Perambulating the Bounds

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nashville Visual Arts Events November 7-17

There’s a lot coming up the next two weeks. I suppose its venues getting up shows that will run through December. This should be my final listing for November. And I’ll probably do a quick first weekend thing in December and then another one (maybe).

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.

Nov. 8

Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt, Susan Maakestad and Kevin Kennedy. Susan is one of my favorite painters. She’s in Memphis, teaches at Memphis College of Art. I’ve written about her several times. Here’s an essay I did for the gallery brochure of a show she had in Memphis a while back. She showed last Spring at the Temple Art Fair, and now she’s back, this time at Sarratt. She makes glowing paintings, they make me think about Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn, two other artists I never tire of looking at. Susan (I guess Kevin Kennedy also) is doing a gallery talk at 5, then there’s a reception.

Nov. 9

Tennessee State University, Mary Perrin and Karen Edmunds, Storm Stories. The two artists will appear at TSU’s downtown campus to do a lecture/performance/slide show. The two artists are from Louisiana and dealt with Katrina and Rita (Perrin in Lafayette, Edmunds in New Orleans). They both kept journals during it all, and their performance tells stories from these journals and adds reflections—it sounds like the idea is a two-person Spaulding Gray performance, or something like that. The performance starts at 6:00, in the Avon Williams building at 330 10th Avenue North. Plenty of details at Jodi Hays’ blog.

Watkins, Quinn Dukes, Senior Show. It’s surprising to realize that Quinn is just finishing at Watkins. She’s been active on the scene for several years, notable for performance pieces that build dance/theatre/motion work up with elaborate costume/sets. For her senior show, it looks like they’ve turned over the entire gallery to her—usually they show about 3 students at a time, but occasionally someone is working at a scale where they use the entire space (I’m thinking of Shaun Slifer’s show from a couple of years ago). There will be video, presumably sculpture also, maybe the artifacts from performance, and performance at the opening – that’s 6:00 on the 9th.

Centennial, KISS. Katherine Dettwiller, Irene Ritter, and Sharon Charney. Paintings by Charney, encaustic paintings by Dettwiller (probably will be the most interesting work in this show), and stone sculpture by Irene Ritter (I didn’t realize she served as Deputy Mayor in the 1980s—seems like we should start bugging Curt Garrigan about the sculptures in his attic). Opening reception runs 5-7.

Project A, Hunter Armistead photos. Armistead is the leader of Mel and the Party Hats, a Nashville institution. He name (or the gallery) checks Avedon and Marcel Duchamp in the PR. OK. Doesn’t really match the work on-line.

Lance Dupre designs: Melissa Martin, Donny Smutz, Stephen Watkins. I’m listing the opening exhibit for this store, on Rosa Parks Blvd/8th Avenue. It’s hard to say whether this will be some nasty decorator crap or art worth stopping to look at, but for now let’s assume the best.

Nov. 10

Artrageous. The 20th anniversary for this fundraiser for AIDS education and services. The participating galleries are Arts Company, Bennett, Cumberland, Dangenart, Estel, Finer Things, Local Color, Midtown, Richter, and the TN Art League. Estel is showing work by a new artist, Laura Kaufman, and light sculptures by Kelly Butler. Dangenart has pulled a neat trick in one of their rooms, which has overtly erotic work by Daniel Lai, Smaantha Callahan, and Barry Noland sharing space with the military images of Ben Vitualla and John Schramlin. This adds to their work the erotic fetishization of the soldier’s body, something that’s not obvious in Ben’s work, but on some level is unavoidable. Wolfgang Tillmans had an installation on this in his exhibit at the Hirschhorn earlier this year.

Alfred Williams & Company, Justin Nolan Key. This is a Watkins senior show, on display at this venue at 716 Division Street, near Frugal MacDougal’s and Flyte. Key is a photographer—I don’t know his work, but the description says it is digitally manipulated images printed large scale, “commenting on genetics & the manipulation of the natural world” to cut corners and quote the press release. The opening is at 6:00 on the 10th.

Nov. 11

CRAFT: A Creative Community A group of local artists/artisans holds a monthly sale/fair in the parking lot of Lipstick Lounge, the next one is 11-5 on Sunday, November 11. It sounds like the event is growing, because they’ve added a second location—the Lipstick Lounge parking lot is at 14th and Woodland, and there will also be people at the corner of 11th and Woodland. And as I read on in their press release, I see the CRAFT people will be at the Farmer’s Market on November 24 and December 1, 8, 15, and 22—that works out to every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dave Hickey would be proud.

