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Art Outside

Fri., May 26, 5-10 p.m., Sat., May 27, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sun., May 28, 12-4 p.m.
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It's Memorial Day weekend, which means you have a bevy of festival options. One of the best is Schlafly's Art Outside, the long-running juried art show that takes over the front parking lot at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; www.schlafly.com). More than 60 local artists will be set up selling their hand-made art direct to the people. There are some familiar names among that group (Eric Woods and Firecracker Press, Jay Thompson and his magical CatWorks digital photographs and paintings) as well as emerging artists, selling everything from jewelry to textiles. Art Outside runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday (May 26 to 28). Local bands will perform all three days, and Schlafly's kitchen will offer some new takes on festival food (chorizo nachos) and beverages (a sticky toffee pudding milkshake). This year's artist series beer is Dr. Kentucky's Concoction from His Curious Cabinet: Batch 40004, with a label designed by Noah McMillan. Admission to Art Outside is free. free admission

Schlafly Bottleworks (map)
7260 Southwest Ave
Maplewood
phone 314-241-2337
Art Outside

First Impressions

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through May 27

Pride and Prejudice remains immensely popular more than 200 years after its release thanks to Jane Austen's ability to translate to the page the love, longing and hasty decision-making of young women. For the final production of Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble's tenth season, the company presents First Impressions, an interesting take on Austen's novel. Inspired by Elizabeth Bennet's reliance on first impressions, Ellie Schwetye and Rachel Tibbetts polled people via social media about their first impressions of the novel. These gathered recollections are woven into the story as a way of celebrating the novel's perpetual pull on readers' hearts and minds. First Impressions is presented at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (May 17 to 27) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive; www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

The Chapel (map)
6238 Alexander Drive
Clayton First Impressions

Imagery of Chess: St. Louis Artists

Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sundays, 12-5 p.m. and Mondays, Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 17

In 1944 Marcel Duchamp, Julien Levy and Max Ernst organized The Imagery of Chess, an exhibition of chess sets reimagined by artists and performers. Their hope was that people's vision of the chess board and pieces would be expanded beyond the then-accepted options of either the classic Staunton design or the "French" set. In 2016, the World Chess Hall of Fame exhibited some of the works from the 1944 show to acknowledge the debt owed to those artists for forever altering the look of chess. Imagery of Chess: St. Louis Artists is the new follow-up exhibit, which invites twenty local artists to have their way with the game pieces. Among those participating are Eugenia Alexander, who cites the Afrofuturism movement as a key influence on her work; fashion designer and Project Runway vet Michael Drummond; and Yuka Suga, a glass and metals artist who also works as a therapist. A second, simultaneous show, Pow! Capturing Superheroes, Chess & Comics, showcases more than 200 chess-themed comic books (you'd be surprised by how many super villains play chess to keep their minds sharp for optimal intricate scheming functionality). There are also superhero-themed chess boards and a comic book reading room. Both exhibitions open a free reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 23, at the World Chess Hall of Fame (4652 Maryland Avenue; www.worldchesshof.org). Imagery of Chess continues through September 14. Pow! remains up through September 17. Admission is a suggested $5 donation. $5 suggested donation

The Hats of Stephen Jones

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 3
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You may not recognize Stephen Jones by name, but you've most likely seen his work. The English milliner's creations have been worn by trend-setting celebrities for more than 30 years, from Princess Diana to Lady Gaga. A selection of eight of his avant-garde hats are displayed at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org) in Hats of Stephen Jones, a complementary exhibition to the ongoing exhibition Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade. Jones' exhibit will remain up from Friday, April 21 to Sunday, September 3. At 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Jones visits the museum to discuss his work and his inspirations with New York milliner Jennifer Ouellette. Admission to the lecture is $20 to $25; exhibition admission is $6 to $15. $6-$15

In the Realm of Trees

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 3

Classical Chinese artists often used trees as inspirations or the focus of their works. Trees and the natural world are the focus of the new exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org), In the Realm of Trees, which includes photographs, paintings and decorative works that glorify the beauty found in nature. The centerpiece of the show is a set of contemporary photographs called Sacred Tree on Mount Lu, made by Beijing-based photographer Michael Cherney, which was acquired for the museum's permanent collection in 2016 and will be presented for the first time in this exhibit. In the Realm of Trees opens on Friday, March 10, and remains up through Sunday, September 3, in gallery 225. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. free admission

