Reviews of current exhibits, shows and installations

"4th Annual Mail Art Show" at The Trunk Space: These days, receiving anything worthwhile through snail mail is a novelty. But there’s a little art fad going on that is bringing mail back, baby, and Trunk Space has tapped into it. This show invited artists from all over the globe via the Internet to submit art pieces. Here, works from various cities in the U.S. as well as a couple from as far away as Japan and France, are displayed. The pieces range from simple postcards (one with text that says, “Your father is coming to see us! Aww . . . shit.”) to more unexpected works, including a plastic envelope filled with sliced carrots, steamy and rotting. The anonymous works are on sale for around five bucks a pop and proceeds will be handed over to charity. Admission is free. Through August 8. 1506 N.W. Grand Ave. 602-256-6006, www.thetrunkspace.com.

"Automotivated" at the Phoenix Art Museum, Fashion Design Gallery: If the cars in PAM’s “Curves of Steel” show were enough to get you revved up, check out the fashion gallery for more aerodynamic designs. The dresses on display are sleek, shimmering silks and satins from the 1930s — fabrics that cling to a smooth, streamlined shape. The automotive influence is most obvious in Jeanne Lanvin’s 1931 Wedding Dress,which is constructed with visible geometric panels of fabric, much like the welded plates of a car’s body. Whoever wore this dress down the aisle was cutting carbs and hitting the gym (or its 1931 equivalent) because she had to be svelte to pull this one off. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $4 for children, free to all on Tuesday evenings. Through September 2. 1625 N. Central Ave, Phoenix. (602) 257-1222, www.phxart.org.

"Life in a Cold Place: Arctic Art from the Albrecht Collection" at the Heard Museum:The humble aesthetic of Grandma Moses — the self-taught early-20th-century folk artist — is beloved because it serves as a simple reminder of quaint, rural life in America, rich with homey traditions and collective practices of survival. This show offers a similar glimpse into the lives of the Inuit people in the Arctic regions of Siberia, coastal Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Kayaker’s Reflection by Kananginak Pootoogook is a beautiful stone-cut print — a straightforward design with stunning use of bold colors. The two-dimensional masses of printed ink tell a quick visual story of everyday life among the Inuit. A man paddling his kayak notes the practices of transportation along Arctic coastlines and waterways. Like a psychological inkblot test, the form offers several interpretations. If viewed vertically, the shapes reveal the silhouette of an Arctic hunter, exposing a force of duality within the image. Admission is $10; seniors $9; $5 for students with valid ID; children 6 to 12, $3; under 5 free. Through July 31. 2301 N. Central Ave. Call 602-252-8848 or visit www.heard.org.

"Connecting Cultures: Art from the Hispanic Research Center collection, Arizona State University" at Phoenix Airport Museum: The title of this show is a turnoff. True, some of it is disappointing. But the sum is not a complete waste. Take Marion C. Martinez’s Madre Querida (Beloved Mother), a piece that juxtaposes the Catholic affection toward symbols of religious maternity with the worship and reliance practiced with modern-day electronics. Martinez uses circuit boards, computer discs and cable wire to create the familiar image of the Virgen de Guadalupe. The maternal icon historically has provided a source of wisdom, purity and safety. Using electronic bits to render the Mexican Catholic mother figure exposes a contemporary quandary: Modern humans depend on computers and other electronic gadgets for guidance as much as society once relied on religion. The other works on display were created by different Hispanic artists, each commenting on their cultural background through painting, sculpture and graphic prints. Works are in four cases at Terminal 4, level 3 west, at 3400 E. Sky Harbor Blvd., through July 8. Call 602-273-2105 or visit http://phoenix.gov/skyharborairport.

"Draw Me a Picture" at the Heard Museum: Steven Yazzie — the It Boy of the local art scene — has a show at a major museum. Too bad it’s not a show of the work we’ve grown accustomed to from him, amazing paintings that showcase his true talent. Admission is $10; seniors $9; $5 for students with valid ID; children 6 to 12, $3; under 5 free. Through September 2. 2301 N. Central Ave. Call 602-252-8848 or visit www.heard.org.

 
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