Nov. 12

MTSU, Dave Hickey lecture. It’s probably a completely spurious comparison, but I can’t shake the idea that Hickey is the Hunter Thompson of art critics. He’s in Las Vegas, so there’s that connection, and he drops frequent drug references. His scheduled topic for the talk is the current insane art market, a floating feast of excess that manifests itself in the international art fairs. The craziness doesn’t worry Hickey, who figures no one gets hurt by overpaying for art, and in the end the emphasis on the marketplace will lead to commerce taking over from institutions the role of defining value, leading to a more democratic aesthetics. The lecture is at 7:00 in State Farm Lecture Hall in the Business Aerospace Building. There’s gotta be a message in the choice of room and building.

Nov 15-16

Nashville Ballet, Emergence. This program pairs composers from the Blair School faculty with choreographers in the creation of a new work of ballet and music. They do it every two years, and the result last time around was one of the more engaging performances I’ve seen in Nashville. Among other things it’s good to hear substantial pieces by the Vandy composition faculty – their work is not played out that often in town. The composers are pretty conservative, but it’s good to hear new work, and it’s usually not rehashed Americana like a lot of what occurs in town. This year one of the composers is Stan Link, who does electro-acoustic stuff that has sounded really good from my limited exposure to it. The performances are at 8:00 in the recital hall at the Blair School, Thursday and Friday night.

Nov. 16

Frist, Katy Siegel lecture. The parade of distinguished art lectures goes on with Siegel at the Frist. Actually, this might be the last in a run of good fortune. Seigel writes for ArtForum, teaches at Hunter College, and seems to have her finger into every aspect of contemporary art. Just to pick up one thing, she curated a show on painting in New York from the period 1967-75 which I saw in DC and which has been traveling through ICI. The period is significant because this was a time when everyone was declaring the death of painting (sculpture and installation were ascendant), but plenty was still happening, and it’s up to people like Siegel to remind us about it. Hard to say much about what she’s going to talk about from the title—“Contemporary Art in the Age of Extremes.” The lecture is at 6:00.

Future/Now: Mid-State Art Majors, Frist. This is pretty cool—an exhibit of art by current students at local colleges (Fisk, APSU, MTSU, TSU, Watkins, Vandy, Lipscomb, Belmont, and the Appalachian Center for Crafts—looks like they missed Sewanee). The works were chosen by faculty at the schools, so if nothing else it will show you who has ingratiated themselves with their faculty. Seriously, I think it’s great that the Frist is opening their doors to these artists. People who make it to one-night group shows, campus exhibits, and some of the Arcade galleries will see some of these students, but there’s a lot of people who get to those places. It’s also a good counterpoint to the Société Anonyme—most of these students undoubtedly want to be the Modernists of their day.

Nashville Opera, Elmer Gantry. The Nashville Opera is doing the premier of an opera by Robert Aldridge. This is a big deal. Aldridge is a well-known composer and this is the latest entry in the great American opera sweepstakes, which seems to have heated up lately. Elmer Gantry is the story of an evangelical preacher, so Aldridge uses lots of gospel music in his work—he’s a southerner, and he and librettist went to tent meetings in western North Carolina (his father was a preacher there). They are positioning the work as a crossover possibility—“if you liked ‘O Brother Where Art Thou,’ here’s an opera you’ll like.” That pitch doesn’t really grab me, but I should probably keep an open mind about this. Aldridge sounds like he’s genuinely engaged by roots music. It’s just it almost never works out that these vernaculars profit from getting transferred into classical settings, and I just don’t think classical music needs rescuing from its own vocabulary and sounds. But leaving aside my carping, it’s a big deal for the Nashville Opera to stage this premier, of an ambitious strategy that has the Opera trying something unusual every year, like the double bill of Davies The Lighthouse and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine a couple of years ago. The people at the Opera (Carol Penterman, John Hoomes, etc.) seem determined to make something happen here. Cool.

Nov. 16-17

Watkins, Yart Sale Watkins students offer their work for sale every year about this time, when you’re supposed to be thinking about Christmas. Dave Hickey would be proud. And no one gets hurt by paying very little for a photo by a Watkins student.


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