EAC/Portfolio’s “Ebony Creations”

St. Louis-area art openings this Friday explore the beauty of nature, teapots and African-American works. “Ebony Creations” is a joint project of Portfolio Gallery and the Edwardsville Arts Center.

detail of advertising found behind old mirror
Mike Pagano

The Revisionist Inn has hosted many events you have probably missed. The current offering – an art exhibit titled Still Moving opened Jan. 3 with the type of fanfare that is typical of a Revisionist Inn event. There was live music, lots of it. The gallery owner/director, Paul Fernandes’ daughter Bernadette cooked up a feast of vegetarian curry and miscellaneous deliciousness.

Regional Arts Commission

Whether they were on stage, leaning into the kiln or creatively advocating for justice, it was a banner year for many local artists.

The Regional Arts Commission this year began an unprecedented awarding of money
to St. Louis-area artists through its Artists Count program. Dozens of visual, performing and literary artists were given grants of between $500 and $3,000 for specific projects.

pieces of wood in shape resembling sling chair
Courtesy of the artist

The current exhibit of John Watson’s artwork at Webster University’s Cecille R Hunt Gallery is titled Materials. That title will be a trigger for interpreting the artwork for some. It is likely to mean nothing to others.

The intentions implied by Materials, reinforced by Watson’s artwork and then confirmed within his exhibit text are such prevalent characteristics of current art trends that this body of work will feel familiar to those who encounter contemporary art regularly.

Provided by Perennial

A local program re-purposing broken chairs helps heal women with criminal convictions as they prepare to re-enter society.

The hit TV series “Orange Is the New Black” explores the lives of women behind bars. But even after their release, orange remains an important color to some of St. Louis' former female inmates. So do purple, green and the entire rainbow.

Provided by Kathryn Bentley

The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) today handed local artists Kathryn Bentley, Arny Nadler and eight others $20,000 each to make their dreams a reality.

Bentley, a theater artist, and Nadler, a sculptor, are among the first group of 10 visual, performing and literary artists to become RAC Artist Fellows. Their names (see full list below) were announced in a morning news conference at RAC's offices. (Note: An earlier version of the article said the offices were in University City. They are in St. Louis.)

Mary King Swayzee: Artist And Art Critic

Dec 11, 2013
photo of Mary Swayzee

Mary King Swayzee, an artist and a former art critic of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Saturday of cancer at the Mari de Villa retirement community in Chesterfield. She was 84 years old, and before her illness lived in Ladue, where she maintained her residence and studio. 

Mrs. Swayzee was reared in St. Louis, attended Mary Institute (now MICDS) in St. Louis, graduated from the Master’s School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., in 1947, and in 1951 from Barnard College in New York City, where she majored in art history. 

(Courtesy Serendipity Gallery)

Fifteen years ago, Clark Whittington was searching for a way to make his art more sellable. Inspired by a co-worker, he came up with the idea of a vending machine dispensing art.

“I used to work at a company where a friend of mine had a Pavlovian reaction to snack wrappers. When he’d hear the crinkle of cellophane, he’d buy something for himself. So that gave me the idea to put art in a vending machine,” said Whittington.

Bryan Haynes

For more than thirty years, St. Louis native Bryan Haynes made his living primarily doing commercial art. But when he moved back to Missouri, he began to paint landscape scenes based on the geography and history of the region.

"Seeing it anew, I just started to paint landscapes purely for the joy of it," said Haynes. "But then those shapes in the landscape..began to describe the narrative within the paintings."

Artwork by Bill Kohn / (Courtesy Bruno David Gallery)

A new exhibit featuring the work of the late St. Louis artist Bill Kohn opens tonight at the Bruno David Gallery. The exhibition is small in number, but large in scale, featuring five of Kohn's signature colorful works painted on big stretches of canvas.

"Bill was an amazing painter," said gallery owner Bruno David. "He traveled around the world many times over and made a lot of paintings during his travel, drawings, coming back to St. Louis every time. And some of the paintings that he made, he felt that they needed to be extremely large."

Images courtesy Stih & Schnock © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

When Berlin-based conceptual artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock first visited St. Louis in 2002, they were surprised by how familiar the city felt to them.

"We were baffled by how German it is. How normal everything sounds and looks," said Stih. "It wasn’t New York, it wasn’t Chicago, for sure not LA, It was something like a nice, quiet, city with extraordinary town planning."

(Image courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles) / (Courtesy Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz Collection, Miami. )

Although artist Rashid Johnson explores themes of identity and black history in his work, he does not see the exhibition of his work at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum to be an exploration of the black experience.

What it does show is the breadth of his work during the last fifteen years, in multiple mediums and with multiple layers of meaning.

Zoe Scharf / (Courtesy STL Design Week 2013)

From darts to bike tours to artwork made out of old books, STL Design Week 2013 is all about looking at and talking about design in new and interesting ways.

"This is the third year for Design Week, and Design Week was started by AIGA, which are graphic artists," said Margaret McDonald. "And this year it encompasses architects, illustrators, interior designers, industrial designers."

McDonald is chairperson for STL Design Week 2013, and a principal at architecture and interior design firm Arcturus.

(Courtesy Craft Alliance)

Starting tomorrow, Craft Alliance asks St. Louisans to answer the question, "What do you want to do before you die?"

It's part of an international art project called "Before I die..." in which the public is invited to write their hopes and dreams in chalk on a wall for all passing by to see. Hundreds of cities around the world have their own chalkboard wall. It was started in 2011 in New Orleans by Cindy Chang after she lost a loved one.

(Courtesy United Designs International Biennial Design Exhibition)

Posters are designed to be functional, usually to get a message out quickly. This often means they are here today and gone tomorrow. But an exhibit currently on display at the University of Missouri - St. Louis gives a little more longevity and exposure to the art form by displaying 100 posters by graphic designers from 40 countries.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Community visionaries and organizers from across the region held a conference in St. Louis on Friday.   The “Livable St. Louis” conference aims to transform the region through a range of quality of life improvements.

The conference was organized by Trailnet and focused on improving declining neighborhoods through projects such as affordable housing, safe streets, vibrant public spaces and green infrastructure.

Regina Martinez works with a group called the Rebuild Foundation that tries to transform old structures into new community assets.

Whaam! Varoom! R-rrring-g! The canvases of painter Roy Lichtenstein look as if they're lifted from the pages of comic books. Comics were a big inspiration for this pop artist, who was rich and famous when died in 1997 at age 73. But at a major Lichtenstein retrospective at Washington's National Gallery of Art, you can see that the artist found inspiration beyond comic books; he also paid his respects to the masters — Picasso, Monet and more.

The Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation said today that it has evidence that a painting that first came to light in the late 1800s is an early "Mona Lisa" also done by Leonard Da Vinci.

Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.

Rachel Lippmann / St. Louis Public Radio

Just in time for the holiday travel season, contractors at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport have finished their work on Concourse A.

The projects - part of a $70 million overhaul of Terminal 1 - include new ceilings, flooring and carpet, and completely new bathrooms.

Also included? Two new pieces of public art, which airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says are the first new pieces since the mural of black aviation was completed nearly 20 years ago.