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Playground games are metaphors for childhood itself: Watch children at play, and you'll find it's not always sugar and sunshine. Slides scorch legs in the afternoon heat, rocks are thrown, and knees are scraped. The playground is a micro-society where pecking orders are established, teams are picked, and feelings are hurt. Tetherball seems particularly cruel, as though it's specifically designed to inflict both concussions and strangulation. Indeed, consider Karyn Olivier's Tether-ball creation where 50-some balls are attached to a metal pole, resulting in a sculpture that looks eerily like stone. Olivier also explores other playground apparatus in her installation A Closer Look in the indoor galleries at Laumeier Sculpture Park (12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills; 314-821-1209 or www.laumeier.org). Join the artist for a free opening reception at the park's museum terrace from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, February 9, and take solace in the fact that many people were picked last for dodgeball, sport. In fact, you're probably working for them. The exhibit remains on view Tuesday through Sunday until Sunday, May 13.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 9. Continues through May 13

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Speaking of Highlights, Karyn Olivier

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