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Agnes Denes, Wheatfield—A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan, with Agnes Denes Standing in the Field, 1982. Courtesy the artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York. Photo: John McGrall.
Two intriguing new shows open this Friday at two of the city's top museums. Stop by the opening night receptions, or make plans to see both some time this summer.
Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967-2017
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd. | www.camstl.org
Opens 7-9 p.m. Fri., May 5. 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.
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Tennessee Williams: The Playwright and the Painter
Saint Louis University Museum of Art
Tennessee Williams. Le Solitaire, 1976. Oil on canvas board. 25 x 31 inches. On loan through the generosity of David Wolkowsky.
3663 Lindell Blvd. | sluma.slu.edu
Opens 5 to 8 p.m. Fri. May 5. Continues through Jul. 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.