Artful Living – May 2017

St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

So Where Are Contemporary Artists?

Bruno David Gallery presents an exhibition this month featuring the works of five contemporary—but very different—artists. “This/That” is the first solo exhibition of paintings by William Conger. He investigates formal non-representational abstraction (“This”) nuanced by the suggestion of illusionism to evoke memories, feelings, etc. (“That”). Conger, based in Chicago, has exhibited his work in museums since 1958. The list is long, from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Wisconsin). He is professor emeritus of art and theory and practice at Northwestern University. Conger earned a B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and a M.F.A. from University of Chicago.

Also at the gallery, “Framed Abstractions 2005-2012” are paintings never exhibited in St. Louis by Michael Byron. The works are described by the artist as “formally rigorous and lyrically poetic.” Byron’s works are part of the museum collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art St. Louis; the St. Louis Art Museum; the Tamayo Museum, Mexico City; and the Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, among others. Byron was born in Rhode Island and received his M.F.A. from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1981. While living in Amsterdam, he participated in exhibitions in Germany, France, Sweden and Spain. He now calls St. Louis home and is a professor of art at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University.

The exhibition is rounded out by Judy Child’s “Revelations,” stripping away color and narrative in her works. Her paintings focus on “the natural beauty of serendipitous and complex configurations of pain.” Kelley Johnson, whose works have been exhibited at the Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City, KS and the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, presents an installations entitled “Somewhere Between Here and There.” He lives and works in Miami.

Memphis native-turned St. Louisan Bunny Burson creates an installation in the Window on Forsyth, viewable 24/7 through July 22. “And Still I Rise” features swirling shards of the actual confetti, which had been loaded into air cannons and were to have fallen from the glass ceiling at the Javits Center had Hillary Clinton become President on November 8, 2016. Burson holds multiple degrees in French, and in Art. She was awarded an artist residency at Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Washington University School of Art Award for Distinction and has exhibited her works from New York City to Leipzig, Germany. More info at brunodavidgallery.com.

To help you navigate the world of contemporary art, Laumeier Sculpture Park’s Curatorial Department invites you (adults, over 21 please) to Cocktails & Conversation on May 25 at 6 p.m. Get a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes artistic processes used during the stages of design, fabrication, installation and ongoing care of artworks in the Permanent Collection. Laumeier’s Conversation Series provides free, informal learning opportunities through discussion about new artworks in temporary exhibitions or legacy artworks in the Permanent Collection. Conversation Series events encourage participants to share ideas and ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere. Refreshments are provided. The event is at the Kranzberg Education Lab in the Park at 12580 Rott Road. Details at www.laumeier.org.

Contemporary performing artists abound at Dance St. Louis’ 10th Annual Spring to Dance, May 26-28 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s campus. Thirty different (totally different!) dance companies from across the U.S. perform throughout the series, providing a smorgasbord of the dance diversity. From contemporary and classical to modern, tap, ballet and more, the festival offers something for everyone with a different program each night. It’s the best opportunity to see a wide range of nationally touring professional dance companies in one place, three nights of nonstop, world-class dance for a bargain price. Truly a don’t-miss event! Visit dancestl.org for a list of the dance companies.

The City of Clayton launches Music in the City, a free Friday afternoon band series held at various restaurants throughout Clayton. Each week, three different bands perform 4:30-6:30 p.m. at three different locations. Beginning on May 5, it’s a fun way to start the weekend, from Ralph Butler to Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers! See the entire lineup at visit www.musicinclayton.com.

This summer, the Contemporary Art Museum presents “Urban Planning: Art and the City 1967–2017,” a group exhibition of artists’ responses to the transformational effects of urban development in the United States; a monumental, site-specific installation by Abigail DeVille made from the gathered detritus of St. Louis; and “KAWS: FAR FAR DOWN,” an exhibition of new works by the multifaceted artist on the museum’s Project Wall and in the Courtyard.

Also on view is a Front Room exhibition of work by the recipients of Critical Mass for the Visual Arts’ 8th Annual Creative Stimulus Awards: Ellie Balk, Addoley Dzegede, and Amy Reidel.