As far as art galleries affixed to universities go, St. Louis has to consider itself lucky. We have St. Louis Community College-Meramec, which recently hosted one of Soo Sunny Park's hallucinogenic biological-form-growing-down-from-the-ceiling exhibits. Another St. Louis Community College, the Florissant Valley outpost, has hosted an exhibit of horror-film costumes and props created by a noted alum. Don't forget Webster University's May Gallery, actually a glorified hallway that happens to offer the best photography exhibits in town.
Debra Drexler's Fetish on view at the new Gallery 210
Any such list has to include UM-St. Louis' Gallery 210, which has boasted an exhibit on the making of Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, and another featuring David Helm's labor-intensive, ingenious parody of modern family life, Automated Dispositions.
The area art community is looking forward to the next phase in the evolution of Gallery 210 -- a move across campus. The Telecommunity Center (not far from the new Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center) has been gutted to make way for two individual galleries and a 50-seat auditorium (plans for which include several film series) that will effectively more than double the old Gallery 210 space (it will keep the same name).
A Thursday, January 22, opening (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) of the new Gallery 210 features two new shows. Debra Drexler's High Art and Low Life includes paintings, such as the one pictured, that address gender issues in art history; you may remember the artist's series of paintings that imagined a zombified Paul Gauguin wandering around Tahiti -- those works hung in the Xen Gallery not long ago. Eric Shultis' Wright the Vision features objects constructed from vintage photographs (on view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 314-516-5976; www.umsl.edu/~gallery). -- Byron Kerman
Ohio Players and Zapp? The Zapp? Didn't a senseless killing put an end to Zapp in 1999? Yes, brothers Roger and Larry Troutman were both killed in what appeared to be a murder/suicide, but the funk in Zapp was too funky to die. The surviving Troutman brothers keep the music alive, still touring under the family brand, and it's a damn good thing. "More Bounce to the Ounce" and "I Play the Talk Box" are eternal dance-floor classics (younger brother "Zapp" Troutman performs all of Roger's classic vocoder lines) and deserve to be performed for the next generation of funkateers. Add the Ohio Players, and it's an instant party. Get down at 9 p.m. at the Ambassador (114 Northland Shopping Center, 314-389-6767). Tickets are $25 to $30. --Paul Friswold
Living in the '80s
While the pop culture of the '80s is now distant enough to inspire either nostalgia or scorn in those who survived the Age of Glitz, the actual culture of the decade is not so easy to pigeonhole. American Art of the 1980s: Selections From the Broad Collections, the new exhibit at the Washington University Gallery of Art (Skinker at Forsyth boulevards, 314-935-4523) features fourteen large-scale works in various media, each depicting various attacks on or defenses of the aesthetics of art. Work by neo-expressionist painters (such as Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michele Basquiat, left) hangs next to that of abstract artists (Ross Bleckner, Jack Goldstein), signaling "the complete arrival of the postmodern," according to curator Dr. Sabine Eckmann. The diverse works are on display Friday, January 23, through April 18, and admission is free. --Paul Friswold
The Rock Show
Consider the rich, storied tradition of the rock. The Egyptians built pyramids from great piles of stone. David felled Goliath with the plink of a pebble. You, perhaps, put googly eyes on a cool-looking piece of sandstone and named it Ernesto. Bring Ernesto down to the St. Louis Artists' Guild (2 Oak Knoll Park, 314-727-6266) to meet some of his brethren at Stone/s: A Piece of Rock for a Specific Purpose. Presented by the Society for Midwest Metalsmiths, the newest exhibit in the beautiful confines of the Artists' Guild promises a panoply of exquisite sculptures and pieces of jewelry created from everything from precious gems to concrete. The show opened on January 16 and will run through March 6. Admission -- for you and Ernesto -- is free, and the gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. -- Brooke Foster