Current Shows

Ivy Cooper encapsulates the St. Louis art scene

 James Brooks: Small Paintings and Works on Paper Brooks was born in St. Louis, so we can proudly call him our own. And while this small retrospective comes to us from its debut at Greenberg Van Doren New York, it's no worse for the wear. As a matter of fact, it nicely complements a handful of other modernist shows on view in St. Louis at the moment and will no doubt spark a wistful longing for the days when arguments about the flatness of the canvas might come to blows, followed by apologetic rounds of "drinks on me." These works date from the 1940s to the 1980s, but like Arthur Osver, Brooks steadily maintained a commitment to modernist color and abstraction, and he remains one of the handful of lesser-known Abstract Expressionists worth pondering. Through March 18 at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, 3540 Washington Boulevard; 314-361-7600 (www.greenbergvandoren.com). Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.

The Curious Teapot Every city large enough to support one or two craft centers gets treated to an annual teapot show. It's the craft-center moneymaker, the sure thing that will bring out everyone from the collectors to the curious to the people convinced they don't like "art." St. Louis is no different, and Craft Alliance puts on a teapot show every year, and there's nothing curious about it, except for the fact that it remains perennially popular. The teapots this year are fun, amusing, nonfunctional and functional, "wacky" and "wild" — in other words, just what you'd expect. (As Marge Simpson might exclaim: "A teapot with Scrabble letters stuck to it? Whatever!") The standouts here are the twisted takes on the classic objet d'art, such as Annette Corcoran's faux Fabergé eggs and Rain Harris' absurdly baroque fetish pots. Through March 5 at the Craft Alliance Gallery, 6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-1177 (www.craftalliance.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.

Currents 96: Tim Eitel The paintings of German artist Eitel draw on historical and contemporary artworks to generate scenes of extreme enigma. The four large canvases in this show isolate figures in spare environments described only by somber gray and black fields. Helicopter (2005) has the aircraft hovering motionless just above the ground in a seemingly airless environment; Lying Figure transports Edouard Manet's Dead Toreador of 1864 to a similarly empty, vaguely interior setting. The maximum scale of the large works combines with their minimal elements to make for intriguing scenes of surreal isolation. A series of small, square oil-and-egg-tempera works on linen lines the gallery's fourth wall; these scenes are more populated but just as tight-lipped in terms of what they say to the viewer. Eitel's works are simultaneously cold and oddly irresistible. Through March 5 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park; 314-721-0072 (www.slam.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.)

Great Rivers Biennial 2006 This second Biennial is exuberant, owing largely to the scale of the works. It's thrilling to see three emerging St. Louis artists let loose and work BIG. Moses has worked big for some time but rarely had the chance to show big; he's usually represented in group shows by thoughtful, smallish assemblages that yearn to grow larger. Here his walls of turntables and stereo receivers are in their proper milieu, allowing viewers to revel in their sheer size or focus in tightly on their fetishized technology — all those sleek buttons, knobs and dials, shiny like money. The Chevy Blazer outfitted with 300 speakers may be the coolest thing anyone's ever made. While Moses explores hip-hop culture, Jason Wallace Triefenbach camps out in white-trash territory with a multifaceted performance/installation whose devil is in the details: the ATM, Zebra Cakes and beer cans, the vinyl John F. Kennedy album, the framed photograph of a dog and meat. Comparisons to Cady Nolan are too facile; Triefenbach is carving out his own territory — and getting it pitch-perfect. Matthew Strauss' canvases make references to high art only to tear it apart; they're smart but wither slightly in the noisy company of his companions. Be that as it may, this is a very, very good show. Through March 26 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 (www.contemporarystl.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (open till 8 p.m. Thu.), 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

Arshile Gorky: The Early Years — Drawings and Paintings 1927-1937 This modest show consists mostly of small drawings by enigmatic early Abstract Expressionist Arshile Gorky, an Armenian immigrant who never quite fit into the American heroic-artist mold. Several quasi-cubist and surrealist-inflected drawings wrestle with questions of space and spatial relations; they contain genuine insight into the education of a budding abstract artist, dealing with forebears like Picasso and Mir". Two oil paintings stand out for their rarity: Circus (Composition) from 1936 and Abstraction (Conflicting Emotions) (1936-37) were executed by Gorky and his student Hans Burkhardt as they worked together on strategies for realizing in oil what they had observed and studied in life and art. This is a gem of a show, a nice complement to the other modernist shows on view in St. Louis at the moment. Through March 12 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Fusz Hall, Saint Louis University, 3700 West Pine Boulevard; 314-977-7170 (mocra.slu.edu). Hours: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Tue.-Sun.

1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...