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The Great Rivers Biennial 

That much-anticipated regional diagnostic, the Great Rivers Biennial, opens at the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or on Friday, May 11. Every two years, a prestigious jury of far-flung art professionals selects three local artists for a museum exhibition and a formidable monetary prize ($20,000) with which they’re free to do as they please. This year’s crop includes photographer David Johnson, relational artist Asma Kazmi and sculptor Mel Trad. Among the three, a thoroughly disparate array of media is covered, sure to yield intriguing results. Johnson has been working on a photo series that documents the museum itself as well as its patronage, chronicling such disparate environs as office quarters and the domestic interiors of wealthy collectors. Kazmi invited participants in a local adult-literacy program to reflect upon their lives through drawings, the product of which will be exhibited alongside videos and live performances. Trad’s abstract sculptures will articulate the space with a vigorous high-to-low exchange, drawing in formal elements from the writ-large canon (Giacometti in particular) to the minutae of locally culled detritus. The exhibition will remain on display through August 12.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 11. Continues through Aug. 12, 2012

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