Phoenix artist Ann Morton has been making political art for more than a decade. In recent years, she’s culled from Trump’s own tweets for a series of fiber works that highlight the absurdity of both his rhetoric and his policies.
Now, she’s wondering whether changes to the United States Post Office will affect a current project called the Violet Protest, even as she worries about the broader implications of those changes for democracy and the people who rely on the national mail service.
Makers in 50 states have been using the mail to send Morton textile works they’ve created for the collaborative project, which is designed to highlight shared American values such as creativity and compassion.
Every piece was created using red and blue as a way to signify bipartisanship. Eventually, Morton will combine these small artworks to form a large-scale installation for her upcoming “A Violet Protest” exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum.
It’s one of many political exhibits opening around metro Phoenix in coming weeks and months. Some exhibits would have opened already, were it not for COVID-19. And others will take unconventional forms, including online or outdoor presentations, as public health conditions warrant.
Here’s what you need to know about eight political exhibits coming to metro Phoenix — including several with open calls for artists or community members who want to participate by making art.
'For the Animals: Tania Candiani, Part II'ASU Art Museum
Opens August 20
ASU Art Museum is presenting “For the Animals: Tania Candiani, Part II” which features land and sound art created by Tania Candiani. The installation addresses the migration of people and animals across the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on animals native to the Sonoran Desert and people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. The exhibition will be on view during museum hours.
'20,000 Leagues Under My Spleen'The Hive Art Gallery
Opens August 21
The Hive Art Gallery is presenting graphic prints and other works by Loomis Henry the Elder, an artist who “casts a satirical, sacred and seething” eye on American culture with images that put a fresh twist on poets, politicians, pop culture icons, and more. The artist is doing a virtual opening reception from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 21. The exhibit will be open during gallery hours.
'Blue: A Call to Action Exhibition'Lisa Sette Gallery
Opens September 12
Explore art historical, cultural, and political aspects of the color blue, with pieces by more than a dozen artists working with diverse materials including tamale paper, synthetic hair, detergent bottles, cicada wings, and out-of-circulation currency. Featured artists address a wide range of topics, from immigration to atomic bombs, and most artists are based in Arizona. Artists will include Chris Jagmin, Mayme Kratz, Annie Lopez, and Carrie Marill. Initially, viewing will be by appointment. Lisa Sette Gallery will schedule an in-person reception once public health conditions allow for safe gatherings.
“Teresita Fernández: Elemental”Phoenix Art Museum
Opens October 1
When Phoenix Art Museum reopens after a pandemic pause, visitors will be able to explore works by Teresita Fernández, a Miami-born artist based in Brooklyn, New York, whose work addresses myriad political themes. Fernández uses materials drawn from the earth to examine nature, history, identity, and more. The museum will reopen for members on October 1, and the general public on October 14.
'Roadside Attraction: Now It’s Political'Multiple Locations
Opens October 3
An art collective called ArtFarm PHX is working with Practical Art and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to present a group exhibition of works addressing issues related to activism and voting rights, which will be presented at a variety of outdoor locations. Artists can submit their work through an open call. Organizers expect more than 50 artists working in diverse mediums to participate. So far, participating artists include Skye Lucking, Kyllan Maney, Patricia Sannit, and Kate Timmerman, among others. The exhibition will also include an October 3 kickoff event at SMoCA, and several evening showings of film and video works.
'Politics Is Unusual: Art at the Edge of Conspiracy'Fine Art Complex 1101
Opens November 1
Fine Art Complex 1101 is presenting a group exhibition focused on the post-truth era and politics of the last four years, considering the ways that art can help to distinguish fact from fiction within the contemporary political landscape. Artists working in diverse mediums can submit work for consideration through October 1.
'Ann Morton: A Violet Protest'Phoenix Art Museum
Opens March 10, 2021
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Ann Morton invited makers of all experience levels to create 8-by-8-inch textile squares using equal parts of red and blue for her Violet Protest project designed to highlight values such as compromise, courage, and country over party and corporate influence. She’ll combine squares to create an installation that will be exhibited at Phoenix Art Museum. Makers can submit squares to Morton through November 15. (Morton will also be showing political works for a retrospective exhibition which is scheduled to open on December 18 at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.)
“Passage”Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
Opens May 14, 2021
Multimedia artist Cannupoa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian) is creating a collaborative, site-specific exhibition, which will feature an installation with over 7,000 unfired clay beads representing lives lost along the U.S.-Mexico border during the last three decades. Community members can participate by creating beads, using free kits available through Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. Completed beads must be returned to the museum by September 11.