St. Louis Art Capsules

Malcom Gay encapsulates the St. Louis arts scene

Openings

Discerning Palette: Jerry O. Wilkerson Retrospective Like many of his contemporaries in the pop art movement, Jerry Wilkerson, who died of cancer in 2007, took his inspiration from the world of consumer goods. Painting in a neo-pointillist style that was more influenced by the technological world of printing than the wispy ghost of George Seurat, Wilkerson tackled consumer culture in the most literal way. He painted that thing we consume directly: food. Boiled lobsters, hot dogs, beer cans, potato chips. Wilkerson did not confine himself strictly to painting. He was also sculptor whose three-dimensional creations tackled similar themes. Like the best pop art, the relationship of Wilkerson's work to the material consumer world is ambiguous: It celebrates the riot of product variety while simultaneously highlighting its disposable nature. March 28 (reception 5-7:30 p.m.) through August 15 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Boulevard; 314-977-2666 (www.slu.edu/x16374.xml). Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun. — Malcolm Gay

Ongoing

Deborah Aschheim: Reconsider In earlier projects Los Angeles-area sculptor Deborah Aschheim has explored the relationship between the cyborg and the surveillance state, most notably in her critically acclaimed multi-part installment Neural Architecture. More recently the artist has been exploring the nature of memory. Alzheimer's disease runs in Aschheim's family, and initially the artist embarked on her current project as a defense against forgetting. She submitted a list of her 25 favorite words to Bay Area musician Lisa Mezzacappa, who (along with other musicians) created songs for each word. Aschheim, in turn, created sculptures designed to play the songs. The idea: Our linguistic and auditory memories use separate neural pathways. By creating new sensory associations for these words, Aschheim might be able to protect them from the ravages of memory loss. The result is a series of boldly colored hanging sculptures — made of plastic tubing, LEDs, monitors and funnels — that resemble the circuitry of the human nervous system. Through May 11 at Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum Galleries, 12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209 (www.laumeiersculpturepark.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (MG)

Didi Dunphy: Playscape A sculpture exhibition that brings the playground into the gallery. An instructor at the University of Georgia, Dunphy calls her colorful creations — skateboards topped with colorful padding reminiscent of candy sticks, an orange seesaw, a set of bright tasseled swings — "friendly monuments." In inviting viewers to play with the work, and, in essence, become a part of the exhibit itself, Dunphy gives gallery-goers a shared and slightly goofy experience, stripping away the pomp and making the experience more accessible. Through April 20 at the Millstone Gallery at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 (www.cocastl.org). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (MG)

Every Man For Himself/God Against All An ambitious show featuring works by Marco Boggio Sella, Tim Hyde, Jill Magid, Lilly McElroy, Zachariah Rockhill and Eric von Robertson (who will also be the gallery's artist-in-residence). Curated by Hesse McGraw, the show takes its name from Werner Herzog's 1974 film, which details the true story of Kaspar Hauser, a wild child who appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 19th-century Nuremberg. Like the film that inspired it — which will be shown as part of a mini-festival that runs the length of the exhibition — McGraw's show seeks to explore the nature of the "other." Many of the works — a video project by Boggio Sella featuring a man in a space suit wandering among the villagers of Burkina Faso, Magid's LOVE project, which seeks to upend the impersonal relationship between people and the systems that monitor them — address the relationship between trespassing and belonging, between strangers and guests, between self and other. Through April 19 at White Flag Projects, 4568 Manchester Avenue; www.whiteflagprojects.org or 314-531-3442. Hours: noon-7 p.m. Wed, noon-5 p.m. Sat. and by appointment. For film schedule, click here. (MG)

Exchange: Prints from Nagoya Japan A group exhibit featuring prints by Terou Isomi and Seiichiro Miida. Showcasing traditional printmaking methods as well as emerging techniques only recently made available through technological advances, this show is something of a primer on modern Japanese printmaking. Clearly rooted in a serene Japanese aesthetic, many of the prints are richly (if at times a bit frantically) layered, as though the serenity of an earlier age were being encroached upon by a harried modern world. Through April 18 at Webster University's Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, 8342 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves; 314-968-7171 (www.webster.edu/depts/finearts/art). Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. (open till 8 p.m. Tue.-Wed.) and by appointment. (MG)

Dan Flavin: Constructed Light Limiting his palette to mass-produced fluorescent tubes of varying lengths and colors, Dan Flavin, who died in 1996, made a career distilling these ubiquitous artifacts of bureaucratic life into their purest form. The result: a body of reserved, minimalist work that at once extracts these relics from their workaday commercial context and reformulates the sites they inhabit with their refulgent glow. As installations, many of Flavin's works are site specific, leaving the stewards of his estate with the thorny question of whether in re-creating his works they are, in effect, creating new works of art. For this show, Tiffany Bell, director of the Dan Flavin catalogue raisonné project, and Steve Morse, who worked as Flavin's chief technician for many years, have chosen several works that rely more on architectural situations than on specific sites. The result is a meditative show that both accentuates and quarrels with the natural grace of their setting. Through October 4 at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 3716 Washington Boulevard; 314-754-1850 (www.pulitzerarts.org). Hours: noon-5 p.m. Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. (MG)

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