Art Beat

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Respect the past

  There was so much going on last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was like we tried to jam the full month of May Fest into one weekend. Frogs and chicks went leaping and flying out of Zarks and Wilson & Wilson, prayers were maybe answered at Studio 62, short person Randy Newman went on and on at the AUD, people got face to "Faces" at Main Stage, Bill Westerman showed us what 60 years of work looks like, Yard and Spring Art prizes were awarded, the Art Colony rocked, art cars ruled and Books were Blooming at the Crescent Hotel -- and that was only part of it.

  Kudos to everyone who participated in the ARTrageous parade Saturday. I haven't seen that much color since a certain, very long night in the late sixties.

  So speaking of color.

  Let me first say that I'm a huge fan and supporter of public art. Saturday's official unveiling of the 17 new artist painted benches in Basin Park was fun. The work, with some exceptions, was good, and I can see keeping these benches in Basin Park for the entire month of May.

  Ken Concar, an artist who I enormously respect had the right idea last year when asked to participate in the bench show. Ken painted over the original green benches with the same color paint and simply added the words in stenciled lettering "Respect The Past."

  It said volumes.

  So as fun and even enchanting as some of these new benches are, I don't believe they should be a permanent yearly installation in what is probably one of our most historic treasures, Basin Park

  Living in a historic district, one needs to pick and choose carefully where such public art should be placed. The Artery, is a perfect example of incorporating modern work in a historic town. Charlotte Buchanan took an unappealing concrete wall and covered it with rotating art panels which even nay-sayers of the original project have fallen in love with.

A couple of months ago the Citizen received a scathing letter to the editor aghast at the colors the downtown trolley depot had been recently painted. The interior of the depot was painted the same colors to match the colors of the trolley routes -- red, green, yellow, blue and purple, and all in array of different sections and angles. The result is a little dizzying and reminiscent of the fast food restaurant interiors in the 80's.

  Maybe at the end of the festival, the painted benches in Basin Park could be replaced with the unpainted benches currently at the trolley depot. The painted benches would enhance the depot's already over-the-top color scheme, continue to promote the talent of our local art community year-round, and most importantly, restore Basin Park back to its historical ambience.

  Just a suggestion.

  So what's on for next week.

  I'm looking forward to the Saree Party at the New Delhi Friday. Co-owner John Wiley has blown up photographs on canvas of his recent trip to India. I got a sneak peek and some of the images are stunning.

  The group photography show "Flowers" at Mud Street is worth viewing just to see Richard Quick's three exquisite photographs. The artist reception is also Friday.

   And New Orleans transplant Al Hooks (I swear I'm not purposely only promoting photography) is having his official Gallery Stroll opening to kick off his new signature gallery on Center St. next to DeVito's.   

  Also Saturday. Zarks' local invitational show "Totems" will no doubt be fascinating, Ed Lohrum smokes at Quicksilver, Carol Peacock crows at Serendipity, Cynthia Dollard brings her jewels to the Jewel Box and Dale McCurry's alter ego Curly McRed reads from Letters from the Pen at Keels Creek Gallery and Winery.

  Had enough art yet?

  Remember this is just a smattering of happening events, so get out your May Fest schedule and check out the listings.

  See you on the street.

  P.S. There's a big blow-out ART t-shirt sale at the Space above the new antique mall across the street from the Post Office Saturday only, from 10 a.m to 9 p.m. Come by and pick up one more Rankiné rag. What a deal -- Three tees for $10 bucks

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