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Sanford Biggers and Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 30

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opens some of the most ambitious and vital shows in its history this month, with a series of exhibitions by, and about, black artists and the black experience. Sanford Biggers works directly with the materials of his forebearers — quilts and African sculptures — only he reshapes and repurposes them as contemporary statements about black identity, history and trauma. Biggers gives found quilts new life with new handwork, encoding personal messages into their original pattern. The fact that the work of an anonymous black craftsman or woman now appears in galleries and museums around the world, even in Biggers' modified form, is both subversive and celebratory. With wooden sculptures, some of which are copies, he dips them in wax and then works them over with firearms. What begins as a statue of a human or human-shaped supernatural being becomes obscured, disfigured and unrecognizable through the violence wrought upon it.

In addition to Biggers' work, CAM presents a show of the private photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat emerged from the New York City hip-hop/punk/graffiti scenes in the 1970s as one-half of the graffiti duo SAMO, along with Al Diaz. The pair together tagged buildings with cryptic phrases denouncing the establishment, politics and religion, always signed "SAMO" (an acronym for "Same Old Shit"). When the duo broke up, Basquiat performed in the noise rock band Test Pattern (later named "Gray") with Vincent Gallo and Michael Holman. He lived on the streets, sold drugs and experimented with Xerox art, painting and drawing. Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 will showcase everything the artist made while living in a small East Village apartment with his friend Alexis Adler before he hit the big time. It's a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, as well as Adler's photographs of his friend.

Both exhibitions open with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 7, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.camstl.org). The shows continue through December 30.

free admission

The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12, 2019

America's long history of welcoming new arrivals to Team USA is celebrated in the exhibition The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers. From the earliest days of photography in the 1890s, when Ellis Island clerk Augustus Frederick Sherman began documenting immigrants with his camera, to today, when Italian photographer Alex Majoli captures the crisis of refugees trying to survive the ocean crossing from Africa to Greece, the exhibit shows the people who fled their homes in search of safety. The Immigrants doesn't shy away from the worst moments; Dorothea Lange's suppressed photograph of Japanese Americans in a U.S. internment camp during World War II is part of the show, as are more ennobling images made by Lewis Hine and Bob Gruen. The Immigrants opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; www.thesheldon.org). The show remains up through January 12. free admission

Buy Tickets
The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 16, 2019

Lola Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican artist, educator and curator whose life spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Álvarez Bravo crisscrossed her way across the country with camera in hand, creating portraits of other working artists. Always shooting, she also made images of regular people and the architecture — both old and new — at a time when Mexico was rapidly growing and transforming. Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard; www.pulitzerarts.org), features more than 40 of her black-and-white photographs in all their glory. Picturing Mexico opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Also debuting the same night are more than 60 sculptures by Ruth Asawa, who often worked with wire. Both shows remain on display through February 16. The Pulitzer is open Wednesday through Saturday. free admission

Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Ruth Asawa: Life's Work Curatorial Tour

Fri., Dec. 7, 6-7 p.m.
phone 314-754-1850
khasler@pulitzerarts.org
, ,

Join Curator Tamara H. Schenkenberg for a tour of Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work. This landmark career-spanning show brings together some eighty works, comprising nearly sixty sculptures from the full trajectory of her career—including looped wire, tied wire, electroplated, and cast works—as well as twenty drawings and collages. Photograph by Virginia Harold free

https://pulitzerarts.org/program/ruth-asawa-curatorial-tour-dec/
Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850

First Fridays

Fri., Dec. 7, 5-9 p.m.

Mark the First Friday of every month on your calendar for a culture fest in the Grand Center Arts District. At CAM, join the exhibition tour, have a drink at the bar, and move to the sounds of DJ-in-residence 18andCounting.

Beatrice Red Star Fletcher and Wendy Red Star

Sat., Dec. 8, 1-3 p.m.
phone 314-754-1850
khasler@pulitzerarts.org
, ,

Join Beatrice Red Star Fletcher and Wendy Red Star, an intergenerational artist collaborative duo, for a kid-friendly tour of Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work and Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico. In addition to the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to participate in an art-making activity. The tour is recommended for children ages 8-13, and we ask that you accompany your children at all times. This program is free, but space is limited; registration is encouraged at pulitzerarts.org. free

https://pulitzerarts.org/program/tour-with-beatrice-red-star-fletcher-and-wendy-red-star/
Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Beatrice Red Star Fletcher and Wendy Red Star

Artists First Deck the Wall with Art and Love

Fri., Dec. 14, 6-10 p.m.
phone 314-781-4440
susan@artistsfirststl.org
,

We invite you to join us to celebrate, give thanks and prepare for the continued possAbilities of Artist First. Friday, December 14, 2018 6-10pm Deck the Walls with Art and Love A night of Music with Annie and the Furtrappers, Dancing, Naughty & Nice Buffet, Silent Auction and Art $35

http://ArtistsFirstSTL.org
Kappa League (map)
500 N Vandeventer Ave
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-652-3360
Artists First Deck the Wall with Art and Love
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