Contemporary Art Museum

Kelly Lee and her mother Barbara Hill examine a sculpture inspired by the artist's homeless sister inside the garage studio of JE Baker
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

Barbara Hill of Fenton will do almost anything to support her four daughters. A decade ago while visiting one daughter in the African Republic of Mali, Hill shut her eyes as her car's driver backed down a narrow mountain road to let another vehicle pass.

So simply riding a forward-moving bus to four St. Louis artists’ studios this past Sunday was a breeze. And an eye-opener, as it turned out.

Provided by the Contemporary Art Museum

What if you held a pub crawl but replaced the alcohol with art?

You’d have the Contemporary Art Museum’s Open Studios Tour. Or at least one of the many ways you can experience the Oct. 3-4 event, according to CAM director Lisa Melandri.

CAM Teen Museum Studies participants plan the final stages of thier exhibit
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Your cell phone. Skype. Email. Imagine each device as an impediment to communication, not an aid. That’s the idea behind Cole Lu’s exhibit SMELLS LIKE CONTENT at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

“Most people use text messages and that’s one of those things where you don’t get a voice intonation and you don’t read body language,” said one of the show’s curators, 18-year-old Scout Sale.

Wilis Ryder Arnold

OK, we get it: publishing a video starring the cats of St. Louis Public Radio employees is completely self-indulgent. But with the Contemporary Art Museum offering its Internet Cat Video Festival July 9-10, we figured we’d better pounce on the chance.

Equilibirum by Lyndon Barrois
Courtesy of Lyndon Barrois

Three St. Louis artists are each $20,000 richer this week.  

“It’s still pretty surreal, like it still hasn’t really sunk in as a reality,” said artist Lyndon Barrois Jr., 31. He teaches at Washington University and Webster University.

The money is part of the Great Rivers Biennial award, which also includes the artist’s work in an exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in May 2016. 

The Love Doll Day 24 (Diving) by Laurie Simmons
Contemporary Art Museum

Women are objectified. Men are emotionally M.I.A. Everyone is isolated. Photographer Laurie Simmons looks at these issues and more in an exhibit opening Friday at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum.

“Two Boys and the Love Doll” is Simmons’ first Midwestern solo show. She’s been working with dolls for 40 years. Back in the 1970s, Simmons made dollhouses that spoke to topics America was only beginning to grapple with, according to CAM curator Jeffrey Uslip.

An international conversation about culture on Twitter is being joined by The Contemporary Art Museum, The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, The Sheldon Concert Hall and The Kemper Museum. For Contemporary Art Museum PR/Marketing Assistant Liz Deichmann, the event bridges the gap between local and international art institutions.

Floris M. Oosterveld | Flickr | cropped

Selfie sticks. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here; and they seem to be getting more popular.

This week, the Smithsonian Institution — the world’s largest collection of museums, which includes the Air and Space Museum, Natural History Museum and Portrait Gallery — banned the use of selfie sticks.

Chief Curator Jeffrey Uslip explains the personal narrative of artist Jesse Howard
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

At a time when religion and free speech often seem at odds, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is hosting a show that unites these principles. According to Chief Curator Jeffrey Uslip artist Jesse Clyde Howard’s work is one gigantic expression of religion as an act of free speech.

“This work is honest, it is absolutely precise, it is unmediated, there’s no pulling punches,” said Uslip. “This is who Jesse was. He was a staunch believer in free speech and the first amendment.”

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.

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.

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation gave a tour of ongoing renovations Nov. 19.
Carly Ann Hilo | Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Although the Pulitzer Arts Foundation has been closed since August, a swarm of activity has been taking place inside the Grand Center institution.

Construction crews are renovating the Pulitzer’s basement area to create two new galleries. When they’re done in May 2015, the Foundation will have one-third more exhibition space, totaling 104,000 square feet. The work is being done in cooperation with a representative of the original architect, Tadao Ando.

Chin, 1994, 'Home y Sew9'
Provided by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Updated with Mel Chin discussing one of his works now at CAM.

Two exhibits debuting Friday night at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum resonate with recent events in Ferguson.

The Mel Chin and Mark Flood openings were planned long before last month’s shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. But they inadvertently debut at an opportune time, according to CAM's executive director Lisa Melandri.

Work by Edo Rosenblith
Provided by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

First – remember First Friday. The tradition of art galleries being open in the evening on that date is well established in Grand Center and spreading. For instance, Space at 4168 Manchester, will be opening "Visions of a city: A solo exhibit" by Timothy Wagner from 6-9 p.m.

Provided by CAM

Cat videos have become the glue that holds the Internet together. Will the Internet Cat Video Festival have the same stickiness for museums?

The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis is hosting the two-day festival July 18-19, featuring cat-themed activities and, of course, videos. Both days are sold out.

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?

TMS class of 2012 in Contemporary Art Museum receiving room.
Provided by CAMSTL

If someone were to tally the number of St. Louis area students participating in career training at arts institutions and compare that to the numbers in other local industries, the arts might possibly win. The Contemporary Art Museum, alone, draws hundreds of students into its pre-professional programming each year. And not only are the exciting, pre-professional youth programs at CAM and the St. Louis Art Museum free to participants, some pay a stipend.

photo by David Johnson / Organized by the Pulitzer Foundaton for the Arts & the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Updated Monday, May 12 to include the fourth exhibition at CAM.

Three St. Louis institutions are opening major contemporary art exhibitions tonight: the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University.

In the hope that St. Louisans will make it an “art night out,” a free shuttle service between the Kemper and Grand Center is being provided from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

David Johnson | PXSTL

 Think of it as your very own performance and gathering space. A former vacant lot, across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis’ Grand Center, is booked for more than a dozen events through October. But in between, bring your guitar and your friends for a sing-a-long under its floating canopies. Or relocate your book club there for the summer.

“We want people to just respond to the space in ways we haven’t even imaged yet — and neither have they,” Pulitzer executive Kristina Van Dyke told St. Louis Public Radio.