Art | St. Louis Public Radio

Art

St. Louis Public Radio arts and culture reporter Willis Ryder Arnold had not spent time in St. Louis before starting his job in August, but already the region has made an impression.

“It’s an interesting place. It’s got a lot going on, and a lot it needs to work out, I think,” Arnold told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “There’s a lot of creativity here, and a lot of creative people. People are just very connected to each other here.”

Arnold moved to St. Louis from New York.

Two looks of Raja
Provided by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

As our city rocked from the upheavals of 2014, a series of quieter changes was taking place in the St. Louis art world.

Several arts organizations debuted, others expanded and a few folded. Some relocated and others featured uncharacteristic fare to appeal to wider audiences. Here’s a look at eight of this year’s evolutions in the local arts scene.

Eugenia Alexander, left, and Edna Patterson-Petty
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting, the saying goes. And in the case of East St. Louis’ Edna Patterson-Petty and her granddaughter Eugenia Alexander, the frosting is artistically done.

Patterson-Petty is a fiber artist and art therapist. Alexander grew up enamored by her grandmother’s work, which includes an art quilt made for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

A Moment's Pleasure by Mickalene Thomas
Provided by the 1-70 Sign Show

Mickalene Thomas is an artist who examines what it means to be a black woman. So what does her work suggest when juxtaposed with an ad for a strip club? How about when it’s displayed just off West Florissant Avenue, a few miles down the road from Ferguson?

plywood art at FedExt S. Grand 11/26
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

While the protests in the South Grand Business District have not been as destructive as in Ferguson, businesses have had windows broken and plywood is the current holiday look. But much of the plywood is festive. We offer a selection:

At FedEx

At Urban

  At the Post Office

At Great Clips

  At Cafe Natasha

At Rooster

Circa 1959, Ice Hockey, 2008, 34.5x18x2 inches, oil, enamel on steel
Provided by Tim Liddy

Fontbonne professor Tim Liddy is one of 102 artists displayed in a national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark. But Liddy was never going to be an artist. Looking forward to a career on the ice, he was planning to play games, not paint them.

'I'm Pretty' art by Grace Kubilius
Provided by Reese Gallery

The work of emerging fiber artist Grace Kubilius walks the walk while talking the talk. The conversation is about women and body image.

Like many young women, and all women, really, Kubilius has struggled with questions of appearance and what it means to be a woman.

“How do you sort of resolve that with what’s expected or what you think is expected of you?” Kubilius said.

Katherine Miller and examples of the art done for CSA
Photo of Miller by Jeganaath Giri; of artwork provided by CSA

In her last year at SEMO, printmaking major Katherine Miller of St. Louis knows she needs to think about the business of art even as she plans for grad school.

The Funhouse Gallery

When Theresa Disney’s two sons came home from school, they never knew what they might find. To their artist mom, everything’s a canvas, even the furniture.

“The kids would be like, ‘Why are our couches crunchy?’’ Disney said. “And I’d answer, ‘Because I painted them.’”

Now the boys are grown. Disney’s collection of paintings and sculpture is larger, too. Much of it was forged through adversity: the end of a bad marriage, a house fire, two bouts of cancer and spinal meningitis. But this new chapter of her life is all about having fun.

Conference Draws Attention To Female Artists

Oct 31, 2014
Alice Guy-Blaché
Courtesy of Cinema St. Louis

As women strive to gain equal ground in the workplace, they’re also working to establish the same ground in the arts. The Women in the Arts Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will feature lectures, demonstrations, papers, performances and workshops from 27 speakers on Nov. 6-8.

“Everyone thinks the playing field is level,” said Barbara Harbach, a composer and director of the Women in the Arts Conference. “It’s not quite as level as you might think.”

Kehinde Wiley, detail, ‘After Titian's Penitent Mary Magdalene,’ oil wash on paper, 90 x 60 inches, Courtesy of Susan and David Sherman
Provided by Philip Slein Gallery

Black-owned galleries display African-American art all year long. Many others tend bring out such work only during February, Black History Month. But that’s changing.

Recent shows bucking the trend include an exhibit opening Friday at the Philip Slein Gallery in the Central West End. African-American-themed work from private St. Louis homes comprises “Other Ways, Other Times: Influences of African-American Tradition from St. Louis Collections.”

Dragon mural in progress in the Grove
Provided by the artist

Fifteen years ago, the area of St. Louis now known as The Grove was a place many people avoided.

“It was ‘Roll up your window and drive really fast,’” muralist Grace McCammond remembered.

The mural takes shape on the Cotton Belt building.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

An abandoned building with broken windows may seem nothing more than an ugly blemish. But to a mural artist, it’s a beautiful opportunity, a waiting canvas.

Two St. Louis muralists are nearing completion of the first phase of their project to transform the vacant Cotton Belt Freight Depot into a kind of welcome sign for commuters heading into St. Louis on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Lenard Hinds in Hands Up exhibit
Provided by Hands Up, Don't Shoot

An upcoming exhibit responding to the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer won’t be your typical art show.

The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” exhibit will open Oct. 17 and 18 in more than a dozen galleries — and one entire city.

The Ferguson Public Library and the city of Ferguson as a whole are listed among the exhibition spaces. That’s because the burned-out QuikTrip and the monuments to Michael Brown can also be seen as living works of art, according to curator Freida Wheaton.

Bruno David
Provided by Bruno David

Bruno David Gallery in Grand Center will open a second location in St. Louis' Grove area, focusing on women artists.

The new spot, called Bruno David Projects, will be located at 1245 South Vandeventer Ave. Its first exhibit, which opens Oct. 30, will feature the work of local painter Cindy Tower.

