8 Must-See Art Shows in Metro Phoenix This Spring

"Chamber Music: A Mostly Silent Installation" by Diane Gilbert (detail) is now on view at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
"Chamber Music: A Mostly Silent Installation" by Diane Gilbert (detail) is now on view at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

An artist who created a fictional queer family history. An artist best known for rendering soup cans. An artist who works with bits of screen and guitar strings. They're all part of spring exhibitions in metro Phoenix, which invite reflection on everything from the commodification of nature to the cult of celebrity. Here are eight art shows not to miss.

See also: 13 Must See Dance Performances in Metro Phoenix This Spring

"Chamber Music: A Mostly Silent Installation" Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum Now through April 26

A sophisticated yet whimsical marriage of light and line infuse the North Gallery at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, where Diane Gilbert's "Chamber Music: A Mostly Silent Installation" lures gallery goers along a curved path cradled by shapes created with conjoined guitar strings and small squares of painted screen. Ethereal sculptures hang suspended from the ceiling, casting intricate shadows on walls and floor. Several small pieces placed atop pillars near the gallery entrance demonstrate Gilbert's facility for using identical materials to create works with a far different feel. Find more information on the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum website.

One of two Postcommodity installations now on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
One of two Postcommodity installations now on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Julie Ganas

"SouthwestNET: Postcommodity" Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Now through April 26

It all seems idyllic enough as gallery goers view video projections of pastoral scenes filled with benign landscapes forming part of a 2011 work titled Promoting a More Just, Verdant and Harmonious Resolution -- which was created by the transdisciplinary American Indian arts collective Postcommodity (comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martinez, Kade L. Twist, and Nathan Young). But there's a catch. While exploring the installation, gallery goers trigger explosions of sound and vibration. Like a second Postcommodity installation at SMoCA, which is titled Pollination (2015), it's meant to question common national narratives and the commodification of nature, history, and culture. Find more information on the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art website.

Katherine Bernhardt: Katherine Bernhardt Sneakers, computers, Capri Sun , 2014 Acrylic, spray paint on canvas 96 x 120".
Katherine Bernhardt: Katherine Bernhardt Sneakers, computers, Capri Sun , 2014 Acrylic, spray paint on canvas 96 x 120".
Courtesy of the artist

"Unfixed: New Painting" ASU Art Museum Now through June 6

It's easy to ponder whether painting might become passé during the digital age, a time that affords us access to so many additional forms of visual expression and communication. Leonardo da Vinci might have loved having an iPad, but we're pretty sure he'd have continued using pencils and paintbrushes even if he'd had such modern digital tools back in the day. Still, it's a question worth exploring. This exhibition features attempts by artists Katherine Bernhardt, Hugh Scott Douglas, Jeff Elrod, Daniel Lefcourt. Eddie Peake, Avery Singer, Josh Smith, and Brad Troemel to unfix historical notions of what a painting should be. Their works, which range from abstractions inspired by street art and popular culture to computer-generated algorithms printed on canvas, blend traditional and new materials as well as processes -- fostering reflection about both the nature of painting and its relevance for contemporary culture. Find more information on the ASU Art Museum website.



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