As a quasi-journalist I feel a strange need to talk about Michelle Obama’s bangs. I’m sticking to the script, though – art this week. Pinellas has quite a bit to offer by way of art this week. Here a few suggestions of events you shouldn’t miss … and her bangs looked pretty awesome.
Our state’s copious ‘weird news’ crop can make even the proudest Floridian a bit embarrassed (while still strangely proud) of the Sunshine state. The arts in Pinellas, though, remind us that there is plenty to make your chest swell. This week we’ll be talking with Pinellas’ brainiest, opening the newest glass workshop on the East Coast’s best glass art destination, and meeting two of Florida’s legendary Highwaymen.
Art weekends don’t come much more chilled out than this. This week’s suggestions offer a laid back experience in St. Pete. How about adding some nice weather and perhaps two nights in a boutique hotel for a semi-staycation? Tonight we’re getting generous with a meal at the MFA, followed by a weekend art festival and gallery talk.
Tempus Projects – Between Earth and Sky
Opening reception Fri 10/19 7pm-10pm
Tempus Projects’ latest offering is the first exhibit from the Tampa Photography Collective. The group meets monthly at the Tempus Projects space to share and discuss new work. This show marks the first time they’ve exhibited as a group.
Good photography is difficult to come by and a medium not often seen at Tempus Projects. This is partly why the exhibit would be especially worth a visit. Also, though, the collective is made up of some very talented photographers – for example, check out Becky Flanders or Chris Otten. This exhibit was specifically recommended in Creative Loafing’s Fall Arts Preview. I suspect it won’t be difficult to see why. I definitely suggest taking the opportunity to see all of these artists exhibiting together.
Tampa Museum of Art – Art After Dark
Fri 10/19 8pm-11pm $10
The TMoA’s quarterly art party, Art After Dark, is once again upon is. This quarter’s installment features FIVE by FIVE, a benefit for the Arts Council of Hillsborough. Over 600(?!) pieces of 5 x 5 inch art will be for sale at the cost of $25. There is a bit of a catch, though: the artist’s name is only provided upon purchase. Further, the “partial” list published on the event’s website contains over 340 artists (again, ?!). Though it may be difficult sans names, look out for work from Neverne Covington, Vince Kral, Rebecca Sexton Larson, Kim Radatz, and Josette Urso. This is one of those collecting opportunities that shouldn’t be missed: the art is wildly affordable and it benefits art grants. It would be morally wrong to miss it. Fair warning: I’m gunning for that Josette Urso. If you’ve got your eye on her work I advise you get there early and be prepared to be challenged to the circle of death.
The Pinellas arts scene can’t easily be pinned down – we’re a pretty diverse bunch. For the well-rounded arts lover that you are, this is likely a point of pride. This week we’re getting even more rounded, as our picks range from the hell-raising to the heartwarming.
Check out the calendar here on ARTICULATE
Sometime in the early ’90’s I constantly wore several slap bracelets on each arm. I did this to maximize the use I could extract from the bracelets before they inevitably fell out of favor with fashion. The Tampa Art scene seems to be packing events into the first half of October as if it were similarly about to go out of style, so to say. Seriously, though, its only an expression: good art will never go out of style. But just in case, you better head to all of these. Consider the line-up for the next three days.
MAZE Gallery, HCC – EMERGE Art Exhibition
Opening Reception Wed 10/03 4:30pm-7:00pm
Gallery 221 at Hillsborough Community College has emerged to be an important gallery in an art scene that feels like it’s just picking up steam. University galleries can often and easily be dismissed, with community college galleries hardly receiving any consideration at all. At HCC, though, skillful curating has kept the gallery relevant and interesting. Wednesday the school celebrates the opening of a brand new venue: MAZE Gallery. The space will exhibit the work of current students and HCC alumni. The importance of student galleries in colleges deserves a blog post unto itself. I’ll just say that this space was a surprising move for a school of this size, but a great decision. Stop by Wednesday evening to catch some student work in the gallery’s inaugural exhibit.
Tempus Projects – REDUCED5
Closing Reception Thur 10/04 6:30pm-8:30pm
The REDUCED5 juried exhibit ends this Saturday with a reception to close things out. the black and white themed show is juried by its creator Kurt Piazza. Honestly, in terms of quality, juried exhibits in our area are usually hit and miss at best. Perhaps it’s the parameters set on the work, but there is nary a weakling in the bunch here. Further, much of the work comes with a price tag that could likely fit your budget. While you’re there keep an eye out for the witty work of freshly gone Ryann Slauson among others.
Box on 5th – Vince Kral: FanAddict
Opening Reception Fri 10/05 7:30pm-10:00pm
The new gallery’s fourth exhibit is a solo exhibit featuring the work of local artist Vince Kral. Though I haven’t spotted an artist statement yet, I’m familiar with his art. Kral’s work often deals with complex ideas of pop-culture, consumption of images, authorship, and so on. However, his art is delivered with an intelligent humor making his work accessible. Kral often treads some conceptual ground that we don’t often see from local artists. For example, check out his Sponsor Vince Suit. Anyhow, you can expect to see an especially engaging exhibit at a venue that has been bringing crowded receptions since its opening.
