Perambulating the Bounds

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nashville Visual Arts Events Oct. 18-31

OK, the big deal coming up is Arthur Danto speaking next week at Vanderbilt. On top of that, Peter Plagens is speaking this week. How odd to have those two here within 8 days of each other.

Also, for the middle of the month, plenty of exhibits opening.

As always, if you have an email list of your own, feel free to forward this.

If someone wants to get added directly to my list for the email version of this listing, send me an email at To get taken off the list, email to that effect at the same address.

October 18

Downtown Artists Coop, Monica Quattrochio, Time. Up in Clarksville, at the Downtown Artists Co-op, photographer Monica Quattrochio is showing new work, at least new to me. A couple of years ago she did a series of flowers in close-up and at a very large size, the scale effects extreme enough to give them an unusual fleshiness. This time the photos seems to show actual skin—people’s hands in a couple I’ve seen. I don’t know if she’s working at the same scale in these new pictures.

Emily Leonard, In Returning. Emily’s doing a one-night preview in her studio of some paintings that she’s going to be showing at a gallery in Seattle. These are quiet landscapes, many set at dusk or dawn, painted at a pretty large scale. Her studio is in the 427 Chestnut Street building, suite 230, the preview will run from 5-8.

Peter Plagens lecturing at the Frist Center. The title of his talk is “The Absolute Truth,” so we’d better check this out. Plagens is equally identified as a painter and critic, and as a critic writes for an unusual range of publications—he was the art critic at Newsweek (although I think he’s left there), as well as a contributor to more typical publications like Artforum and Art in America. The lecture starts at 7:00.

October 19

If you’re in New York Friday night, Jerry Dale McFadden is curating a one-night event at Lotus Space, 122 W. 26th Street. The event is sponsored by Keen Footwear and features art by people who use found or sustainable materials or address issues of conservation and sustainability. This gives Jerry Dale a chance to show work by several local artists whose approaches fit nicely within that description, like Adrienne Outlaw, Barbara Yontz, and Mary Sue Kern. He’s also pulled in some national figures like Chris Jordan, whose photographs give a monumental expression to the consumption of resources in our society.

And if you’re in New Haven, CT on Friday, go see my friend Ron Horton play with the Will Holshouser Trio at Firehouse 12 on Crown Street. That’s where I’m going to be.

October 20

Nashville Peace and Justice Center, Tickled Pink for Peace Benefit. This art auction benefits a program called Farms Not Arms that has been organized by people in the progressive farming and agriculture community. One of its co-directors is based at The Farm, the long-standing intentional community in Summerton, TN (the other director listed on the website is based in Northern California, although there’s people involved from all over, including places in the heart of mainstream farm country like Iowa). The program intends to hook up vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with jobs and training on farms and in small communities. Sounds like taking the “beating swords into ploughshares” business very seriously. The auction, co-sponsored by the Nashville Peace and Justice Center and several other Nashville peace groups, will benefit local activities of this group, although I didn’t quite get details on those programs. I imagine that will depend on making connections between individual vets and groups like The Farm, seeing what makes sense for each person. Some of the artists contributing to the auction caught my eye, like Erika Johnson, Ben Vitualla, and Robert Vore. The event will be held at the Peace and Justice Center’s new digs at 4732 Longdale, off Harding Place. The auction is Saturday from 6 to 10; there’s also a preview party on Friday the 19th, with an admission price of $30 for that.

ArtHouse, Whitney Ferre, Cindy Wunsch, and Linda Turner. In addition to making contributions as artists, the participants in this show have been involved in a notable amount of business entrepreneurship around here. Ferre co-owns the ArtHouse itself and Rumours wine bar next door, and Turner owns A Thousand Faces in Hillsboro Village.

