Currents 92: Anna KuperbergAfter receiving her BFA at Washington University, Anna Kuperberg spent much of her time in south St. Louis, snapping images of neighborhood kids. These astonishing photos show the kids playing, crying or lost in their thoughts; they reveal moments of sheer joy, straight-faced seriousness and -- quite often -- disquieting ambiguity. Like street photographers of the 1950s and '60s, Kuperberg works the old-fashioned way, with a 35mm camera and without cropping the negative, which means it's all in her eye. And but for the stray contemporary logo, these photographs could have been made 50 years ago. Through November 28 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive; 314-721-0072. Gallery hours 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tue.- Sun., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.
The Outlaw Printmakers and Michael Byron: A Decade of Work on PaperThese two hefty exhibitions serve up a one-two punch of pure visual enjoyment and keen, often pathos-wracked political commentary. Byron's works range from the delicate Psychological Chart (1993-95) through several postcard works and the "Creation Myth" series of the late 1990s to the recent, abstract "Cosmic Tears" works. Matters get less delicate in the larger gallery, where fifteen "outlaws" let loose their stunning visual barbs. Local favorite Tom Huck dominates the show with his woodcut views of life in meth country. Lisa Bulawsky, Nancy Palmeri and Richard Mock turn in sick, funny and timely political satire. David Sandlin, Bill Fick, Sue Coe and Michael Barnes make haunting, unforgettable images that will undoubtedly visit your dreams. Another reason not to miss these shows: They may be the last in this lovely gallery space; Slein will relocate to 1319 Washington Avenue in December. Through November 6 at Philip Slein Gallery, 1520 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634. Gallery hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.
Keith Piper: CrusadeBritish artist Piper had never been to St. Louis and was only vaguely aware of the Dred Scott case when the Contemporary invited him to town. It's a testament to his keen eye, intelligence and wit that he has put together one of the most striking artistic commentaries on St. Louis' complicity in the slave trade and the Underground Railroad. Using the crusade as a metaphor for Manifest Destiny, slavery, colonization and subjugation, Piper combines in stunning tableaux high-resolution moving images and digitally collaged photographs of the city and its surroundings. Also on view is New Video, New Europe, video works from 39 artists from Eastern Europe. Through November 21 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660. Gallery hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thu.), 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sun. -- Ivy Cooper