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Having an Art Attack This Weekend
by Anne Bothwell 11 May 2012

Nine – count ’em NINE – shows I’d like to swing by this weekend, from Ernesto Neto at the Nasher and Chihuly at Tally Dunn to a very public retreat on the streets of Oak Cliff and diamonds made from the script of Superman III.

CTA TBD

It’s Friday,  which means I’m looking ahead to the weekend and feeling overly optimistic about my ability to take in all of the art happenings currently on my radar.  I think I’m setting myself up for an art attack. Nonetheless, thought I’d share the list, in case you have some spare time and a desire to connect with local artists, galleries or museums this weekend.

I’ve been interested in Shane Mecklenburger‘s work since I wandered into his studio at the American Beauty Lofts during a Cedars Open Studios a few years ago.  At the time, Mecklenburger was using layers of paint to create sculptural objects and playing with guns and video games.  These days, the former instructor at UNT has moved to a position at Ohio State. But he continues to put on interesting shows here in Dallas and this is your last chance to check out Tendered Currency at The Reading Room.

The exhibition highlight is three diamonds, contained under beautiful cases created by glass art students at Ohio State. Mecklenburger worked with a company called LifeGem, which creates diamonds, usually from the cremated remains of your loved ones. (I had never heard of this, but there are several companies that offer this service.)  In this case, though, Mecklenberger commissioned diamonds from the cremated remains of an armadillo that met his end in an encounter with a car, the gunpowder from a handful of bullets and…the script of Superman III.

It’s the last item, Mecklenberger says, that raises the most eyebrows. (Not for me.  I’m still stuck on LifeGem. Diamonds are….people?) So, during the show’s opening weekend, Mecklenberger staged a reading of an excerpt of Superman III. That won’t be recreated this weekend, but you can relive it in the video above, from Art This Week. Note: Mecklenberger creates an out-of-this world epilogue to the story at the finish.

This project continues.  He hopes to find an auction house to sell off the diamonds, with the idea of creating more – and bigger – diamonds in the future. Coupled with the documentation of another project, in which Mecklenberger sold concepts like The Future and Health to buyers on E-bay,  this show raises issues ranging from how we assign value to our desire to control life’s big  intangibles by turning them into transactional experiences.

The Reading Room is open Saturday from 2 to 5.

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Speaking of Art This Week, our friends there are celebrating their 3rd birthday at Central Trak tonight.  Stop by and help them blow out the candles.

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Here’s a little preview to pique your interest about  Sergio Garcia‘s show “Social” at Kirk Hopper Fine Art. The show features a new series of silk-screen prints called “Heat.”  And the reception is tonight. Images from hip-hop culture – a gun, tennis shoes – are made using unusual materials like gunpowder.  Previously, Garcia has attracted attention for his circular tricycle sculpture and  he had his first New York solo show late last year.

Saturday

Photographer Dave Herman is known to us here at Art&Seek as a founder of Preservation LINK, which uses photography and video to teach kids everything from visual literacy to leadership skills. But lately, Herman has been focusing on his artistic endeavours. “A Kinder Blue” explores the  Gullah Geechee culture in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, which retains strong influences from its West and Central African roots.  The show opens at the South Dallas Cultural Center with a reception Saturday.

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In Oak Cliff Friday, photographer and media artist Erica Felicella launches a very public performance near the Kessler Theater called Visible ShellAt 5 p.m. Friday, she’ll step into a custom-made plexiglass shell in the green space near 502 North Clinton Road (steps away from the Kessler Theater). But I’ve put this under “Saturday” because  once inside, she won’t leave for 48 hours.  She’ll spend her time writing a sentence over and over again on scraps of paper that will slowly fill the cube.  The project is a contemplation on how we experience emotions and share them (or hide them) publicly. And Stephen Becker will tell us more about it next week. Til then, stop by any time this weekend to see how Erica is faring.

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While many participants are working artists, you don’t need a resume full of gallery shows to participate in Diorama-O-Rama; just the memory of making tiny tableaux back in grade school.  This is the third year for the show. While it’s too late to submit a diorama for judging and auction, you can get ideas for your entry next year from the charming mix that usually ranges from stunning to curious – and often travels far beyond the  shoe-box concept. You can also take home your favorite, during a silent auction, live auction and one big party at Bolt Studios starting at 4 on Saturday.  Celebrity judges, emcees Rawlins Gilliand and Catherine Cuellar, DJs and it all raises money for a cause (this year: Cafe Momentum.)

Working Title. Photo: Kia Wright

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This week on Art&Seek, we’ve been happy to play host to members of the art collective Solvent, who’ve been sharing their thoughts about “Working Title,”  an ongoing collaboration involving 30 artists creating over three weeks. The second of three openings in the process happens Saturday at ro2 Gallery Downtown.

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If you’re entranced by the Chihuly exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum, you will want to head to Tally Dunn Gallery on Saturday, where some of Dale Chihuly’s  recent work will be on display.

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You’ve come all this way, and  I haven’t even mentioned  Brazillian artist Ernesto Neto.  Remember Martin Creed’s balloon room at The Nasher Sculpture Center last year? Well think of that…only substitute giant lopes of crochet for the balloons.  The Nasher invited  Neto to take over a gallery and create an elevated “environment” out of crochet, fabric and soft squishy things. And your opportunity to “Cuddle on the Tightrope” begins Saturday.

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