These introductory comments are surprisingly hard to write. Some weeks I honestly have very little to say before moving on to the recommendations. It must be a lot like writing the monologue every week at SNL. But with a much smaller audience. Actually, it’s probably nothing like that. Anyhow, on to the art.
Tempus Projects – REDUCED5
Opening reception – Fri 9/14 7:30pm – 10pm
Tempus Projects officially begins it 2012-13 season this Friday night. REDUCED5 is the fifth incarnation of a multimedia juried exhibit. Artists generally limit their palette to black and white, and the price tag to $500 or less. Kurt Piazza, the guest juror, also created REDUCED while with the Gulf Coast Museum of Art.
Lately, some of the most exciting art nationally has been relatively sparse in color. The recent trend of expression in understatement is especially welcome. I trust Piazza’s taste and anticipate at least a few exceptional pieces that illustrate this tendency. Also, the potential for especially good art at a price the 99% of us can afford makes REDUCED5 worth a visit tonight.
Becky Flanders, Vince Kral, and Ryann Slauson are just some of the artists that will be exhibiting.
Tampa Museum of Art – Art on the House
Fri 9/14 4pm – 8pm
This is the last week to catch two of TMoA‘s exhibits: A Hundred Years – A Hundred Chairs and Art of the Poison Pens.
I’m not particularly attracted to design exhibits. I guess it’s a character deficiency I’ve made peace with. A Hundred Chairs, though, was surprisingly interesting and relevant. The exhibit effectively highlight the cultural subtext of design, the sociopolitical implications of chairs. It sounds like art-speak, but how chairs are made, who makes them, and what they’re made from says a lot about the society sitting in them. The exhibit, on loan from the Vitra Design Museum, expressed this well and kept me engrossed overall.
Art of the Poison Pens, however, I did not get a chance to see. I cannot fairly mete out judgement on this exhibit. I will say I was reluctant to make the trip downtown – the show seemed to be curated for maximal non-statement. I suppose political art that makes a statement exclusively on irrelevant issues seems like a win-win exhibit for the RNC. Suffice it to say, though, that if you visit the exhibit tonight between 4pm – 8pm you won’t have to spend your money on it.
Box on 5th – Box:3
Opening reception – Sat 9/15 7:30pm – 10pm
Ybor’s newest and most exciting space will be hosting its third opening reception this Saturday. If the pattern continues into this newest opening, you’re likely to find the entire Tampa Art scene squeezed into this great little space. The three person exhibit will be featuring the work of George Anderton, Zesch Fallon, and Anthony Record.
While Fallon’s work tends toward the starkly minimal, Anderton and Record work playfully in the gap between representation and abstraction. All three artists toy with our idea of images rather than actually provide any readily recognizable ones. Though all three artists work under disparate styles, they each work within and around abstraction effectively. This is saying something. To my general annoyance, abstract art is perhaps the style most severely abused by bad art. Saturday’s exhibit is primed to be an exercise in taking that style forward.
Alright, I’m sorry. I haven’t been doing the best job of keeping you apprised of art happenings in Tampa. Not to worry, though: I’m getting my head back in the game and you back up to date. Here’s the best going on in Tampa right now.
The Elephant in the Room
There’s only one thing I don’t like about the CL Space and I understand it’s unavoidable: exhibits don’t hang around for very long there. Generally if you missed the opening reception to a show, such as the current The Elephant in the Room, you missed the show entirely. Not so today! The art deities have considered you’re plight and shown you favor – you’ve given a closing reception! Seriously, with its brick walls and floating dry wall, the CL Space is a beautiful art venue. The Elephant in the Room is a politically charged juried exhibit. You’ve likely seen several of these types of shows recently as a result of the RNC. This show is especially worthy of your attendance because of its more subtle but well thought-out work, and its interactive Silverfish Revolution. Read more about that here. – The closing reception is Friday 8/31, 7pm-9pm at CL Space.
Taking Place: Drawings by Josette Urso
Gallery 221 at HCC is now presenting work from New York based (and Tampa native) artist Josette Urso. Urso produces intricate ink drawings that are at once claustrophobic like the cityscapes they depict but also playful in a way. A number of these drawings are currently being exhibited. However, Urso’s enormous (7.5 x 20 feet) site specific installation, a vinyl rendering of a drawing, and a six-minute video work titled Taking Place really make the show worth a visit. She plays effectively with ideas of place and information, giving the viewer a bit to untangle mentally and visually. – Gallery 221@HCC will be hosting an artist talk and presentation Wed 9/05, 3pm and an opening reception the following evening at 5pm-7pm.
