In February, we skipped our usual stop into Willo North Gallery on Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road to see the latest work curated by Robrt Pela (who, full disclosure, is also a contributor to Phoenix New Times).
The exhibition titled "The Joe and Jan Show" is an homage to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Governor Jan Brewer and was slated to open during the First Friday of February at Willo North. But three days before the opening, the show was canceled last minute by the gallery owner, Kristin Shears. Shears declined to comment and Pela noted that while he didn't think the cancellation was due to the show's political theme, he would find it another venue for March's First Friday and Art Detour.
And that's where Ashley Harder came in.
"I'm super excited to be working with Robrt to get the Joe and Jan show seen during Art Detour weekend and the month of March," says Harder, who owns and operates 335 Commons, a gallery/retail space at 335 W. McDowell. "I found out about the show needing a home like everyone else did, when I was alerted that it had been canceled on the Facebook invite. I immediately contacted Robrt to see what his plans to moving the show were."
Harder wasn't alone. Dozens of gallery owners shot Pela a note to see where the show would end up. Pela announced this morning that The Joe and Jan Show would be showing at 335 Commons on March's First Friday and Art Detour, which is slated for March 2 and 3.
The show was inspired by a portrait of Sheriff Joe Arpaio painted by Eric Cox (which you might have spotted at this year's Chaos Theory at Legend City Studios). Pela says he began to notice artwork created by local artists in a variety of media that reflected the two infamous characters and their antics.
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Pela commissioned pieces by 11 artists including Jeff Falk, Chris Swanberg, Annie Lopez, Irma Sanchez, Kristin Bauer, Peter Bugg, Paul Wilson, Eric Cox, Melissa McGurgan, and Cuban painter Chary Castro. Pela writes that French comic artist Vincent LaRue created six color-drenched drawings, inspired by American rock concert posters of the 1960s, depicting Arpaio and Brewer in various sexual positions and Phoenix artist Todd Daniel Grossman knitted a flattering textile portrait of Brewer.
"Participating in the show just reflects my sincere desire to support and promote downtown's arts community," says Harder. "As for the political nature of the show I'll be anxious to see if Sheriff Arpaio or Governor Brewer visit the exhibit themselves."
The Joe and Jan Show opens on March 1 at 6 p.m. and will be on view through March 31. Art Detour hours are March 2 and 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition will also be open by appointment: (602) 320-8445.