The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of many forms of human suffering – from the dark veil of communism to the comedy of Yakov Smirnoff. Unfortunately, it also marked the end of one of the most fascinating eras of art in the 20th century: the Russian Impressionist era.This fruitful period lasted from the 1940s through the 1980s, but its impact hasn't diminished. Today, some of the era's greatest names have left the hammer and sickle in the rearview mirror and reemerged for an extended Southwest residency at Overland Gallery, 7155 East Main in Scottsdale.
Overland's new show of Russian Impressionist art, "Legacy of a Dynamic Era," runs from Tuesday, April 1, through April 10. For details call 480-947-1934.- Craig Wallach
Artist Dennis Oppenheim, born in Electric City, Washington, is world-renowned as a sculptor, inventor, performance artist and social activist. Is that it?
Nope. Oppenheim also happens to be one of the most important voices in public art today. The relevance of this arena, as witnessed in the very public selection process for rebuilding the Twin Towers, has taken a seat at the front of the class. No longer is public art solely the realm of the black turtlenecked.
Oppenheim's observations on the relationships between community, art and anthropology are not only intriguing, but timely. He gives a free lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the ASU Architecture Building, Room AED 60. Seating is limited. Call 602-262-4637 for more information.– Maidi Terry
Public Displays of Affection
Public art requires that the public participate – so lace up your shoes, slap on some sunscreen and get out of the house.
Public Art Day is your opportunity to meet the artists who created the works you see on the streets of Scottsdale, including Carolyn Braaksma (Pima Freeway), Ed Mell (Jack Knife, Marshall Way and Main Street) and Erik Gonzales (Osborn Pedestrian Bridge).
In addition, you'll get a chance to pose in front of Robert Indiana's famous red LOVEsculpture and have your Polaroid taken, write a love letter to the ball-and-chain of your choice, enclose the photo and send it on its way.
Show up and be counted, and personally thank the people whose art beautifies our concrete jungle.
Public Art Day takes place from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the Civic Center Mall. Activities are free. For more information, visit www.scottsdalepublicart.org or call 480-874-4661. – Maidi Terry