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Ivy Cooper encapsulates the St. Louis art scene

Lisa Bulawsky: Merry Folly (all fall down)Lisa Bulawsky has an incomparable eye for the tragicomic. "Dementia Pugilistica" are handworked advertisements on newspaper featuring fantastic boxing matches (John Ashcroft, a.k.a. "Lawzilla," is pitted against a vacuum cleaner dubbed "Hurt Devil"). Also included is a hilarious interactive installation involving paddle balls and cheap trophies, along with a series of prints titled "Problem Plays" dedicated to tragic heroes, including Harvey Milk, Jack Kevorkian, Karen Carpenter and Amy Fisher (well, they're not allheroic). The caricatures are spot-on, and Bulawsky's humor is playful and cutting. Through May 29 at Philip Slein Gallery, 1520 Washington, 314-621-4634. Gallery hours Tue.-Thu. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sara Good: If Anything's a Garden...Good's exhibition features "gardens" constructed of found objects that have one foot in nature and one in artifice. Bricks define garden edges, but they also crumble back into raw, red earth; metal "trees" support flower pots as they simultaneously undergo natural processes of rust and decay. All the garden tools are strangely sculptural, while a charming grove of flowers is fashioned out of the most abject materials. Everything here is in transition, suggesting that our control in the garden is illusory; nature is somehow always in charge. Through May 22 at Gallery 210, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge, 314-516-5952. Gallery hours Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tim Liddy: A 10-Year SurveyLiddy, a professor of art at Fontbonne University, possesses a formidable grasp of art history and employs it when he works with found pieces of steel. He grafts images from Jacques-Louis David, Michelangelo and the like onto decaying surfaces, combining them with dreamlike symbols, advertising icons and evocative text. Whether large or small in scale, Liddy's works reach in multiple directions and refuse to settle down. His imagination is boundless; his imagery will work its way into your dreams. Through July 11 at the Center of Creative Arts, Anheuser-Busch Gallery, 524 Trinity, 314-725-6555. Gallery hours Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.-Sun. noon-5 p.m.

Link: Photography with St. Louis ConnectionsCary Horton's surreal black-and-white montages are rooted in St. Louis, but their odd spirit transcends the city. One of the most effective is Horizon Distance, which shows a betting parlor at Fairmount Park. Portrait photographers Stefan Hester and Matt Marcinkowski each weigh in with impressive, insightful images; Hester's scenes of MacArthur Bridge dropoffs, sewer department barricades and East St. Louis smokestacks are haunting. Marcinkowski takes color scenes of a nighttime downtown you'll have to work to recognize. Through June 26 at Mad Art, 2727 South 12th, 314-771-8230. Gallery hours by appointment.

 
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