By now, everyone should know about the “Present Tense” exhibition opening this weekend at the Dixon. Everyone is talking about this show. Everyone. I have received no less than 40 emails from selected artists wanting me to interview them about their work in the exhibition, emails from artists complaining that they did not, somehow, make it in the show, emails from friends making fun of the other artists who were or were not selected to take part, and emails from people recalling stories of past visual art events from the previous decade. (My work is included.) The group of artists that I think are severely under-represented are art professors from University of Memphis and Memphis College of Art. Maybe, perhaps, they spend all their time and efforts educating future art stars rather than working in the studio and having a presence in the community. Maybe.
Regardless of what you think about the exhibition, who was or was not included, one thing is for certain: People are talking about the visual arts in Memphis. And that, if for no other reason, makes it all worth it.
There is a new alternative space opening on Broad that people are all excited about, Nu Gallery. They are having their inaugural one-night only exhibition this Friday, February 1st, 5:30-8 p.m. Titled “Co-Lab”, the exhibition is collaborative works from artists such as Hamlett Dobbins and Tad Lauritzen Wright, Ariel Claiborn and Leanna Hicks, and Jay Crum and Kong Wee Pang. Artists in Memphis love doing them some collaborative exhibitions. Marshall Arts is showing the second installment of their collaborative shows, “Memphis Connections” in April. We can thank, Hamlett Dobbins for getting everyone excited about working together and having collaborative exhibitions.
Since I am presently on a writing-about-murals kick, I thought I would mention the one by Cedar Lorca Nordbye. Norbye has created this mural in conjunction with the Winter Invitational exhibition at Gallery 56 that opens tomorrow night. The mural, next door to Gallery 56, will be temporary as it was created on the building scheduled to be demolished in a few months to make way for the new Casablanca Restaurant. Spending only about $100 in materials, Nordbye states the mural “brings to mind the Middle-East, or “The Orient” from 19th-century Orientalism to Disney’s Aladdin. Other artists in the Winter Invitational are Greg Bowden, John Sadowski, Mike Coulson, Evan Lebaroff, Terry Kenney, Katie Dann, Bien Howard, Paula Kovarik, Juan Rojo, Gary Parisi, and Shamek Weddle.
It is another busy weekend for the visual arts in Memphis. Check out our Art listing page to get the lowdown on the rest of what is happening and go see some art. If you see me out and about, we can talk about how Memphis just lost a legend. Hamed Haddadi, you will be missed!