It's easy to feel sluggish during the Phoenix summers, but that's no excuse for becoming a total shut-in. You know what museums and galleries have (in addition to really great art)? Air conditioning. And if that's not enough to get you excited, the artwork will be.
To help you out, we've compiled a list of our top six must-see exhibitions taking place across the Valley over the next few months. So get out there and see some art.
The multi-media Argentinian artist Antonio Berni might be relatively unknown here in the States, but in Latin America he is thought to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century. This incredible exhibition shows us why. The depth and breadth of the artwork in this show is incredible; it's the first retrospective of the artist's work since the 1960s. Most of the art in this show pulls from a series Berni began in the late '50s that told the story of Argentinian life through the narrative of two fictional characters: Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel. The exhibition as a whole is beautiful, but we were particularly taken with the larger sculptural work and the printing plates in the back half of the gallery.
We've said it before, and we will say it again: The new Lisa Sette Gallery is better than we could have imagined, and the inaugural show "Hello Midtown" is real knock-out. Go alone on a weekday and spend some time in the central room with Kim Cridler's Bottle with Blue Birds (2014) -- you won't regret it. The exhibition features Damion Berger, Rachel Bess, Huang Binyan, Enrique Chagoya, Kim Cridler, Binh Danh, Claudio Dicochea, Angela Ellsworth, Alan Bur Johnson, Jessica Joslin, Siri Devi Khandavilli, Mark Klett, Mayme Kratz, Carrie Marill, Matthew Moore, Marie Navarre, Doug and Mike Starn, Anthony Velasquez, and Masao Yamamoto.
We love a good group show, and this line-up of artists is sure to be a treat. In an attempt to bring some cooler thoughts to the summer months, the 16 artists exhibiting work in "H2O" will consider (you guessed it) water. Featured artists, most of whom are veterans of the Phoenix art scene, are Holly Anderson, Leslie Barton, Tato Caraveo, Yai Cecream, Colin Chillag, Sean Deckert, Bill Dambrova, Mikey Jackson, Ashley Macias, Abbey Messmer, Chris Miller, Rafael Navarro, Katharine Leigh Simpson, Marilyn Szabo, Artist Vladeo, and Steve Weiss.
We were pretty bummed to hear that ASU Curator of Ceramics Peter Held would retire from his position at the end of June. But he's still got one last hurrah before he moves on for good. "These Are Some of My Favorite Things" examines the impulse to collect. The show features the collections of seven local creatives: Cyndi Coon (small white objects); Gretchen Freeman (folk and naïve art); Mark Klett (sunrise sticks); Randy and Katie Schmidt (military trench art); Joe Willie Smith (African folk and naïve art); New Times' Kathleen Vanesian (Mexican folk art), and Kurt Weiser (childhood and travel memorabilia). There will also be a selection of art from the ceramic Funk movement chosen by Held himself from the museum's permanent collection.
Be still our beating hearts. Any time a gallery or museum finds a way to bring two different art forms together, we're enthused. "Dry" is one part art exhibition and one part spoken word series; both visual and performing artists will explore what is means to live in our dry desert home. The exhibition includes artwork from Fernando Pinal, Cindy Schnackel, Diane Sanborn, Catherine Slye, Brenda Edwards, Cory Slawson, Edward Kennefick, Lisa Albinger, Ben Peck, and Hector Raul Primero at R. Pela Contemporary Art (which is owned by longtime New Times contributor Robrt Pela). The storytelling component of the exhibition will take place on Third Friday, July 18, so visit then to get the full experience.
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"In/Visible" is an installation piece by Colorado-based fiber artist Sara Rockinger. The work consists of several life-size, translucent figures made of silk and cotton. The figures are layered with embroidery, silk screen, and video projection, an effect that is really best understood in person. As the Mesa Contemporary Art website describes it, her work creates "a haunting experience that explores overlapping issues like race, immigration, U.S. history, personal history and invisibility." Unlike other exhibitions on this list, "In/Visible" is really only a single piece, but it's definitely worth seeing.
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.