St. Louis Art Capsules

Malcolm Gay encapsulates the St. Louis arts 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 or Hours: noon-5 p.m. Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Landscape Exhibition Pop. Contemporary. Edgy. Many words come to mind when describing the bill of fare at the Philip Slein Gallery. One term that rarely enters the gallery's lexicon, however, is landscape painting. Until now. This month Philip Slein mounts a landscape exhibition comprising works by ten painters. The artists, who hail from various parts of the Midwest, approach their subjects in a wide range of styles. Some, such as the painterly works of Yingxue Zuo, hew to a strict realism, while others, such as Michael Noland's fantastically psychedelic Blue Glory, give the genre a more narcotic edge. The show includes more straightforward paintings by Frank Stack, Jeff Aeling, Bonnie Murray and Dan Barton, as well as less traditional works by Douglass Freed, Michael Noland, Rosalyn Schwartz, Helene Slavin and Amy Enkleman-Reed. Through July 5 at Philip Slein Gallery, 1319 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634 ( Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

Take Out Featuring roughly 100 eight-by-ten photographic works, Take Out marks the final show for the Ellen Curlee Gallery. Departure is the theme, and the exhibition addresses the idea on several levels. Curlee commissioned the photographs from a wide variety of artists — painters, videographers and, yes, photographers — asking them to draw inspiration from the notion of decampment. Each of the photos is priced to move at a democratic $100, and if you buy one, you take it down from the wall and walk away with it that very day. The show will dissolve as it progresses, until the gallery's patrons have entirely deconstructed it. 1308A Washington Avenue; 314-241-1299 ( Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

Things That Matter: Art by Children with Autism The premise: Artistic creation can help children with autism to better express themselves. The disorder, which affects a person's ability to communicate, often includes intense fascinations with things: stoves, Hello Kitty, dinosaurs. Harnessing this fascination, coordinators Bevin Early and Nancy Pierson asked children to make art about their obsessions. So we have a video of a teenager dancing to Willy Wonka's "The Golden Ticket," a collection of found objects from a boy who collects everything he can and repeated self-portraits of a young boy. Also showing: the work of Don Koster and Jen Maigret, the 2007-'08 Cynthia Weese Teaching Fellows at Wash. U.'s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Through September 6 (Koster and Maigret) and September 13 (Autism) at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or Hours: noon-8 p.m. Tue. and Thu., noon-5 p.m. Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.

Brett Williams: A Small Dark Place Brett Williams brings his punk-rock vision of installation video art to Pace Framing's PSTL Window Gallery. For A Small Dark Place, Williams has refashioned the tiny gallery using plywood to create (you guessed it) a small dark place. Inside (you must crawl on your hands and knees to view the video playing inside) Williams has crafted a graphic that looks something like a spinning red onion. The piece is accompanied by a jarring soundtrack filled with slamming doors, bagpipes and dropping chains; the onion-like form spins out of control until it crashes to the sound of the falling chain. The entire affair lasts no more than fifteen seconds — just about as long as Williams thinks the average viewer can stand. Through July 18 at PSTL Window Gallery at Pace Framing, 632 North Grand Boulevard; 314-531-4304 ( Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

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