First Friday Gallery Hopping

The storm which closed the St Louis Art Fair and Art Outside did not stop art addicts from sampling gallery openings.

Last night as I was driving South on Big Bend at 4:45p.m. I saw the squall line of ugly black clouds swirling across the horizon. The resulting downpour closed the Art Outside and openings. However, there were plenty of others INSIDE to lure the most hardcore art aficionados.

First stop was the Contemporary Art Museum to hear opening remarks by the new executive director, Lisa, on the resurrected "First Fridays". The art of Leslie Hewitt was a complete disappointment, the Lauren Adams "Horde" needed leeches in apothecary jars to liven it up, and the saving grace was Rosa Barba's video installation of the desert.

On to the Sheldon Galleries where the Jazz and Broadway Scrapbooks of Al Hirschfeld fill two rooms. For New Yorker readers, "Glee" fans, or students of the line (in drawing), this is a "must see" exhibit. Who can forget his drawing of Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly"?

Then there is the one of Laurel and Hardy in bed together under quilted blankets with huge smiling faces---I always suspected they may have been gay! This exhibit is up through January 5, 2013, so there is plenty of time to make it down there.

Next stop was Bruno David and the plastic painted ocean detritus splayed across the walls is interesting and visually exciting (after a fashion). Of course Bruno has the most beautiful gallery attendants and I politely accept the limits of one glass of white wine which must stay in the back room area.

Finally, G.Y.A. on Locust. This co-op of female artists was showing painting and prints by Seitu James Smith and collages by another artist. Ms Dale Chambers said that the co-op's name was Gaeia (Mother Earth), but was shortened to G.Y.A.

Seitu's landscapes show an obvious connection to abstraction and cubism; however it is his portraits which are so powerful. Fields of color define the head and face without being cubist and are reasonably priced. Although this gallery space is in the "no man's land" between City Museum and the Symphony, more businesses are "popping up" along the Locust Business District, but then that is another blog for a future date!

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