Jurassic Age by Sui Jianguo, who is considered a key artist in the Chinese pop movement.
Jurassic Age by Sui Jianguo, who is considered a key artist in the Chinese pop movement.
Lynn Trimble

Four Chambers and Phoenix Art Museum Want Your Poetry, Prose

Four Chambers, a Phoenix-based literary magazine and small press, has partnered with Phoenix Art Museum to "assemble a small collection of poetry and prose responding to exhibits and collections within the Phoenix Art Museum."

There's a lot to respond to these days, with a total of seven exhibits currently on view -- exploring everything from migrant lives to images of the Buddha. Even love, death, and fashion are fair game.

See also: Four Chambers Literary Magazine is a Pleasant, Thought-Provoking Read

The "Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum" chapbook project started with an e-mail from Four Chambers founder and editor-in-chief Jake Friedman to Christian Adame, associate curator for education at the Phoenix Art Museum. When they met to discuss a possible partnership, recalls Adame, Friedman gave him the Four Chambers rundown -- including some show and tell time with previous Four Chambers publications.

Adame recognized it was a good match with the museum. "We try to work with a lot of interdisciplinary arts," explains Adame. For many years, he says, they've held annual concerts featuring works by ASU student composers. They've also hosted readings presented by the UA Poetry Center. Adame says the chapbook project is "a nice opportunity to get the literary scene into the museum." The museum, he says, has already been moving in this direction.

Individuals are invited to submit up to three works in any style, genre or form before the 11:59 p.m. MST deadline on Sunday, February 1, 2015. Select works will be featured in a chapbook being published in March of 2015, but there's a live performance component too -- taking place on Friday, March 6 as part of Art Detour. The event will mark the formal release of the publication, which Friedman expects will "likely have about 30 to 40 short pieces and run 40 to 60 pages."

Works by R. Michael Johns (foreground) and Karel Appel featured in "Vanitas" at Phoenix Art Museum.
Works by R. Michael Johns (foreground) and Karel Appel featured in "Vanitas" at Phoenix Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble

We figure there's plenty to work with given current Phoenix Art Museum exhibitions, other items on view, works dotting the sculpture garden, pieces from the museum's collection that you can explore online and news of upcoming offerings -- including an exhibition of Andy Warhol works.

If you've authored gems about Andy Warhol, or have something Warhol-related to say via poem or prose, Four Chambers notes that now would be a fab time to send it their way. It just so happens you'll find a black and white group photo that includes Warhol in the museum's current "Vanitas" exhibition.

"Andy Warhol: Portraits" opens Wednesday, March 4 at the Phoenix Art Museum and continues through Sunday, June 21. It originated in 2010 at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and includes "nearly 200 portraits, paintings and drawings produced by Warhol from the 1940s to the 1980s." So prepare for a plethora of pop art, and have your pen at the ready.

It appears the prospect of enjoying all those Warhol works is making Phoenix Art Museum folks downright giddy. First they'll celebrate Warhol during "The pARTy 2015" fundraiser on February 28. Then, says Adame, they'll be recreating Warhol's infamous "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" party for First Friday in March. "It's gonna be weird," says Adame, "and we like that." In addition to prose- and poetry-based performance presented by Four Chambers, you'll see works by CONDER/dance, Liliana Gomez, and other metro Phoenix performance artists.

Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl located in the Phoenix Art Museum sculpture garden.
Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl located in the Phoenix Art Museum sculpture garden.
Lynn Trimble

But first, of course, there's all that art-inspired writing to be done.

Maybe you'd like to riff on restaurants in museum land, inspired by the Palette restaurant, or wax poetic on ways masters like Degas or DaVinci might have used digital media. Perhaps you're struck by differing reactions to round bellies, depending on whether they belong to a Buddha sculpture or painting of a woman with child.

This is your chance to run with it, but don't forget the fine print. Poems should be no longer than 200 lines; Prose should be no longer than 3000 words. Specifics about how to format and submit your work are available on the Four Chambers website, where you'll also find "more guidelines" worthy of careful review before you get started.

The Four Chambers folks note that while they'll be pretty happy to get works inspired by particular piece of work in the museum, they'll also be pleased to get intriguing alternatives. Think works inspired by museum bathrooms or security guards, works merely set in the museum, or works about not going to the museum.

The secret lives of curators. The view of Phoenix from windows tucked away in museum nooks and crannies. The works by local students hung in the museum's education space. The gift shop filled with stylish kitchen gadgets. The ways we share photos of museum artwork via social media. The prohibition against touching works of art. We're so hopped up on ideas, we wouldn't know where to begin.

The best place to start, of course, is with an actual visit to the museum. Four Chambers suggests "wandering around the galleries," which sounds like a mighty fine way to go. Museum admission is free Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and during First Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl located in the Phoenix Art Museum sculpture garden.
Tumbling Woman by Eric Fischl located in the Phoenix Art Museum sculpture garden.
Lynn Trimble

Four Chambers folks are gathering in the lobby by the Phoenix Art Museum's admissions desk at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 7 for an informal tour. Anyone is free to join the tour, which Friedman suggests is a good opportunity to learn more about museum offerings while getting to know fellow lit lovers.

They're also gathering from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 17 at Rollover Doughnuts for a free informal writing workshop focused on sharing feedback between writers of all experience levels working on chapbook submissions.

Remember to submit your work, following Four Chambers guidelines, no later than 11:59 p.m. MST on Sunday, February 1, 2015. Submissions will be evaluated by "a board of individuals using a simple scoring method and discussing the work." Four Chambers notes that all selected work "is subject to final approval by the Phoenix Art Museum."

Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum will be the second chapbook published by Four Chambers. The first chapbook, which is titled Poems for the Future President and features works by Michael Bartelt, is available online. Their literary magazine is sold online and at MADE Art Boutique, Stinkweeds Music, and both Changing Hands Bookstore locations.

For more information, visit the Four Chambers website.

See also: "Vanitas" Exhibition Explores Love and Death at Phoenix Art Museum

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