Unsheltering skies of infinity5/3/2017
The new round of exhibitions in the metro are intergalactic in scope, with dark humor, lawlessness and narrow examinations of the environment thrown in. Who knew that Andy Warhol made a screen print portrait of Albert Einstein in his series “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century”? Despite all the exposure of Warhol’s portraits of other celebrities, and despite the salability of Einstein images, this remained pretty much unknown. Why? It’s a brilliant print of a genius’ duality.
Jacob Epstein’s bronze portrait of Einstein is also barely known to the market of poster and T-shirt buyers. Both Einsteins are part of the new Des Moines Art Center exhibition “Planetarium,” which looks to the skies for both inspiration and the validation of physics. This show is filled with speculations of very famous artists — Joseph Cornell, Jean Dubuffet, Utagawa Toyokuni, Edwaqrd Rushka, Alexander Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, Joán Miró, plus others looking toward the same dark skies.
From Laura Nakadate’s woman seeking advice from the unsheltering night sky of Tucson, to Yvonne Jacquette’s “Night Sky over San Juan,” Ruscha’s “Big Dipper over Desert,” Alan Secundra’s “Starry Night,” and Fumiaki Fukita’s “Super Constellation,” these artists have looked into the vast nevertheless and left us with something to consider. “Boats Through the Black Night Storming” by Albert Hencke, Jean Dubuffet’s “Chars et Chevaux Celestas,” Gabor F. Peterdi’s “Red Eclipse II” and Utagawa Toyokuni’s “Moon Viewing – September Festival” bring stargazers back to Earth for perspective. Jean Arp, Horace Clifford Westermann, Robert Fried, Joseph Cornell and Harold Clifford provide further meditations upon star-driven destinies. This show plays through Aug. 15.
Travis Rice plays his cards in an alternate universe. The former Des Moines artist returns to town from Phoenix. Much of his show at Moberg Gallery is from an exhibition at Arizona State University. There is far less confetti, ticker tape and other disposable stuff than in his earlier shows in Des Moines. His Des Moines show uses third-dimensional models to confuse and depict space between illusion and reality, “form and materiality.”
He is showing in Moberg’s “Four Solos.” That show includes the transmorphic imagination of New Yorker Andrew Abbott, large meditative abstractions by John Phillip Davis, and geometrically enhanced images of American landscapes by Bosnian born artist Senid Tabakovic. This exhibition plays through May.
Olson-Larsen Galleries debuted their new show on Valley Junction’s spring gallery night in April. Tim Freirich brings introspections upon shale, corn fields and other flora looking for manmade influences on the environment. Wendy Rolfe shows reflections of her latest excursions into Latin American leaps of Christian faith. Debra Smith’s fabric collages continue that artist’s explorations into the magic of silk. This exhibition plays through June 9.
Steven Vail Fine Arts is assembling a show called “I Reserve the Right to Remain Silent” about lawlessness and the arts. Vail has secured a quartet of superstars working on this premise. The best known, or the least known, depending upon where one points his or her eyes in the art world, is Alix Lambert. Alix is an Emmy-winning writer for TV’s “Deadwood” and a well reviewed photographer. For this exhibition, she shows a remarkable series of drawings from criminal Superior Court of New York. Quotes from courtroom proceedings add dark humor: “We have a saying in trauma surgery. All bleeding stops when the patient dies,” and “I want to stab somebody in the neck. Maybe you. Maybe somebody else.”
Lambert will be partnered for this exhibition with Jeremiah Elbel’s new series of child molester art, Jean Dixon’s “Cops & Robbers” series of chases and crime scenes as they might be observed from an upper story New York City apartment window, and Mike Bidlo’s enlarged fingerprints from his “Not Manzoni’s” series. This show is still not fully scheduled. ♦