St. Louis Public Radio photos

Boise has one. So do Houston and Los Angeles, and even East St. Louis. But St. Louis is one of the few major cities that doesn’t have a poet laureate, an official poet to document its culture in verse.

 From left: Habitat For Humanity St. Louis CEO Kimberly McKinney, former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom and former Sen. Rita Days. Credit Durrie Bouscaren, St. Louis Public Radio
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

In the early 1990s, choreographer Bill T. Jones sought to illuminate the AIDS crisis using the language he knows best: dance. Now, the St. Louis-area dance community is seeking to respond with movement to issues unearthed by Michael Brown’s death.

Provided by Foundry Arts Centre

A few months ago, I pulled two large boxes from the attic at my parents’ house. Each contained a wedding dress – one mine, one my sister’s. The problem: No one marked the boxes. Which was which?

With 50-50 odds, I slit open the box in hand – Eureka! But now that I had my 33-year-old dress, what should I do with it?

De Andrea Nichols
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

When you attend an event involving De Andrea Nichols, be prepared to meet your match. Not your romantic soulmate, although that could happen. More likely, your partner in community engagement.

Nichols, 26, is a community arts organizer, designer and social worker who’s the Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Contemporary Art Museum. When she’s not working at CAM, she’s entrenched in one of the many projects of her own nonprofit, Catalysts by Design. Sometimes the twain does meet.

Work from four of the artists in the first CSA group, clockwise from left, Ray Nadine, Caroline Philippone, Matthew Paul Isaacson, Brandon Daniels
Images courtesy of CSA

An organization called Community Supported Art Saint Louis has named nine local artists to launch its new program.

The concept is as simple as a paint-by-the-numbers project: Fifty CSA “shares” are up for grabs at $300 apiece. Each share-buyer receives nine original works — one from each artist — at three “pick-up” events this September, October and November. Every artist walks away with $1,000 and wider exposure.

In August, Chesterfield Arts will stop day-to-day operations because of a shortage in funds.

The non-profit organization works to promote art education and public art in West St. Louis County.

This year the nonprofit faced declining revenue. In addition, they were forced to move. The organization was notified in the fall of 2013 that they would have to relocate by June of this year.

Chesterfield Arts Board President Mary Brown said  they were unable to find a new permanent home.

Why Are Young St. Louisans Embracing Modern Art?

Jul 18, 2014
Kodner Art Gallery

Modern art and furniture is getting its due (again) as collectors return to the styles made popular in the early 1900s through about 1970.

“Young collectors have become very eclectic,” said Stephanie Stokes, manager at the Kodner Gallery. “People appreciate vintage.”

The “Modernism: Art + Design” exhibit at Kodner Gallery in Ladue features modern paintings, drawings, sculptures and furniture. Stokes described the modern movement as artists’ reactions to a changing world.

Ralph Lowenbaum
Provided by the family

Ralph Lowenbaum didn’t get a news obituary either in the morning paper or here at St. Louis Public Radio. News editors, rightly, ask “What did he or she do?” and they’re not easily swayed by exaggerations or social or professional associations. The bar is high, and those who don’t clear it don’t make it.

By traditional measurements, reinforced by general perceptions of Mr. Lowenbaum’s 89½ years, the answer to “what did he do” would be “not much.” Turns out, that was wrong.

A recent show at the Contemporary Art Museum
Contemporary Art Museum

The Contemporary Art Museum in Grand Center has joined the ranks of St. Louis’ free cultural institutions, at least through next summer.

CAM has charged no admission fee since early May, thanks to a donation by the local Gateway Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting art and urban design. Now Gateway has increased its funding to cover the five-dollar cost through August 2015.

Provided by CAM

Felines are fickle subjects when it comes to video (and almost everything else).

The reclusive stars that rule my home scoff at commands to do something cute for the camera. Plus, their 23-hour-a-day sleep schedule leaves only a small window for any possible action shots of bathing, eating or chasing the elusive red dot. What would Frank Capra do?

Brett Williams
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio intern

What kind of music goes with a video of sitting on the toilet naked while eating peanut butter out of a jar? That question — back in the late 1990s — ultimately led St. Louis artist Brett Williams to the sound sculptures he creates today.

While at the School of The Art Institute in Chicago, Williams launched what he calls the Brett Commercials, a video series that includes “Brett Lives Alone,” featuring his bathroom snacking against a whistling-clanking soundtrack.

Louis Brodsky
Provided by the family

Louis Daniel Brodsky, a stunningly prolific writer who composed nearly 12,000 poems, including more than 350 on the Holocaust, has died.

When Mr. Brodsky decided to become serious about his poetry, he committed himself to writing a poem every day of his life.

“He worked at being a poet,” said Eugene Redmond, professor emeritus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and poet laureate of East St. Louis. “Lou went to work like a physician, like a person who worked in a coal mine, like a janitor, like a math teacher. It was amazing.”

Courtesy of Duane Reed Gallery

The very first thing that has to take place before a person can find a visually appealing show is for the artist to have the means to create.

Jessica Baran and Galen Gondolfi
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Making art transforms artists. It can also revolutionize the world around them. St.

Compton Hill Water Tower
Wikipedia

Some of the art in St. Louis is available all day every day but may not be open to explore, This Friday night, however, by the light of a full moon, you can climb the 198 steps to the top of the Compton Hill Water Tower.

This is the youngest (built in 1898) of the city’s three historic and distinctive standpipe water towers. The others are the Corinthian column (1871) at 20th Street and Grand Avenue and the Bissell Water Tower (1885) at Bissell Street and Blair Avenue.

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