ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky,
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

The Hot Arts Scene Is What Makes Summer in St. Louis Cool

As Laumeier Sculpture Park continues to celebrate its 40th Anniversary year, a large-scale sculpture was recently installed. Alexandre da Cunha’s Mix (Americana), 2013, was gifted to Laumeier’s Permanent Collection by the Brazilian artist and CRG Gallery, New York, following exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) as the fifth MCA Plaza Project.

Mix (Americana) is a full-scale, patriotic red-white and blue cement mixer. With its heavy-duty mixing works removed from the rear of the truck, Mix (Americana) now features a functional sundial in its place. Viewers can peek inside the steel chamber, as light reflects and refracts, resulting in a complex web of shadows and shapes.

According to Marily Knode, Laumeier’s Executive Director, “within the context of Laumeier’s green space, Mix (Americana) inspires discussion about the suburban landscape and the complex meeting point between natural and manmade environments. Da Cunha’s artwork is a sly commentary on how we now orient ourselves in the landscape using the concrete constructions of the urban world. Mix (Americana) is a meaningful addition to the artworks in the Park that frame our relationship to the environment in new ways.”

Alexandre da Cunha was born in 1969 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He attended Royal College of Art, London, and earned his Master of Arts from Chelsea College of Art, London, in 2000, with solo exhibitions worldwide, from CRG Gallery, New York to NAK in Aachen, Germany. The artist currently resides and works in London.
The sculpture is now on view in Laumeier’s Museum Circle, visible from the Lower Entrance parking lots.

Stray Dog Theatre presents Bat Boy: The Musical, an offbeat comedy/horror musical satire about prejudice, August 4-20 at Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. It’s a tabloid-headline story about a strange, deformed boy found alone in a cave near a tiny West Virginia town. When the “bat boy” comes into the community, dark yet hilarious secrets emerge, causing residents to rethink their attitudes. A playfully clever pop/rock score highlights the show’s delirious take on American eccentricities. Story and Book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming. Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe.

According to press info, “In effort to keep the selection of shows engaging and dynamic, this production may not be appropriate for all ages; mature audiences recommended.” Ticket info available at 314-865-1995 or www.StrayDogTheatre.org.

Shifting to a more serious, but still adult theme, is Union Avenue Opera’s presentation of Doubt, August 19-20 and 26-27. Intrigue, cruelty, and betrayal swirl about the doomed diva Floria Tosca in a riveting drama that explores the dark side of human emotion. Internationally-acclaimed (and St. Louis’ own!) Christine Brewer stars in Douglas J. Cuomo’s dramatic opera, set to some of Puccini’s most passionate and unforgettable music. Based on the 2005 Tony Award-winning play of the same name by John Patrick Shanley, Doubt’s continually running and unsettling theme remains that which is left unsaid. Ms. Brewer reprises the role of Sister Aloysisu which she originated in 2013 at the opera’s premiere. Performances are at 8 p.m. at 733 N. Union Blvd. Ticket info for the sure-to-sell-out performances can be found at 314-361-2881 or online at unionavenueopera.org.

While some art institutions close for the summer, there’s still plenty of visual art to check out this month (a great way to beat the St. Louis summer heat!):
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation at 3716 Washington, presents three simultaneous exhibitions that run the gamut from 18th century decorative items to soft sculptures by Claes Oldenburg. The exhibitions run through October 12; visit www.pulitzerarts.org for details.

Through mid-month (August 14), Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design in the Loop presents its 7th Biennial Juried Exhibition. Multi-media works fill the gallery so check out the exhibit (www.craftalliance.org).

In St. Charles, Framations Gallery on 218 N. Main Street presents a juried exhibition by a wide range of artists in every medium. “All Things Wild” showcases, well, all wild “things”—some fun, some realistic, some abstract. More info at www.framations.com.

The Gallery of University City Public Library in the Loop presents an exhibition of oil paintings by Andy Leicht. Entitled “Obituary Portraits,” the works are definitely worth a look-see. The exhibition is open during normal library hours through August 30, www.ucitylibrary.org.