Learning to See: Renaissance and Baroque Masterworks

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through July 30

Phoebe Dent Weil created the field of sculpture conservation in the early 1970s right here in St. Louis. As you might imagine, her personal collection of art is deep and full of treasures. Her husband Mark Weil was an art historian, and his collection is also heavy with the hits of the Baroque and Renaissance. They have promised their joint art holding to the Saint Louis Art Museum, where the public will be able to enjoy for years to come the fruits of their very fruitful collecting years. Learning to See: Renaissance Baroque Masterworks from the Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil Collection features etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Dürer and sixteenth-century Italian terracotta sculptures and busts, each work a miracle of craftsmanship and artistic vision. free admission

Jennifer Colten: Higher Ground

Wednesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Tuesdays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 26

Back in the old days, the insanities of racism and segregation kept black people and white people out of the same graveyards. Washington Park Cemetery was for many years the largest final resting place for black St. Louis. Its proximity to Lambert St. Louis International Airport doomed it, however. Highway 70 ran through the middle of the cemetery in the 1950s, and more bodies were moved in the '90s when MetroLink tracks were laid and the airport expanded. Photographer Jennifer Colten documented the current state of the cemetery for the new multimedia exhibition Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery, Its People and Place. Her large-scale, color photographs are supported by historical documentation, video and oral histories (by Denise Ward-Brown) and an art installation by Dail Chambers, all toward the goal of illuminating the racial politics and tangled history behind a black cemetery’s sacrifice in the name of progress. free admission

Buy Tickets
The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
Jennifer Colten:  Higher Ground

Tennessee Williams: The Playwright and the Painter

Wednesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through July 23

In addition to his work as a playwright, Tennessee Williams painted. The subject of his expressionist paintings varies; often he painted close friends, but some of his creations reference scenes from his plays, or reveal his personal feelings. David Wolkowsky, a close friend of Williams, has graciously loaned seventeen paintings from his personal collection to the Saint Louis University Museum of Art as part of this year's Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis. This is only the second time they’ve been exhibited outside of Key West, so fans should take advantage of this rare viewing. The show is supplemented by an audio recording of Williams reading his poetry and a short video of Wolkowsky discussing his friend. free admission

Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967-2017

Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 13

Agnes Denes' photograph Wheatfield -- A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan is one of the more incongruous images you're likely to see. The artist stands holding a staff in a hip-deep golden field of wheat; rising up from the other side of the street is a battalion of skyscrapers. You don't think of Manhattan as agriculturally active, but wheat grew wild near the landfill in 1982. The image is part of the Contemporary's summer exhibition, Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967-2017, which takes a contemplative approach to documenting the ebb and flow of city life. Urban Planning comprises photographs, sculptures and installations that address gentrification, white flight and the decay that follows -- and the occasional rebirth of a city. free admission

Crossin' Over

Sundays, 2 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Thursdays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 18

Ron Himes and Charles Creath first debuted their musical revue Crossin' Over in 2005, when we were fighting a war on terror and our civic freedoms were being restrained in the name of public safety. Twelve years later the show returns to a changed America, one that's seen the gains in liberty and equality achieved under our first black president under assault from yet another power-mad dum-dum. Crossin' Over charts the path of the African diaspora, from the middle passage to the civil rights movement. The show incorporates the entire trajectory of black spiritual music, from traditional West African drumming to church hymns and gospel standards, right up to the contemporary gospel of the moment. Throughout, the music runs the constant refrain of survival and resistance -- we shall overcome, no matter the odds. Crossin' Over is performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 26 to June 18) in the Emerson Performance Center at Harris-Stowe State University (3026 Laclede Avenue; www.theblackrep.org). Tickets are $10 to $40. $10-$40

A Human Being Died that Night

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sun., May 28, 2 p.m. Continues through May 27

