There’s a lot going on, and I’m sure I won’t do justice to everything.
I have to say, the highlight for the next couple of weeks is seeing Erika Johnson get full art museum treatment at the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery. They’re featuring a piece of hers that she developed “in conversation with the 2007 fellows of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt.” Just seeing that description made me realize one of the things I respond to in Erika’s installations is their strong discursive quality. A major part in most of her pieces are old photos, transferred onto transparencies and selected for their ability in isolation and in combination to suggest, but not spell out, lines of description and reasoning about gender, history, and memory. I’ve also realized that last quality, the creation of memory, transcends the particulars of her pieces. Erika has worked at Vanderbilt for some time, and was at the Warren Center for a while. It’s good to see her time there express itself in work. Oh yes, the show opens on Thursday, October 4. I can’t tell if there’s going to be an opening reception. They are going to have a reception on Oct. 25, when they are brining Arthur Danto (!!) in to talk. More on that when we’re closer to the date.
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First, there’s a few things I missed that opened early this week (in addition to the Emma Amos lecture at Vandy yesterday).
Austin Peay, Figure 8. A group of figurative drawings curated by Austin Peay professor Kell Black, who has work in the show along with Anne Beidler, Amy Fichter, Eileen Greene, Marcus Greene, Patrick Hammie, Marilyn Murphy, and Scotty Peek. Offhand I don’t know the work by most of the others (other than Marilyn Murphy and Black), but Black’s work is great and I trust him to select well. This show is only up through Oct. 21, so if you are going to go to Clarksville to check it out, get on up there.
TSU, Storm Stories: Artists Respond to Disaster. The first show in the TSU gallery under Jodi Hays, who started her tenure as director this summer. The show features Karen Edmunds from New Orleans and Mary Perrin from Lafayette, who I guess both rode through Katrina and Rita. In addition to work on the walls, the two artists do a performance which they will perform on November 9 at TSU’s downtown campus. There’s a little more information and things like directions on Jodi’s blog.
Sarratt Gallery, Carrol Harding Mctyre and Herbert J. Rieth, III. I got a card announcing this but don’t have it with me right now. I’m pretty sure Herb grew up in Nashville and I think he lives in Mississippi (if I’ve got it right, I met his mother, who is also an artist, in Memphis a while back).
Vanderbilt Fine Arts, More Than One: Contemporary Prints and Multiples—plus an installation piece by Erika Johnson. This show of prints from the Vanderbilt collection grew out of an academic symposium at the Warren Center. The works on display include pieces by Carrie Mae Weems, Martin Puryear, Sigmar Polke, Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, and Alexis Rockman, among others. I got a chance to see two of Weems major photographic and multi-media series at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga last year, Walker is an important presence (last thing I saw was her exhibit After the Deluge at the Met in 2006 which interspersed her work and selections from odd corners of the Met’s collection), I seem to blog about Rockman every couple of years, etc., Puryear is always delightful (although I’m not sure I’ve seen his prints or photos)—while this selection probably won’t have the same impact as seeing a major exhibit by any one of these artists, it’s a top-notch list. As I said above, I don’t think there’s an event this week, it looks like they are holding off until Danto comes to town. I can’t believe they’re bringing Danto, but then again it’s the kind of thing major universities are supposed to do. In some ways the bigger surprise is that one is surprised.
Alias season opening concert. Yes, a non-visual art event. Alias is the leading chamber music group in Nashville—an admittedly small universe, but they put together very imaginative programs and play with gusto. This program includes Shostakovich’s 9th String Quartet—the Shostakovich quartets are major works, like the cycles of quartets by Beethoven, Bartok, Haydn, and Carter. They’ve also programmed at Vaughan Williams piece for clarinet, horn, violin, cello, and piano that should be charming. One note: no baroque pieces on this bill, which is usually a highlight, especially Zeneba Bowers’ playing on them.
Brent Green films at The Basement Just got some information on this—Green is an animator who makes films from hand-painted images and wood carvings. Deanna Varagona (from Lambchop and other music projects) is going to improvise a soundtrack. Her email on it says she’ll most likely be playing cello (she mostly plays baritone sax in Lambchop, and she plays guitar and sings in other projects). The show starts at 7:00.
Cheekwood, Genius of Place, David Lefkowitz, and Open Call: Emerging Video Artists. Cheekwood opens 3 new shows. In the main house is a photographic series on gardens at grand American houses of a similar era to Cheekwood. They include Dumbarton Oaks in DC, which has always been one of my favorite places. But I’d think I’d rather go to the house than look at photos of it, but we’ll see. The video show was the result of an open call for submissions, with a jury choosing 7 finalists to include in the show. This almost certainly will have some interesting stuff.
Watkins Student Graphic Design Juried Exhibit. Annual student show by Watkins design students, with an opening from 6-8.
The first Saturday will be busy as usual.
Twist, Mark Sloniker, Beyond the Luminous Edge. An installation by an artist who makes his living making puppets for theme parks around the country.
TAG, Michael McConnell and Nick Butcher McConnell was at TAG last year (here's one of his pieces) in a joint show with Jonn Herschend where they played off each other in making work over a year and tied it all together with string. Now he’s back on his own. Butcher, in the back gallery, combines print and painting techniques. The works in this show are abstractions, although he's known more for figuration.
