Five Must-Attend Lectures in Phoenix This March

Better not obliterate too many brain cells while spring breaking, buddy. There are far too many lectures to take in this March. Time to trade in your beer helmet for a thinking cap, class is in session.

"Labors of Love: The Whimsy of Valley Yard Art" @ Burton Barr Central Library Art consultant and collector Gretchen Freeman will talk about the quirky intersection of outsider art and landscaping at Burton Barr Central Library at 7 p.m. March 14. She's discussed the topic with New Times before, saying "These are the kinds of things that make Phoenix unique. They're little jewels, little landmarks that add personality to the city."

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Having previously served as founding director of Phoenix Arts Commission Public Art Program, Freeman will discuss how these installations and oddities impact the city and its dwellers, and she'll provide examples of such works. The lecture is free and coincides with the exhibition "Phoenix Icons: The Art of Our Historic Landmarks," which is on view in The Gallery @ City Hall.

"Assessing the Historicity of the Trojan War: Excavations at Troy 1988-2010" @ ASU's Business Administration C Wing March is Archaeology Awareness Month here in Arizona, and you'll have the opportunity to get your Indiana Jones on when C. Brian Rose drops some knowledge about recent excavations from Troy, now known as Turkey. Dig into the free lecture in room 316 of ASU's Business Administration C Wing at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21.

James Luna @ Heard Museum Native American performance artist James Luna (Puyukitchum/Luiseño) obeys no boundaries when it comes to his installations, which often include him as a subject. Because his art is anything but stereotypical, Luna has pushed the public's perception of what native art is by grappling with his ethnic identity in his works.

Luna will give a free performative lecture, "Phantasmagoria," about his life and experiences as the spring installment of The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in Steele Auditorium at Heard Museum.

"Adventures in the Arts Market" @ Phoenix Art Museum We've been known to marathon reality shows like Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers because it's fascinating to see what people are willing to spend big money on: Hot Wheels wrapped in plastic, golf clubs, and weird old swords. It's more fascinating yet when these bidders hawkishly home in on items, dollar signs in their eyes, because they already know how much moolah that random Felix the Cat knickknack is worth.

For Antiques Roadshow art appraiser Alasdair Nichol, there's a little more nuance involved. During his free talk, "Adventures in the Arts Market," he'll impart tales from his experiences at the PBS standby and discuss his approach to appraising artwork in the current market. Pick up a few pro tips at Phoenix Art Museum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.

"Artemesia Gentileschi: Proto-Feminist?" @ Changing Hands ASU visiting Assistant Art Professor, Rachel Geschwind, will discuss the life and career of Italian Baroque painter Artemesia Gentileschi, famed for her role as one of the few major female painters of her time, her strong portrayals of women, and the fact that she pressed charges and won a case against her painting tutor, who raped her. Geschwind will address Gentileschi's role as a proto-feminist in the art world during a free talk at Changing Hands Bookstore at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski