This spring’s exhibition lineup in metro Phoenix looks strong.
You’ve got plenty of great options, exploring topics from white supremacy to UFO abduction. One artist tackles life along the U.S.-Mexico border. Another plays with language from some of Donald Trump's most iconic quotes.
They're happening in spaces ranging from college art gallery to contemporary art museum, and many have free admission. Odds are, you've never explored most of these art spaces. But they're worth a visit.
Wonderspaces will open its first permanent space this spring, inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. And several staples of the Phoenix art scene are presenting works that foster important conversations about contemporary cultural, social, and political issues.
Here’s a look at 10 must-see exhibits, to help you get started as you explore the local arts landscape. We’ve also added a one-night-only art show, which features several pairings of established and emerging Arizona-based artists.
605 East Grant Street
Through March 16
See the latest iteration of Tomiko Jones’ multimedia exhibition “Hatsubon” at ASU Northlight Gallery, where the artist explores the ethereal space between dualities such as life and death using ceramics, photographs, wood, video, and other media. The exhibition is rooted in Jones’ own father’s death, and the family and cultural rituals that surrounded it.
“The Body Politic”
Mesa Community College Art Gallery
1833 West Southern Avenue
Through March 28
The Art Gallery at Mesa Community College is showing works by contemporary figurative painters who address the present age of political unrest with vastly different styles and inspirations. Featured artists include Caroline Estelle, Rigo Flores, Tyler Griese, Lisa Von Hoffner, Larry Madrigal, Forrest Solis, Papay Solomon, and Chris Vena.
“Angels and Carnivorous Flowers”
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
One East Main Street
Through April 14
“Angels and Carnivorous Flowers” features works by Carrie Ann Baade, who creates surrealist narrative paintings that blend art historical references and autobiography elements. Baade’s work prompts reflection on the ways histories are created, shared, and deconstructed – plus the nature of contemporary social, cultural, and political narratives.
Lisa Sette Gallery
210 East Catalina Drive
Through April 27
This exhibition is a response to white nationalism, its impact on American culture, and its place in contemporary political discourse. More than a dozen artists working in diverse media confront white supremacy and the systems that support it. Featured artists include Enrique Chagoya, Claudio Dicochea, Angela Ellsworth, Carrie Marill, Trina McKillen, and Ann Morton (whose works in this show are based on Donald Trump quotes).
“Now Playing: Video 1999-2019”
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale
Through May 12
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is showing diverse video works, including Candice Breitz’s Love Story, shown at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Here, celebrities Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore become conduits for stories shared by refugees fleeing danger. Ten additional artists include Mark Bradford, Petra Cortright, Song Dong, Shirin Nashat, and Diana Thater.
“Talking to Action”
Arizona State University Art Museum
51 East 10th Street, Tempe
Through July 6
“Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas” includes works in diverse media by more than 20 artists who couple activism and community organizing with object-making as a means of exploring social-political issues at the heart of contemporary society. Featured works include archival documents, drawings, sculptures, videos, and more.
Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue
Through July 7
This mid-career survey for Phoenix artist Julio César Morales includes drawings, paintings, neon installations, and video works meant to reveal the realities of life along the U.S.-Mexico border. Rather than adopting a moral position for this exhibition, the artist focuses on illuminating the tactics used by people to survive in this liminal space.
207 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
March 9 to April 21
“Light Sensitive” includes dozens of artworks created with traditional darkroom techniques and alternative photographic processes, giving viewers a window into the world of fine art photography beyond the cultural saturation of digital amateur photography. Featured works include Annie Lopez’s cyanotype photograph paying homage to Steve Gompf, a Mesa-based artist who died in early 2018.
“Ain’t Nobody Prayin’ for Me”
214 East Roosevelt Street
March 15 to June 1
Antoinette Cauley’s exhibition reflects her passion for rap music and keen interest in contemporary conversations about social issues related to race and gender. MonOrchid is showing about 20 of her paintings addressing childhood trauma and the experience of growing up too fast, which imbue the images of young girls with elements of renowned rap personae.
“Point of View”
Wonderspaces at Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
April 5 to Mid-July
For its first Arizona exhibition, Wonderspaces will present immersive, interactive works by 13 artists working in diverse media. “Point of View” includes Michael Murphy’s Come Together, created using the image of a woman’s fist from the 2018 Women’s March, and a virtual reality experience called Dinner Party, created by Angel Soto, Laura Wexler, and Charlotte Stoudt.
Artlink Artist Council Exhibit
Warehouse 215 at Bentley Projects
215 East Grant Street
Artlink has paired more than a dozen established artists with emerging artists for this exhibition on view during the Art D’Core Gala that opens Art Detour 31. Artist pairings include Bill Dambrova with Lisa Von Hoffner, Patricia Sannit with Laura Korch, and Randy Slack with Brianna Voron. Featured artworks will include ceramics, painting, photography, sculpture, and more.