Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Louisville Art Scene

The three-day weekend was a great opportunity to take in the Louisville art scene. I was able to view five shows: one closing, two opening, and two remaining on view. Hopefully you'll find time to take in one of these. If nothing else, make a trip to the KMAC to pick up the exh catalogue for this show—it's fashioned after an old-school airline ticket envelope to hold boarding passes—something familiar to travellers in the days before e-ticketing.

Created by Design Research, this folder is a stunning reminder of innovation and
expanding the boundaries—of graphic design - that serves as a fitting tribute to
Saarinen's quest for timeless principles that used innovation through technology. 

On view since November, KMAC's show Eero Saarinen: A Reputation For Innovation celebrates the new design style of the post-war age. Eero Saarinen's career, though cut short by a brain tumor, brought  minimalism as well as Bauhaus relentlessness to public and private commissions. The most familiar of his works might include the Saint Louis Arch. Perhaps lesser-known, though interesting as well, is the ice ink known as "the whale at Yale" due to its cavernous body. Models, facsimile drawings, videos, installations of furniture, ample photographs worked together to present a show about architectural genius—a difficult task to undertake in a gallery space the size of KMAC's, or any traditional gallery spaces, really. Seeing the drawings related to the arch next to photographs and the famed Guggenheim video shot during the final days of installation makes you really consider how ambitious of a project this was. And, how unusual it remains. Having seen the arch numerous times on my visits to St. Louis, I have not spent as much time considering the form as I did at this exhibition. 

Above: a printed facsimile of Saarinen's drawing for the arch.
Is the organizing premise based upon geometric form or numerical relationships?

The Faculty show at the Cressman offers the opportunity to take in the work of the U of L studio faculty across mediums and approaches. Types of works included thread construction, found objects, stoneware, video and typography, mixed media (acrylic, ink, and charcoal) on paper, pigment prints, and pastel. You're greeted by this variety all at once, as the space seemed very full (but in a good way). While very little text accompanied the pieces—leaving you with the opportunity, as well as the responsibility, to look at each work and consider what motivated the production of a particular piece—I felt rushed to take everything in. There was a lot to see and I feel like I missed a lot even though I spent time with each piece. A second visit is in order. Definitely. (And, it's on view through March 8th).

Peter Morrin, Bad Boy, 2014

Related to the Cressman show, in a sense, the Hite Galleries at the U of L offer a retrospective of John Whitesell, Professor of Fine Arts specializing in printmaking at the University of Louisville since 1973. This show closes in late Feb. The Louisville Visual Art Association (LVAA)'s exhibit On the Strip which focuses on the cartoon from the 18th century to the present with a particular focus on the mid-20th century. There were familiar faces—such as Donald Duck & Snoopy as well as my favorite "cartoonist", William Hogarth. This show is on view at PUBLIC, the LVAA's downtown hub, through the beginning of March. Finally, I'd heartily recommend Boris' exhibit shhh, flicker at Galerie Hertz which is on view until mid-February.

Screen capture from Galerie Hertz's website with a detail of Boris's oil on linen Flickering (2013).

Hopefully, we can all find some time to take in one of the four shows that remain open (all but the Saarinen) or others in the region. Seeing an exhibition is a great way to spend a cold winter day:)

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