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Art for Art's Sake

That corner of Civic Center Plaza next to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts has been under construction forever. But now, where once there stood a discount movie theater, is the Gerard L. Cafesjian Pavilion of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. It's no coincidence that opening day falls on Valentine's Day--if the inaugural festivities are any indication, there will be years of innovative fun for arts lovers.

The coolness begins with the building itself. The theater has been transformed into five large galleries alongside a unique outdoor sculpture garden that opens to the sky. Local architect Will Bruder has created a space that is itself a work of art. Like Bruder's design for Phoenix's Central Library, there is much use of existing light and shadow--designs of light and color fill the pavilion. A 25-year retrospective of the Bruder architectural studio's work is part of the opening exhibition.

Other exhibits will include Arizona's first Art-O-Mobile parade. Dozens of vehicles converted by their owners into rolling artworks will be cruising downtown Scottsdale ending up at the museum where they'll be on display throughout the day. Less mobile pieces will include works by Jim Wald, Claudia Bernardi, Luis Jimenez and prints from William Wegman.

Also featured are Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth, a.k.a. The Art Guys. Since 1983, their artwork has included sculpture, installations, video and performance. Equal parts art-world court jesters and contemporary philosophers, they have provoked irritation, aggravation, admiration and lots of appreciative laughter. Among the pieces to be seen at the Gerard Pavilion will be "The Big Sneeze" (a massive nose which sprays who knows what from its nostrils) and "Bubble Gum Chair" (anyone's guess). The Guys will no doubt be wearing their infamous "SUITS." Said garments are an ongoing project in which corporations like Absolut, Target and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, among others, purchase ad space on the gray business suits worn at all appearances by the duo. Wearable art? Con job? Brilliant statement on the commercialization of our culture? Make the call yourself next Sunday.

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