Art

The 10 Best Things We've Seen in Metro Phoenix in 2017 — So Far

Steve Yazzie's 2000 mural for the Heard Museum, which was shown during his recent exhibition there.
Steve Yazzie's 2000 mural for the Heard Museum, which was shown during his recent exhibition there. Steve Yazzie/Photo by Lynn Trimble
With half of 2017 behind us, it’s time to pause and consider some of the best things we've seen this year. Here are 10 of the best art exhibitions and works of art we've seen — so far.

Fear of a Red Planet
Heard Museum

When the Heard Museum underwent renovations, it removed a 2000 mural by Steve Yazzie from its original location in the museum. Yazzie is a Phoenix multidisciplinary artist of Najavo (Diné), Laguna Pueblo, and European descent. His mural, titled Fear of a Red Planet: Relocation and Removal, was preserved, and several panels were part of Yazzie’s “Black White Blue Yellow (BWBY)” exhibition, which ran from February 3 to March 12 and gave museum visitors a chance to see the mural up close for the first time.

click to enlarge Krista Elrick works featured in her "Retracing Audubon" exhibition at ASU's Northlight Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Krista Elrick works featured in her "Retracing Audubon" exhibition at ASU's Northlight Gallery.
Lynn Trimble
“Retracing Audubon”
Northlight Gallery

ASU alumna Krista Elrick spent a decade retracing the path of famed naturalist and artist John James Audubon, where she found landscapes scarred by commerce and other human activity. Elrick’s work was featured in the “Retracing Audubon: Contemporary Views” exhibition curated by Liz Allen for Northlight Gallery. Inside a community gallery, they showed works that Phoenix artist Averian Chee created for the Standing Rock Sioux protest of the Dakota access pipeline, and involved other artists and advocates in addressing contemporary environmental issues.

click to enlarge Part of Porté par le vent's Les Luminéoles installation for Scottsdale Public Art's Canal Convergence 2017. - PORTÉ PAR LE VENT/PHOTO BY LYNN TRIMBLE
Part of Porté par le vent's Les Luminéoles installation for Scottsdale Public Art's Canal Convergence 2017.
Porté par le vent/Photo by Lynn Trimble
Les Luminéoles
Canal Convergence

Light-infused kites resembling mysterious sea creatures filled the night sky over the Scottsdale Waterfront along the Arizona Canal as Scottsdale Public Art presented Canal Convergence from February 23 to 26. One of two installations by French artists Porté par le vent, the piece's balletic movements and primordial feel left viewers mesmerized along the Scottsdale Waterfront.


click to enlarge Works by Angela Ellsworth (left) and Claudio Dicochea exhibited at Lisa Sette Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Works by Angela Ellsworth (left) and Claudio Dicochea exhibited at Lisa Sette Gallery.
Lynn Trimble
"Tell Me Why"
Lisa Sette Gallery

As artists across the globe created work in response to the shifting political landscape in and beyond America, Lisa Sette Gallery delivered an elegant exploration of issues at the heart of contemporary rhetoric. Her “Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why, Tell Me Why (Why Can’t We Live Together?)” exhibition ran from March 4 to April 29 and featured work by 12 artists “addressing narratives of difference and resentment as well as hope and beauty.”

click to enlarge Roda-Vida performance during Spark! Festival of Creativity at Mesa Arts Center. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Roda-Vida performance during Spark! Festival of Creativity at Mesa Arts Center.
Lynn Trimble
Roda-Vida
Mesa Arts Center

The arts development group called [nueBOX], which relocated from Phoenix Center for the Arts to Mesa Arts Center in 2016, presented a collaborative performance called Roda-Vida during the center’s Spark! Festival of Creativity. It featured works by three [nueBOX] artists-in-residence, including choreographer Jenny Garcia, musician Chazmier Tyler, and visual artist Rossitza Todorova.

Read on for more of the best visual art of 2017 so far.
click to enlarge Part of the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area where the Museum of Walking held The Walk in March. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Part of the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area where the Museum of Walking held The Walk in March.
Lynn Trimble
The Walk
Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area

The Museum of Walking, founded in 2013 by Angela Ellsworth and Steve Yazzie, presented its first large-scale, contemplative walk on March 18 at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. The Walk brought people together for a three-mile journey through a former landfill that’s now home to desert plants and creatures. It also informed everyday activities such as walking and listening with new meaning.

click to enlarge Opening reception for Elliott Kayser's exhibition at Step Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Opening reception for Elliott Kayser's exhibition at Step Gallery.
Lynn Trimble
“Here Where the World Was Made”
Step Gallery
For his “Here Where the World Was Made” exhibition at Step Gallery, Elliott Kayser explored identity, vulnerability, economics, and religion through sculptural cows. Then, he took his reflections on community and agriculture a step further, inviting local farmers and small businesses to be part of the show’s opening reception, which helped viewers make the connection between his work and local community.

click to enlarge Bandanas featured at the launch for Carrie Marill's PunkWasp line at Shortcut Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Bandanas featured at the launch for Carrie Marill's PunkWasp line at Shortcut Gallery.
Lynn Trimble
PunkWasp Launch
Shortcut Gallery

Carrie Marill, a Phoenix artist represented by Lisa Sette Gallery, is best known for her fine art and murals dotting downtown. But she also curates an online idea lab called PunkWasp, which shares a name with her line of accessories that debuted on May 5 at Shortcut Gallery, an art space shared by Phoenix General and Framed Ewe. Marill started her line with bandanas and necklaces and plans to incorporate more items moving forward.

click to enlarge Gallerist Laura Dragon during the opening reception for "The Heart of the Dragon." - LYNN TRIMBLE
Gallerist Laura Dragon during the opening reception for "The Heart of the Dragon."
Lynn Trimble
“Heart of the Dragon”
{9} The Gallery

After Phoenix gallerist Laura Dragon announced her diagnosis with stage-four lung cancer earlier this year, local artists joined Dragon’s friends and family in rallying around her. One result was an art exhibition and art auction called “Heart of the Dragon" held at {9} The Gallery. It featured dozens of pieces by some of Phoenix’s most beloved artists, and brought people together at the gallery for an evening filled with community spirit.

click to enlarge Part of Patricia Sannit's solo "Rise Fall Rise" exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Part of Patricia Sannit's solo "Rise Fall Rise" exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble
Contemporary Forum 2016 Winners Exhibitions
Phoenix Art Museum

Rather than tucking works by local artists into hallways or other small spaces, Gilbert Vicario, chief curator for Phoenix Art Museum, has brought them into the museum’s main galleries. Most notable are exhibitions of works recognized in 2016 by a museum support organization called Contemporary Forum. “Rise Fall Rise” is a solo exhibition by Patricia Sannit, recipient of last year’s Scult Award. There’s also a group show with works by David Emitt Adams, Christine Cassano, Bryan David Griffith, Constance McBride, and Mary Meyer. Both continue through September 17.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble