Arty Girl: "Love Bites" at MOCA in Tucson

By Lilia Menconi

A sample of poetry from Gregory Sale's ongoing Love Buttons project.

All right, chickens, I'm giving you five days notice for this one because it requires a little planning and a trip out of town. But it's worth it, I promise.

Gregory Sale, one of our most influential local artists, is continuing his Love Buttons project series with Love Bites. If you didn't catch this event/show/performance at either Scottsdale Center for the Arts this past April or at Lisa Sette Gallery in July, gas up your tank and check the air in your tires -- it's time to take a little road trip.

Sale uses snippets of poetry about love and posts the text on buttons and larger-scale drawings. Participants are welcome to interpret the poetic words among one another and wear whichever button(s) speak to them personally. It's interactive and it asks viewers to take a big personal risk. Displaying a button with words like "imagine your scent" can be exposing, if not racy.

Images of Love Buttons at Scottsdale Center for the Arts in April.

I know, I know...it sounds terrifying, uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing. But if you have your doubts about the success of Sale's concept, read this review. I was certainly skeptical at first, but Sale won me over with his expert execution.

The show in Tucson opened October 4 with an interactive event in which buttons were dispersed and large-scale drawings were presented. The works have remained at both the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

This Saturday, at 4 p.m., Sale is giving an Artist Talk about his project. Always clever and engaging, Sale will surely offer an entertaining and enlightening discussion about this continuing art piece.

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Gregory Sale's Artist Talk about "Love Buttons" takes place Saturday, December 6, at 4 p.m., at MOCA, 149 North Stone Avenue in Tucson, 520-624-5019, www.moca-tucson.org.

The most recent installment of the project series, "Love Bites", can be seen both at MOCA and The University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 East Helen Street in Tucson, 520-626-3765, www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu.

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