Art Scene

Dale Chihuly: Before Dale Chihuly became the godfather of art glass, he worked as a commercial fisherman to earn money for grad school. He brings this memory of the world beneath the waves to the glass works on exhibit at Phoenix's premier contemporary art gallery. Eight undulating pieces that look like they were plucked from a brilliantly colored coral reef seem to be lit from within; the Confetti Seaform Set, a shell-shaped vessel full of biomorphic red, green and blue glass pieces, creates a gorgeous undersea world on a tabletop. On display indefinitely. Bentley Projects, 215 E. Grant St., Phoenix, 602-340-9200. -- L.P.

"Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life": Designers get stereotyped as unexciting pragmatists, but this exhibition of fashion, architecture and product design from around the world shows that sly social commentary can be slipped into ordinary objects. Works in the 45-piece show range from Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym's Buildings of Disaster, metal miniatures of pop tragedy sites that separate the sentimentality from collectibles, to Marijn van der Poll's do hit, a steel cube raging DIYers can beat into a chair with an accompanying sledgehammer. (Reviewed March 3.) Through April 24. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7380 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale. 480-994-ARTS (2787). -- L.P.

"Will Wilson: Auto Immune Response" at the Heard Museum: How do you survive in a postapocalyptic world? According to Will Wilson, the key to survival lies in an understanding of the past. The Navajo photographer explores this, as well as the concepts of Native American identity and connection to the land, through a series of powerful, in-your-face, mixed-media and photo-based installations. Wilson draws from his own past (the alienation felt as a child in exile at Phoenix Indian School) and that of his people to produce moving images that challenge established stereotypes of Native American art and the people who create it. Most poignant is a life-size steel hogan -- a refashioning of the traditional dwelling and its contents as a result of exposure to Anglo society and technology. "Auto Immune Response" is part of the museum's series "Artspeak: New Voices in Contemporary Art." Through September. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. -- C.C.

Sculpture in the Streets: The streets of downtown Mesa are filled with teens playing soccer, dogs playing Frisbee, prancing horses, children gardening and chickens perched on pigs. It sounds very Main Street, Disneyland -- but instead it's Mesa's Main Street, between Country Club Drive and Mesa Drive, that will be inundated with a display of more than 70 sculptures 'til the snowbirds fly away. The sculpture project features work from artists across the country and also includes two privately owned pieces, as well as 22 pieces from the city's permanent collection. A number of sculptures are also located inside 12 West Gallery, 12 W. Main St.; Mesa Art 'N Framing Gallery, 48 W. Main St.; and the Imbeau Gallery, 119 W. Main St. Through April 15. -- A.Y.

"Arab Americans in Arizona" at Mesa Southwest Museum: This exhibition explores the migration of Arabic-speaking people to Arizona since the latter part of the 19th century, with a focus on examining the reasons that different nationalities from the Middle East chose to come to Arizona. Some were seeking opportunity and some were escaping asperity in their native lands; this is reflected in the diversity of the various Arab-American communities in central Arizona. The exhibition details the differences in each community, including religious beliefs, social customs, dress, family structure and language, and how those traditions have been assimilated into American culture. In addition to costumes, musical instruments, jewelry, calligraphy and historical items, the exhibition also shows the economic and cultural contributions the groups have made here. Through April. Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa, 480-644-2230. -- A.Y.


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