Visual Arts

11 Must-See Art Exhibitions in Metro Phoenix This Fall

Shout-out everyone who braved the higher temps of the past months to continue supporting the local art scene. We salute you.

As the temperatures drop, we know y'all are getting excited to wander around First Friday with your scarves and pumpkin spice lattes. But the temperature isn't the only thing you should be amped about. Get out your calendars, because we've compiled a list of exhibitions around the Valley that you will not want to miss this fall.

See Also: 9 Must-See Dance Events During the Valley's 2013-14 Season

"Narrow Road to the Interior" Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art September 21 through January 12, 2014

This exhibition of contemporary Japanese artists will be the perfect de-stressor as the holiday season approaches. The show takes cues from its namesake, a Buddhist text of linked verse. According the the exhibition's website, "The subtlety and frankness of the art epitomize the precision and rhythm of haiku while the exhibition's meditative nature reflects the ritual and ceremony that has persisted over centuries at the heart of Japanese culture." There are more than 100 pieces in the show, including photographs, sculptures, paintings, and installations. The seven participating artists are Noriko Ambe, Hiroshi Senju, Yoshiko Shimano, Shinji Turner-Yamamoto, Masao Yamamoto, Motoi Yamamoto, and Asami Yoshiga.

"Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft" ASU Art Museum Now through December 7

This show has been a long time coming. A little over a year ago, ASU Art Museum was awarded a grant to help further a more in-depth examination of contemporary craft. The resulting exhibition is definitely worth a look, but we're even more excited about some of the accompanying events. On Saturday, September 28, the museum will host "FlashBackForward" a symposium on the state of contemporary craft. Also be sure to keep an eye on Combine Studios during the month of November for related programming.

"From Lemons to Lingerie: The Still-Life Redefined" Mesa Contemporary Arts September 13 through January 5, 2014

If you're a fan of Surrealism, you'll want to check out this exhibition of work by Linda Ingraham and Tom Eckert. The show focuses on how these two local artists interpret (and re-interpret) the still life. It's an interesting pairing: Ingraham works with mixed media and Eckert creates wooden sculptures. Eckert writes, "Since childhood, I have been curious about and amused by mistaken impressions of reality presented as part of my visual experiences." This visual trickery carries over to his work, and this particular selection of Ingraham's work as well. It should be a mind-bending experience.

"Ground Cover" Eye Lounge October 18 through November 17

Ground Cover is the brainchild of local artist Ann Morton, who is all about using art as a means of social intervention. The long-term goal of the project is to cover a vacant lot in downtown Phoenix with a giant blanket, which subsequently will be divvied up to provide cover to homeless individuals in the area. Morton's show at Eye Lounge is a precursor to this installation, but it should reveal a bit of the process behind the larger undertaking. Small sections of the eventual blanket have been constructed by volunteers across the United States. In this way, the object's creation is a sort of social project in its own right.

Art Intersection's Third Annual Silent Auction Art Intersection Preview on November 2; auction on December 7

This annual auction is a great way to become familiar with some of the most skilled photographers working in the Valley (and pick up some of their artwork on the cheap, if you're lucky). Pieces are donated by artists who want to make sure Art Intersection can keep doing it's thing; in addition to functioning as a gallery, the organization offers tons photography-related workshops each month. It can be hard to justify the trip out to Gilbert, we know. But this art will rock, and you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside from supporting a great cause.

"Chaos Theory 14" Legend City Studios 6 p.m. to midnight October 4

Last year, we were generally pretty impressed with Randy Slack's annual exhibition, Chaos Theory, and we sort of expect this show to only get better with age. Well, here's hoping. This year's exhibition will feature the artwork of more than 60 artists, including James Angel, David Dauncey, Carrie Marill, Pete Deise, Colin Chillag, Kristin Bauer, and Steven Yazzie (to name a few). You can expect a wide range of media and styles along with a live musical performance by Cherie Cherie.

"Celebration of the Living (who reflect upon the dead)" Combine Studios September 24 through November 9

As part of ASU Art Museum's International Artist Residency Program, the Italian artist collective Lu Cafausu is devising a project involving the local arts community in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios. According to Greg Esser, who has been coordinating with the artists, "The public is invited to learn about the project and to help shape the route and content for a pilgrimage in downtown Phoenix led by Bad Cactus Brass Band on November 2." Lu Cafausu presented a similar project at dOCUMENTA, a highly respected contemporary art festival that takes place each year in Germany. If you're looking to expand your idea of art, this is the event for you.

Takashi Murakami Phoenix Art Museum Now through December 2013

Takashi Murakami has been called "the Japanese Andy Warhol" on more than one occasion, but the internationally renowned artist transcends that moniker. In mid-August, the Phoenix Art Museum installed 10 of Murakami's pieces in the Lower Katz Gallery, with little to no public acknowledgement of the show. (The exhibition is nowhere to be found on the museum's website). We suspect Murakami's temperament may have something to do with this non-exhibition exhibition, as the artist is known for being hard to work with. But the collection of his works is, without a doubt, the best thing you can see at PAM this season.

"Chihuly in the Garden" Desert Botanical Garden November 10 through May 18 2014

If you missed the last collaboration between Dale Chihuly and the Desert Botanical Garden, fear not. The show that won a Best of Phoenix award in 2009 and is back for a rebirth this year. We're pretty big fans of the DBG's support of the arts (there have been ballets, visiting artists, chef conferences, you name it). And Chihuly's glass sculptures are truly mind-boggling.

Jonathan Howard Modified Arts October 18 through November 17

Jonathan Howard's paintings leave us with a strong sense of melancholy and abandonment, but sometimes that's just exactly what you want an artwork to do to you. His works have a strong bent toward realism, but there's something else going on just out of reach. If you don't believe us, see for yourself. We're getting the vibe that this show might just be the dark horse of this art season (and not just because these paintings make liberal use of grayscale).

"Hot Plate!" R. Pela Contemporary Art October 4 through October 31

Don't mind us while we toot our own horn just a little bit. The series of commemorative plates that make up this exhibition were designed by local artist as homage to this year's Best of Phoenix theme: Vintage Phoenix. The contributing creatives come from a wide array of backgrounds, and we're pretty sure a large portion of them have never worked under these exact parameters. You probably wouldn't have pegged souvenir dishes as a great medium for high art before. This show may force you to re-think that.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katrina Montgomery