The art world has a longtime yen for reinventing some of the more milquetoast mainstays of Americana culture into something unique, hip, and memorable. Knitting used to be the boring pastime of housewives and grandmothers until Stitch 'n' Bitch came along almost a decade ago. Ditto for crafting, gardening, or any other homespun activity.
Such is the case with Slideluck Potshow, which transforms two of more tedious events of Americana -- the potluck and slideshow -- into a masterful mashup of avant-garde art and delicious eats (read more on Chow Bella).
For instance, the Phoenix version of the long-running event, which takes place at the Icehouse on Saturday, will feature artwork and food created by more than two dozen locals.
Kristin Altman, co-organizer of the event, says the Slideluck Potshow is a community-focused celebration marrying good food with great art.
"It's focused neither on art nor food exclusively, but rather a cool combination of the two," she says. "The intent is to bring together the community and provide exposure to both unknown and establish artists while sharing some really good food."
New York-based artist Casey Kelbaugh had a similar goal in mind when he created the SLPS while living in the Pacific Northwest in 2000. He held the event in his backyard and brought together painters, photographers, and other creative types to break bread in his backyard while projecting their work onto the silver screen. The SLPS has since spread to cities around the world - from Milan to Minneapolis - over the last 11 years, and is finally coming to the Valley, thanks to Altman and co-organizer Richard Ross.
Instead of holding it in a backyard like Kelbaugh, the pair instead chose to stage the event at the Icehouse, specifically in the venue's outdoor courtyard. The works of 29 different artists, most of them local, will be featured in the slideshow portion of the event, which runs over an hour and is set to music. Each artist gets around three minutes to show off work from a particular series.
The slideshow was curated by Davin Lavikka, owner of Scottsdale's Method Art gallery, and Wayne Rainey, who runs monOrchid. Lavikka, who contributed photos from his Great Yoga Project series, says that he and Rainey chose artist's who's works that "conveyed strong messages."
"This is a gathering where the work will speaks for itself," Lavikka says. "We specifically chose art that communicated a great deal of strength and focus."
That includes the works of Jessie Herndon (pictured), whose photograph-based pieces deals with issues related to family and depicts handwriting and text projected on her body, and local shutterbug Ramy Sidarous, who created vibrant and stunning collages of landscape photography. The Phoenix edition of the SLPS will also include works from Lisa Takata, Nina Mouritzen, Francois Robert, Christina Clusiau, Kathleen Hawkes, and Matthew Gordon Yates.
"You'll also see stuff from professional photographers like Davin and works by artists who aren't as established, but we loved what they've done," Altman says. "So it's a mix of strong submissions from artists of different styles."
In addition to contributing their works to the slideshow, many of the artists involved will also be bringing food to the event, which will also include dishes contributed by local chefs and locally-owned eateries. When asked what he's going to whip up in the kitchen for the potluck, Lavikka says he's still working on his recipe.
"I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to be bringing," Lavikka says, laughing. "It will probably be some wings or something."
The Slideluck Potshow takes place on Saturday at the Icehouse, 429 West Jackson Street. The potluck begins at 7 p.m. and the slideshow follows at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.