It was a cross-medium mash-up waiting to happen: Andy Warhol and Oscar Wilde. The playwright and the pop artist expressed some eerily contemporary and similar concerns in their work such as celebrity, sexuality, beauty, and wealth. The exhibit doesn’t actually feature the work of either artist, but rather takes its cue from the Polaroids in the exhibit down the hall, The Andy Warhol Legacy Project. This is a photography show about being photographed. Many of the subjects are entirely aware they are standing in front of a camera. It’s this self-awareness that’s really fascinating and give many of the pieces a voyeuristic feel. I would love to know what Oscar Wilde would think about this show. The exhibit includes artists Tina Barney, Dawoud Bey, Katy Grannan, Jason Lazarus, Malerie Marder, Ryan McGinley, Catherine Opie, and Alec Soth. – The Importance of Being Photographed is open at the USF Contemporary Art Museum through 12/15/13.
Summer time is traditionally a respite for the art world. Collectors go to the Hamptons or something and artists get ready for August. Galleries generally exhibit strong work from their stable of artists. That’s NYC rules, though. In Florida we like to disregard time and occasion and generally do whatever we want. I swear I’ve caught myself saying “You mean like pants and shoes?” in response to being told I’d have to wear formal attire once. Anyhow, our little art-cosm also slows down a bit during the summer. It’s nice of Bleu Acier to interrupt the dog days with a quality exhibit.
Bleu Acier – Dominique Labauvie: A Gift From the River Sat 6/23 2pm-6pm
Have you ever seen Radiohead at the New World Brewery? No. You haven’t. That would be awesome, though, right? Now, I’m not comparing Dominique Labauvie in art to Radiohead in music, but I’m sure you grasp my intention: it’s great seeing work in an intimate venue that deserves a large one. In fact you may have seen Labauvie’s work in a large venue before – his sculpture’s are in the collections of several museums. The first time I came across one of his sculpture’s was at the TMoA.
Labauvie works in steel, a medium often thought of as imposing and heavy. However, I was surprised to see the sculptures light and nearly brittle despite its large size. Dominique Labauvie’s work featured in A Gift From the River seems to produce the same effect. The steel used for these new sculptures were sourced from Tampa’s old Columbus Drive bridge and date from 1925. It’s interesting to note there are holes in the steel, that almost look decorative, left over from bolts that once held the structure together. Particularly with knowledge of the steel’s origin, the structure of the sculptures at once gives the impression of referencing the body as well as architecture. Perhaps the titles themselves refer to a grander architecture of heavenly bodies such as Galileo’s Moons and Venus Walks. Regardless, Labauvie’s sculptures invite interpretation and allow for a multiplicity of it. It’s a pleasure to walk around Dominique Labauvie’s sculptures. I suggest taking advantage of the opportunity to do it in a venue that’s a bit more cozy.
Don’t let the rain keep you in this weekend. If the wet won’t slow you down, the art will keep pace this weekend. Just drive safely. We’ve got a recommendation on either side of the Bay this weekend.
Saturday night the Morean Arts Center opens Leave a Message: Urban Art in Florida. With the recent quasi-drama of the Warehouse District’s murals, this exhibit couldn’t be timelier. In fact, the artist at center of the sort-of-controversy, Akud-Acut, will be among the group exhibited This making the cities initial stance all the more silly: you can pay Akud-Acut to paint on your walls, but only certain ones. I get the uneasy feeling the city wants Miami’s money draw without turning into the Wynwood district. It’s like ordering your McNuggets while asking them to hold the chicken. But that’s neither here nor there.
Street Art stopped being edgy about seven years ago. However, rather than get boring it just grew up. It’s like putting down Rage Against the Machine to listen to Fugazi. This is why the Morean Arts Center’s exhibit is timely in larger sense – Street art has grown into a mature form worth spending some time considering. Directly and indirectly, urban art now tackles heavy issues such as property, permission, and class concerns among others. The aforementioned Warehouse District goings-on gives the work a concrete relevancy that I wish happened more often.
If somehow this exhibit hasn’t yet reached your cool threshold, there is also an after party down the street at Sake Bomb.
USFCAM – In Residence, Reception and Panel Discussion Fri 6/08 6pm-9pm
The USF Contemporary Art Museum is exhibiting the work of four Miami based artists in the show In Residence. Expect this show to be much more cerebral than the above mentioned.
I wrote my latest editorial for Sarasota Visual Art prior to reading about this exhibit. Oddly, the last three paragraphs of the article describing a peculiarly Floridian art culture reads like a preview to this exhibit. In Residence addresses the relationship between people and place, humans and nature. At times the relationship is depicted as a power struggle, other times as nearly sexual. For example, consider Christy Gast’s video work. A figure in a Tuxedo taps along the Herbert Hoover Dike – an enormous example of civilization attempting to exert control over nature (and a reminder of nature’s ability to overwhelm civilization). It’s difficult to tell if Gast’s dancer is celebrating the environment and the structure, or it she is being sarcastic.
The drama of the natural world and the city is not exclusive to Florida. However these artists show how the state uniquely typifies it. The scenes and ideas should be familiar but innovatively presented. Please, don’t miss this exhibit.