St. Louis Art Caps

Malcolm Gay encapsulates the local art scene.

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)

Great Rivers Biennial The city's most important juried exhibition awards three promising young artists with a joint show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and a cash prize worth $20,000 (up $5,000 from previous exhibitions). Whereas in years past the competition has featured everything from multimedia installations to oil painting, this year's winners are all firmly rooted in draftsmanship. Though each may incorporate drawing, their works are quite different: Recent Washington University grad Corey Escoto presents drawings and sculptures featuring the "Global Repair Service," a satirical global relief agency the artist has modeled on the United Nations; Michelle Oosterbaan, a visiting professor of art at Wash. U., contributes a fanciful series of drawings and installations that explores the ever-shifting landscape of memory; and Juan William Chavez, director of Boots Contemporary Art Space, brings a series of multimedia drawings inspired by Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Through April 20 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; www.contemporarystl.org or 314-535-4660. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.- Wed., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thu., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. (MG)

Honor Awards 2008 and Varsity Art XII For Honor Awards 2008, Art Saint Louis has chosen works by a selection of the 22 artists who received Awards of Excellence from the organization last year. It's a diverse bunch that features everything from photography to copper etching by artists Bradley E. Bauer, Sharon Bean, Jason Hoeing, David Lancaster, Shelley Muellhaupt, Libby Reuter, Cherie Sampson, Jo Stealey, Justin Visnesky and Bill Yates. Showing concurrently in the Annex Gallery (on the seventh floor) is Varsity Art XII, works by undergraduate and graduate art students from fourteen area colleges and universities. Through April 24 at Art Saint Louis, 917 Locust Street, Suite 300; 314-241-4810 or www.artstlouis.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. (MG)

Long Day from Common Concerns
Barry Sullivan
Long Day from Common Concerns
Mindflower from Working Hard at Playing With Yourself
Mark Winter
Mindflower from Working Hard at Playing With Yourself

Cary Horton: Structures and Cells A series of images that explore the sometimes quaint, sometimes violent intersection of the natural world with urban life. By printing images via inkjet printer directly onto film negatives, Horton creates a layered effect in which plants and animals appear as ill-placed ghostly reminders of the natural world. Through April 25 at Snowflake/City Stock, 3156 Cherokee Street (www.snowflakecitystock.com). Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. (MG)

Leslie Laskey: Work Now in his eighties, Laskey was among the troops to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-day in 1944. He later studied with Bauhaus practitioner Laszlo Moholy-Nagy before taking a position at Washington University's School of Architecture, where he trained several generations of architects. Laskey's vigorous studio regimen is evidenced by his current show. For one portion the artist has plucked decaying doll heads from area trash heaps. Placed on pedestals and photographed against indefinite backgrounds, the damaged heads recall the marble busts of antiquity — only here Laskey presents latter-day relics of a machined world. The show also presents a collection of recent prints. Working in a familiar medium, the artist exhibits his enduring fascination with the utilitarian elegance of everyday objects, accentuating their simple genius and frank sensuality. As though to underscore Laskey's importance in the art world, the gallery will also screen a segment of a documentary about the artist's life and work by filmmakers David and Lulu Wild. Through April 19 at Bruno David Gallery, 3721 Washington Boulevard; www.brunodavidgallery.com or 314-531-3030. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. and by appointment. (MG)

Miao Xiaochun: The Last Judgment in Cyberspace What do the subjects in a painting see? That question lies at the heart of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art's first exhibition of 2008. Working from Michelangelo's Last Judgment, Chinese digital artist Miao Xiaochun has re-imagined the towering fresco in which Christ separates the blessed from the damned, from the internal perspectives of some of the fresco's subjects. This allows the viewer to, say, view the scene from the angst-ridden point of view of a cowering man awaiting judgment. Moreover, whereas the original work features muscular male and female figures, Miao's work, rendered in black-and-white digital photographs, features the same computer-generated nude in each role: Miao himself. The exhibition includes a short animation, allowing viewers to explore the entire three-dimensional work. The effect is as mesmerizing as it is vertiginous. Through May 11 at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, 3700 West Pine Boulevard (on the Saint Louis University campus); 314-977-7170 or http://mocra.slu.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (MG)

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