From Surveillance to Psychotropics: 10 Best Art Exhibits in Metro Phoenix in May

See Brian James Culbertson's Hallucinations (detail shown here) at Lisa Sette Gallery.
See Brian James Culbertson's Hallucinations (detail shown here) at Lisa Sette Gallery. Lisa Sette Gallery
The art landscape is looking particularly intriguing in and around Phoenix this month as artists explore topics ranging from psychotropics to drone strikes.

Here's a look at where to find the most interesting exhibits in May, from museums to nontraditional venues — including jewelry store, resort, and medical school art spaces.

Best of all, several include works by Arizona artists. And, of course, there's even a bit of Trump art in the mix.

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Checking out Steve Hampton's The Bather 2 at Fine Art Complex 1101.
Steve Hampton/Photo by Lynn Trimble

'A Matter of Public Record'

Fine Art Complex 1101
1101 West University Drive, Tempe
Through May 25

For “A Matter of Public Record: Art in the Age of Mass Surveillance,” curator Grant Vetter is showing works in various media that address contemporary issues from drone warfare to airport security. Featured artists for the Fine Art Complex 1101 exhibit include Christine Cassano, Adriene Jenik, Nathaniel Lewis, Rembrandt Quiballo, and many more.

'Josef Albers in Mexico'

Heard Museum
2301 North Central Avenue
Through May 27

The Heard Museum is showing an exhibition that originated at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which explores the influence of pre-Columbian art and architecture on Bauhaus artist Josef Albers, whose work is infused with geometrics.

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The "Rising in Phoenix" exhibit includes works by Elizabeth Odiorne.
Shemer Art Center

'Rising in Phoenix'

Shemer Art Center
5005 East Camelback Road
Through May 29

This exhibit at Shemer Art Center highlighting emerging artists under the age of 40 includes works selected by artists and jurors Clare Verstegen and Susan Beiner. Featured artists include Dan Aponte, Ryan Eckert, Nora McGinnis, Elizabeth Odiorne, and others.


The Balcony at London Gold
10441 North Scottsdale Road
Through June 28

Phoenix-based artist Laura Spalding Best is showing oil paintings created on vintage silver trays and other found objects. The exhibition at The Balcony at London Gold continues the artist’s exploration of environmental issues in desert urban settings.

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An up-close look at Turner G. Davis' The Bride at Mountain Shadows.
Reyes Contemporary

'Under Construction'

The Gallery at Mountain Shadows
5445 East Lincoln Drive
Through June 30

Four artists are featured in this exhibition curated by John Reyes of Reyes Contemporary Art, which includes sculpture, video, paintings, and drawings. Participating artists for the Mountain Shadows exhibit are Turner G. Davis, Casey Farina, Elysia Holland Michaelsen, and Patricia Sannit.


Art Intersection
207 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
May 8 to June 1

Phoenix-based photographer Buzzy Sullivan curated this exhibition at Art Intersection, which features works by students created using diverse photography techniques. Themes the students explored range from personal identity to sense of place.

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Look for a new site-specific work by Crystal Wagner at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum


Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
1 East Main Street, Mesa
May 10 to August 4

Multidisciplinary artist Crystal Wagner is showing a site-specific installation created for the Project Room at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. The artist is best-known for large-scale works created using chicken wire and torn plastic table cloths, which present fantastical takes on the natural world.

'At the Doors of Perception'

Lisa Sette Gallery
210 East Catalina Drive
May 11 to August 31

Lisa Sette Gallery
is exhibiting works by multiple artists who use various media to explore the intersection of the human psyche and technology-saturated culture, addressing topics ranging from psychotropics to possible alternative worlds. Featured artists include Binh Danh, Carrie Marill, Julianne Swartz, James Turrell, and many more.

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Look for Diane Silver's midnight in buenos aires at U of A College of Medicine.
Diane Silver

'The Language of Memory'

U of A College of Medicine
435 North Fifth Street
May 17 to June 28

Artist Diane Silver is showing mixed media works exploring memory and related topics, including time and identity, inside the Health Education Building at the U of A College of Medicine in Roosevelt Row.

'SouthwestNET: Shizu Saldamando'

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street
May 18 to October 13

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art continues its series highlighting mid-career artists working in the Southwest region of the U.S. and Mexico, with this presentation of new works by Shizu Saldamando, an artist who explores the issue of identity within under-represented communities.
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See Shizu Saldamando's Grace and Ira, Golden Hour At and Despite Steele Indian School Park at SMoCA.
Shizu Saldamando
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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