Visual Arts

Your Guide to March 2017's First Friday in Downtown Phoenix

Visitors hanging around with art during the Mutant Piñata Show in 2016.
Visitors hanging around with art during the Mutant Piñata Show in 2016. Lynn Trimble
One of Phoenix’s quirkiest and most beloved exhibitions returns this month.

Chartreuse gallery hosts Beatrice Moore’s annual "Mutant Piñata Show," filled with piñatas created by dozens of artists and community members. That’s just one of several fresh art shows happening during March's First Friday.

Other offerings include Irish textile art, father-son street art, and samurais. Here’s a guide to navigating the local arts scene on March 3. It’s organized by region, with a special shout-out to shows for your must-see list.

click to enlarge See work by Molly Koehn at Step Gallery. - MOLLY KOEHN
See work by Molly Koehn at Step Gallery.
Molly Koehn
Must-See Exhibitions
‘The Physical Features of Place”
When Scottsdale dotted a small parcel of land with dozens of displaced Saguaros during freeway improvements, artist Molly Koehn took notice — and photographs. Her work is all about exploring “the human compulsion to meddle with and adjust the environment." For this exhibition, Koehn blends weaving, drawing, and sculptural installation to counter common narratives about desert cities. First Friday hours at Step Gallery are 6 to 9 p.m. Find more information on the artist's website.

“Mutant Piñata Show”
Go mutant, or go home. Consider that your First Friday motto this month, as you head to Chartreuse gallery to see what, and who, is hanging around looking delightfully kooky and creative. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Get details on the exhibition's Facebook page.

Art meets walking at ASU Art Museum's Combine Studios Project Space. - ANGELA ELLSWORTH
Art meets walking at ASU Art Museum's Combine Studios Project Space.
Angela Ellsworth
“Walking and Thinking and Walking”
ASU Art Museum and the Museum of Walking present this landmark exhibition curated by Bruce Ferguson, first presented in 1996 at the Louisiana Art Museum in Denmark. Featured artists include Maria Ambramovic and Ulay. First Friday hours are 7 to 9 p.m at the ASU Art Museum's Combine Studios Project Space. Learn more on the ASU Art Museum website.

click to enlarge See "Invisible Mexico" at monOrchid gallery. - COURTESY OF HAKEEM KHAALIQ AND QUEEN MUHAMMED ALI
See "Invisible Mexico" at monOrchid gallery.
Courtesy of Hakeem Khaaliq and Queen Muhammed Ali
“Invisible Mexico”
Head to monOrchid to get a glimpse into everyday life for descendants of the African diaspora dubbed Afro-Mexicans. Hakeem Khaaliq and Queen Muhammad Ali present photographs, video, audio, and augmented reality technology reflecting their travels through Central America and the people they encountered there. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Find more information on the exhibition Facebook page.

click to enlarge Unknown, eboshi kabuto (eboshi-shaped helmet) and menpo (half mask), late Muromachi to Momoyama period, late 16th century. Iron, gold lacquer, bronze, horn, horsehair. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas. - BRAD FLOWERS
Unknown, eboshi kabuto (eboshi-shaped helmet) and menpo (half mask), late Muromachi to Momoyama period, late 16th century. Iron, gold lacquer, bronze, horn, horsehair. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.
Brad Flowers
First Friday at Phoenix Art Museum
Get free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum, where the newest exhibition features impressive samurai armor (special exhibit pricing is $5 on First Friday). Evening entertainment includes Japanese dance performance, traditional Taiko drumming, and a Shakuhachi flute performance. There’s even a special tea ceremony performance. First Friday hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Get details on the Phoenix Art Museum website.

“Thorny Blockade”
Contemporary art deals with some sticky subjects. And artist Malena Barnhart often tackles them, sometimes using sticky materials such as children’s stickers or other cultural ephemera. See her sticker collages and digital illustrations in The Gallery at Burton Barr Central Library. Live music is by Reid Riddiough and Max Beckman. First Friday hours are 6:30 to 8 p.m. Find more information on the library website.

Read on for more shows to see, organized by neighborhood.
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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