Eugene de Kock is a nightmare figure in the history of South Africa. The commanding officer of the notorious C10 police squad, de Kock was personally responsible for the torture and murder of numerous anti-apartheid activists, including members of the African National Congress. He admitted all this freely in court after apartheid was abolished and a new government was established, and was sentenced to 212 years in prison for his crimes. Psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela interviewed de Kock several times, trying to understand how a man who thought of himself as moral could so brutally and callously treat other human beings. Nicholas Wright adapted Gobodo-Madikizela's book about de Kock and other killers into the two-person play A Human Being Died That Night. Upstream Theater presents the chilling work at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday (May 12 to 27), 7 p.m. Sunday (May 14 and 21) and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 North Grand Boulevard; www.upstreamtheater.org). Tickets are $25 to $30. $25-$30

Buy Tickets
Kranzberg Arts Center (map)
501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
A Human Being Died that Night

#1 in Civil Rights

Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through April 15, 2018

St. Louis' history as a wellspring of civil rights activism is deep and impressive. Dred and Harriet Scott's legal fight to be free, Mary Meachum's bold actions leading slaves to freedom across the Mississippi River, the Jefferson Bank protesters organizing to get access to better jobs, Percy Green and the daring VP Ball invaders who challenged St. Louis' powerful elite and the exclusionary nature of their private party — all of these people fought the good fight in St. Louis. #1 in Civil Rights, the new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; www.mohistory.org) chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in the metro area through artifacts, historical photos, oral histories, art work and actors' performances. Every key moment in the black struggle for equality is covered up to the present day, with artifacts collected by the museum staff following the killing of Michael Brown and the resulting civil unrest in Ferguson playing a major role in the exhibit. #1 in Civil Rights opens on Saturday, March 11, and continues through April 15, 2018. Admission is free. free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
#1 in Civil Rights

Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis

Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through July 16

Before the interstate highway system was developed, Route 66 was the safest, fastest way to cross the western half of the country. Starting in Chicago and ending Santa Monica, the "Main Street of America" came right though St. Louis, but not in the mostly straight lines we're accustomed to now. At various points in time, Route 66 traversed Watson Road, Manchester Road, the Martin Luther King Bridge and the Poplar Street Bridge. That shifting route helped spur the growth of cities and businesses along the way, as travelers stopped overnight at the Coral Court Motel or grabbed a bit to eat at the Parkmoor Restaurant. Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis, the new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org), tells the story of the byway through roadside signs and gas pumps, historic vehicles, bus tours and photographs. Route 66 opens Saturday, June 25, and remains open through July 16, 2017. Admission is free. free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis

Shimon Attie: Lost in Space (After Huck)

Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Continues through June 25

American artist Shimon Attie is interested in making people aware of the historical import of public spaces that appear common. In New York he projected the written memories of long-time residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side onto former tenement buildings. For Portraits of Exile, his exhibition in Copenhagen, he submerged light boxes in a canal so that the portraits of Jewish refugees whom the government shipped to safety during World War II would remind Denmark of its heroic actions to save refugees in need, and underline the current administration's malign ambivalence to refugees. Lost in Space (After Huck), his new installation for the Saint Louis Art Museum, uses sculpture, video and audio to evoke the memories of St. Louis mytho-poetic past. A cast epoxy resin raft is the center of the piece; a corn-cob pipe, an oar and a bindle wait for their absent owners in the menacing glow of a police light. Digitally projected constellations of light appear and then wink out in the darkness surrounding the raft, while streaks of lighting race through the artificial night. free admission

Diego and Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Way

Wednesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 4

Diego Rivera became a legend in his native Mexico for his vibrant murals. Perhaps unfortunately for him, his enshrinement happened early in his life; it's difficult to be a man and a legend at the same time. Frida Kahlo chose to become a painter only after a serious car crash derailed her dream of being a doctor. Her self-portraits are revered for their depiction of the feminine experience, and they are informed both by her continuing physical pain and the emotional turmoil of her marriage to Rivera, whom she eventually divorced and then remarried. They made a vicarious, creative and combative couple, and were often photographed together and separately by friends and family. Diego and Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Way, the new exhibit at the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum (3415 Olive Boulevard; www.iphf.org), showcases a large collection of formal and informal photographs of the pair. Included in the exhibit are pictures captured by Guillermo Kahlo (Frida's father), Ansel Adams, muralist Lucienne Bloch, who photographed much of Rivera and Kahlo's work, and prolific Mexican photographer Agustin Victor Casasola. Diego and Frida is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (Saturday, May 13, to Friday, August 4). Admission is $3 to $5. $5

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