St. Louis Art Capsules

Jessica Baran encapsulates the St Louis arts scene

 Newly Reviewed
Memories of Fire Island Reviewed in this issue.

A New Currency The visual equivalent of "least said, soonest mended" is suggested by this modestly resonant group show which aims to diagnose the current recession's effect on art-making. The three St. Louis-area artists included — Jennifer Wilkey, Bruce Burton and Mike Schuh — enact through their works a kind of expressive triage, taking stock of what's available and making do with remains. Wilkey reimagines a patient's recliner with a finely stitched IV drip. Burton collects carpet swatches, rusted screws, discarded vinyl shapes — among other minute detritus — and re-presents them with new, elusive integrity. Schuh sees the gesture of a black-painted deck of cards, floor-strewn, as a kind of casual portent. The eclectic, disparate and largely un-manipulated materials of these pieces sparely punctuate the gallery in a way that creates a heightened sense of tactile and articulated space. It's as though space itself, along with all other things radically mundane, deserves a fresh value. Economically curated by Cole Root and Amy Blomme to great effect. Through July 19 at Snowflake/Citystock, 3156 Cherokee Street; www.snowflakecitystock.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.

Ongoing
Chantal Akerman: Moving Through Time and Space An explicit treatment of film as art, this survey of two decades' worth of the Belgian documentarian's work distills the medium to two essential parts: narration and gaze. Projected and screened in truncated swatches in a dark warren of loosely partitioned spaces, Akerman's work appears as a menagerie of endless highways, anonymous passersby and the overlapping cadences of the cigarette-ravaged voiceover of the filmmaker herself. Because two of her films explore canonically familiar American subjects — the culture of the Deep South and the Mexican immigrant experience — the issue of otherness, or how someone else's perspective can transform the well known, becomes saliently relevant. How much, actually, is different when seeing the familiar through another's eyes? Complementing Akerman's work is British artist Carey Young's Speech Acts, a series of pieces capitalizing on the creative potential of call centers, telephone operators and that disembodied voice at the end of a long line that calmly leads you through the nebulous airspace of critical questions and their ostensibly revelatory answers. It's an attractive form that suggests perhaps all of us have a need for the ritual of bureaucratic help — as a kind of general panacea, with nothing actually resulting from its use. Through August 2 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

Built: Kranzberg Exhibition Series Six St. Louis-based artists — Mike Behle, Stan Chisholm, Sarah Frost, Craig Norton, Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen — were chosen to transform the small rooms of Laumeier's gallery space into site-specific installations for this annual exhibition that usually focuses on the work of just one local sculptor. The decision to select artists whose work is not predominantly three-dimensional to expand their practices to fit installation art's all-consuming proportions, and thereby exemplify a current trend, is an interesting idea, if something of an assignment. The resulting work feels equal parts challenging and strained — that is, challenging for the artists to execute, no doubt, but an unnatural extension of their native impulses. Chisolm, Norton and Fuller/Paulsen, for instance, translate their distinct two-dimensional aesthetics in a way that comes across as somewhat stiffly set-like. Frost and Behle struggle to make their pieces cohere more naturally and transcend their disparate consumer materials. As a whole, the show feels like a curious maze of backdrops to actions — particularly all the trials that go along with navigating, or in this case, building, unfamiliar territory. Through September 6 at Laumeier Sculpture Park. 12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209 or www.laumeier.com. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun. (Outdoor grounds open daily from 8 a.m. to a half-hour past sunset).

Christopher Orr & J. Parker Valentine & Rezi van Lankveld This trio (from London, New York and Amsterdam, respectively) proposes its solutions to the problems of abstraction and novelty in the painting tradition. Orr, whose small canvases possess the shadowed, sepia patina of Dutch Old Master paintings, is figural in his depictions, though utterly elusive in his content. Valentine makes chaotic charcoal marks and pink blush rubbings and assembles the pieces to create jagged lean-to structures that rise to a mere fraction of the human scale. Van Lankveld is thoroughly abstract in imagery, filling a moderate-size board with matte, gray-scale, marbleized paint, but suggestively depictive in spirit: The piece is entitled Listen. The artists couldn't be treating their projects with any more dense a sense of history, seriousness and importance, which makes their work both highly portentous and highly cerebral. Through June 28 at the Front Room of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

Marcel Duchamp: Chess Master This thorough and engaging re-examination of the father of conceptual art's sudden choice to resign from making art to become a full-time chess player sees Duchamp's ostensible career change as yet another brilliant creative maneuver. Duchamp, who was responsible for some of the most formidable innovations in twentieth-century art — most resonant, the idea that choice-making itself is an artistic act — found chess to be not only a universal language but the ultimate distillation of his fundamental interests: winning, losing and fastidious strategy. The exhibition presents ephemera and art related to the artist's late years as a chess champion, chess writer, chess correspondent and chess aesthetician (even the chessboard and pieces held particular interest for Duchamp and his like-minded contemporaries), the sum of which is an elegant argument for the game's expansive and allegorical merits, as well as the boundless intellectual agility of the ever-clever master himself. Through August 16 at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, 3663 Lindell Boulevard; 314-977-2666 or www.sluma.slu.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sun.

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