Best Stop on Art Detour - 2008
Art Detour celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, so it's only fitting that the coolest part of the annual weekend-long tour of downtown Phoenix studios and galleries was at the old-school art venue known as the Icehouse. There was plenty to see and do at the beyond-spacious former warehouse, which was opened in the early '90s by art maven Helen Hestenes and which was dominated by the edgy and abstract "Post-West" showcase of more than 20 sculptures, installations, and video art pieces, created primarily by ASU students and faculty members.
Our favorite works from the exhibition, which re-interpreted the realities and myths of life in the desert Southwest, had to be Nan Vaughn's water gauge made from The Icehouse's old steel crossbeams and melting ice blocks and Melissa Lewis' imaginative works involving concrete. During the weekend, the Icehouse complex also hosted avant-garde performance artists and dancers, as well as the talented musicians of the Downtown Chamber Series (who busted out with symphonic selections of Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, and other composers). Outside the venue, artist Ariel Bittner and friends constructed a clunky hut (dubbed the "temple of light") from a colorful collection of hundreds of old glass bottles, encouraging visitors to hang out and relax inside the structure. Don't we feel foolish for throwing away all our empties over the years.