SQFT, The Painting Show. SQFT has done several shows of drawing, now they are doing one for painting. Like many of their other shows, the line up includes several young artists from New York and California: Jennifer Garrido, Eric Graham, Jieun Zaun Lee-Choi, Miyeon Lee, and Elizabeth Schuppe.
The Arts Company, The Frenzels, Meagan Kieffer, Brother Steve. Brother Steve and Meagan Kieffer are sculptors, Brother Steve worked in clay (he was a Marianist and is now a Benedictine monk, and I gather he isn’t making art now). The Frenzels are a husband and wife team who jointly make paintings about Nashville icons.
Dangenart and Rymer. I don’t have any information yet on their shows, but I assume they are opening new stuff Saturday night. Rymer is a new gallery on 6th Avenue run by artist Herb Williams and some associates. Also, Estel will be open on gallery crawl night.
Downtown Presbyterian Church, Art Luck and children’s art show. To kick off the art crawl, Downtown Pres has a pot luck supper. The art this month is by the children of the church—we do a big kid’s art project every year in one form or the other. I think this is the second year we’ve done it as an art show. This year the kids did photographs under the watchful guidance of Liz Streight among others.
LeQuire Gallery, Tennessee Sculptors, the Legacy of Olen Bryant Bryant is well-recognized sculptor who always strikes me as having an strong Earth-centered, mystical streak. LeQuire is showing work by him and five of his students Mike Andrews, Frank Lyne, Reverend Howard Brown, Scott Wise and Tom Rice. They’ll have their opening the same night as the downtown gallery crawl.
Plowhaus benefit show at the Alley Cat. This is an all-day fundraiser at the Alley Cat Lounge, starting at 10 AM with an art show that will run through the whole day, and then music hosted by Chris Mitchell starting at 7:00.
Centennial Art Center, Nashville’s Internationals. A great idea for a show, Centennial is exhibiting work by sixteen artists who have immigrated to the US and Nashville. It includes 5 young men from Sudan, and artists from Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Nigeria, Haiti, the Philippines and some others. Immigrants have changed our city profoundly, for the better, and we are just starting to feel the impact of all this cultural new blood. It’s not the first time these artists have show (I assume the Sudanese are some of the artists whose work was on display at the Frist a year ago or so), but a show like just helps this new diversity become visible.
Films and installations by Patrick Beaulieu and Bill Daniel, Watkins. This is a one-night showing of film and installation art from two artists with a case of wanderlust. Daniels has outfitted a 1965 Chevy van with sails that serve as a projection screens and allow him to travel around and show videos (he appeared at Sewanee a little earlier this year). Beaulieu has created a mobile observatory for tracking the migration of Monarch butterflies between Canada and Mexico, and done a installation on the inside of the truck that sounds like it should be fascinating: “a series of moving monarch wings powered by the use of micro-ventilators.” This show is a joint production between Watkins and Fugitive Projects, the current incarnation of the Fugitive Art Center. The show starts at 6:30 in Watkins’ parking lot. Watkins film students are also going to project their films on the college’s outside walls.
Ruby Green, Contemporary Ceramics. This show is curated by Rob McClurg and Dona Berotti, who put together a really nice show of glass at Ruby Green two years ago that introduced me to several artists who have stuck with me. Now they’ve put together a show of ceramics. McClurg is a ceramicist, so I’m sure they know people doing really unusual stuff. The show includes local artist Jason Briggs, whose abstract, biomorphic ceramic pieces are instantly recognizable and I think have become a significant part of our local visual vocabulary. Other locals in the show are Delia Seigenthaler and Ken Rowe.
Cumberland Gallery, Tom Pfannerstill, Trash Talk, and Lay of the Land: New Landscape Paintings. Pfannerstill takes bits of trash like discarded cigarette boxes, detergent packages, or paint spattered t-shirts and meticulously recreates them in hand-painted carved wood. Cumberland is also showing landscapes from several of the painters it represents: James Lavadour, Kurt Meer, Ron Porter and Brad Durham. Lavadour’s paintings of dry Eastern Oregon country are a treat, always drawing you in with intense color and internal motion.
Estel, Rodney Wood, Illuminaria. Highly detailed and carefully crafted paintings in a surrealistic mode, with vivid mysticism.
Pandit Barun Kumar Pal, Hindustani music concert. The latest concert at the Temple presents Hindustani, or North Indian music, from a quartet of Indian musicians led by Pandit Barun Kumar Pal on Hamsaveena. The Hamsaveena is sometimes also called a slide guitar, although it looks more like a form of veena or sitar, with a teardrop-shaped body and a fairly long neck. Barun Kumar Pal is a longtime student of Ravi Shankar, who of course is the most famous practitioner of Hindustani music. Sri Ganesha Temple, Old Hickory Blvd. at 7:00.
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, October 14.
Watkins has announced its latest round of community ed classes for October and November. If you’re in the market for classes, don’t forget to check out Cheekwood and LeQuire also.
Samantha Callahan and untitled have started a new blog called Art Leads to post opportunities for artists, things like calls for grant proposals, exhibition opportunities, classes, even practical stuff like health care coverage. This will be invaluable to have this material at one site, and anyone with relevant information should be sure to let Art Leads know about it.