art?!  There’s a reason why everyone calls Dunedin “the Paris of North Central Pinellas County”.  I call it that for a reason, at least.  This weekend we’re heading to Dunedin’s art-heart: the Dunedin Fine Art Center.

DFAC flyerDunedin Fine Art Center – Contain It!    2/10 6pm-9pm, 2/11 9am-2pm

Quite a bit is going on Friday night, though I’m focusing on the DFAC’s Contain It! event.  I’ll just mention that the $5 admission gets you a free Yuengling.  Personally, I’ll be saving my sobriety for the Dunedin Brewery just a short ride away.

Though “crowd-pleasing” and “good art” rarely share the same article, the DFAC’s Contain It! shows are a regular exception.  The exception begins with a good idea: the mobile storage company PODS donates units that are in turn transformed into installations by local artists.  Big crowd pleasing art events tend to keep the art on the walls like boys at a middle school dance.  That being said, what really makes Contain It! a good show is immersing visitors in an art form that many wouldn’t encounter outside of a museum.

The DFAC also knows how to pick ’em – the artists involved not only shine a spotlight on the local scene but also bring quality work.  For example, check out this preview photo of Chris Musina’s installation.  You’ll also find installations by Kelly Boehmer, Deon Blackwell, Jordi Williams, Mitzi Gordon, Alain Salesse, and Victoria Block.

The DFAC’s offering of engaging work from local talent definitely warrants a trip to the Paris of North Central Pinellas.  The event is a promising one; you’ll be glad you parted with the fiver.

Tempus Projects - Neil BenderOther Events Worth Checking Out This Weekend
Warm Up the Skinny Jeans, Kids – Art to Check Out This Weekend! 2/10-2/12

The Monsters of Mobile Art! Art to Check Out Thursday


This Thursday the monsters of mobile art converge on Mermaid TavernPhilanthropic Young Tampa Bay organized this event to raise money for the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts as they move to their new location.

Boxfotos, a gallery pulled around town in a shiny Airstream trailer,  will be stopping by the tavern.  The husband and wife team of Matt Larson and Rebecca Sexton Larson are the curators/artists for this traveling alternative space.  Boxfotos features photographic work at a generally affordable price, making it easier for Joe Six Pack to become Joe Art Collector (and also to become Joe Philanthropist this Thursday).  Additionally, if you’re feeling especially philanthropic and have been looking for a way to show your love for Art at Bay, you can pick me up one of Boxfotos’ awesome Starbucks pinhole cameras.

Bluebird Books will also be rolling in for the fundraiser.    If you haven’t yet climbed into the bright blue short bus you’ll quickly notice Mitzi Gordon of Bluebird acts more like a book curator than a book seller.  Bluebird serves up a particularly appealing selection of books in a visually pleasing arrangement (or rad books that look rad).  There’s something about used books that culls money out of my wallet and if you’re reading this blog chances are you’ll feel similarly.  The collection on the bus is chosen carefully and is likely to focus on photography this Thursday.  The Sasha Rae photobooth will also be joining the fun for the Bluebird Undercover project.

I know it isn’t exactly the weekend but I encourage you to reach deep down into your Id and pull out the wild child that’ll bring you out on a Thursday.  It’s encouraging to see the art scene support its own.   Add to your art collection, your library, and long list of good deeds.  The event takes place this Thursday, 2/09 at 7pm-9pm at the Mermaid Tavern.

The Monsters of Mobile Art! Art to Check Out Thursday