October 24

Vanderbilt Ingram Studio Art Gallery, Parts of the Puzzle, Please and Leticia Bajuyo, Forces of Nature, Hurricanes and Slinkys. The first is a three person show (Suzanne Bocanegra, Kurt Dominick, and Erin Cunningham) curated by the new chair of the studio art program at Vandy, Mel Ziegler, plus an installation by Bajuyo. Several of artists seem to have Texas connections, where Ziegler was before coming to Vandy. Bocanegra has done some fascinating things by making tons of small drawings and collecting found images that she then piles up and slaps on the wall in such quantity as to become a kind of sculpture. The reception runs 5-7 on the 24th. The gallery is on the second floor of the Studio Art building.

October 25

Arthur Danto speaking at Vanderbilt. My favorite art writing comes from philosophers who use art as a foundation for thinking. More than other writers, they encourage you to run with your ideas and your responses to a work of art, and let them take you where you will. They show you a way to do that. As you follow Danto along some explanation of a concept from Hegel and how it applies to an image, his writing makes you feel smart, even if he’s the one who’s read Hegel, not you. His topic for the lecture at Vanderbilt is “Before and After: Two Decades after the Sistine Chapel Controversy.” I don’t know what his take is on this, but you know that he won’t be giving a simple account of the restoration process or of the controversy surrounding it. This is the kind of incident that should provide him with a jumping off point to talk about things like the nature of the art object ownership of the object or image, memory, who knows. This is an afternoon event, 4:10 in room 103 of Wilson Hall, so you’ll have to skip work.

October 26

Frist Center, The Societe Anonyme and Rosemary Laing, Flight. The Societe Anonyme was a group founded in 1920 by Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray that staged exhibits which introduced New York to leading Modernist artists, collected work by them, hosted lectures and readings, and sponsored publications. The collection ended up intact at Yale University, which has put together an exhibit that gives a comprehensive view of the group’s reach and interests. You can see this group as sowing the seeds for the kinds of American art experimentation that came after Abstract Expressionism, which really had more in common with the sardonic, prickly qualities of Dada figures like Duchamp or Schwitters.

October 27

Zeitgeist, Pinkney Herbert and John Geldersma. Pinkney Herbert is one of the people who make Memphis something of a bastion of abstract painting. He’s showing with John Geldersma, who makes masks and quasi-ritual objects inspired by Native American and other non-Western practices.

Plowhaus, Dia de los Muertos celebration. This is the 6th year that Plowhaus has done a Day of the Dead exhibit, featuring shrines by a number of their frequent contributors. This show has been a really good context for Franne Lee’s work in particular. Some of the other participants include Beth Seiters, Andee Rudloff, Carrie Mills, and John Holland. I started tuning into the Day of the Dead when I was living in Chicago 15 years ago, and had a number of powerful experiences as art galleries were turned over for acts of remembrance. In American society, we have all sorts of commemoration of the dead, but a lot of it is highly programmed. Someone “important” dies and we go into a media-fueled process of grief and commemoration. Maybe its flags at half-mast, or marathon shows on WSM or WKCR. Day of the Dead was a chance to be with whomever you felt like invoking on the day. You could indulge some sadness but you couldn’t avoid the fact that it was a chance for people to get together, have a few beers, and look at colorful stuff. The art world’s adoption of Dia de los Muertos doesn’t have a huge connection to Mexican culture and Mexican communities, but it serves its own purposes.

Samhain (October 31st )

Renaissance Center, Dickson – a bunch of stuff. Armon Means seems to be keeping busy out at the Renaissance Center, finding every nook and cranny out there to show art. They’ve got four exhibits opening on the 31st. Actually, the opening receptions are on Nov. 2, so I’ll save more on this for next email. Just a quick run-down: ceramics by Jason Briggs (also in the ceramics show at Ruby Green), paintings by Kate Badoe, a Cookeville resident originally from Ghana, photos by Jaime Tracy inspired by color field painters, and a group show of photos of the human figure.

Other stuff

For the November first Saturday downtown art extravaganza, Downtown Pres is inviting people to exhibit their art during the Art Luck meal before the openings. All you have to do is show up at noon on Saturday, November 3 with your art (they just ask that the work be appropriate, or not inappropriate, for the kids who will be there), and that you take it with you at the end of the evening. Get in touch with Beth Gilmore if you think you’re going to want to do this:


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