8 Must-See Art Shows in Metro Phoenix This Spring

Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
"Chamber Music: A Mostly Silent Installation" by Diane Gilbert (detail) is now on view at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
An artist who created a fictional queer family history. An artist best known for rendering soup cans. An artist who works with bits of screen and guitar strings. They're all part of spring exhibitions in metro Phoenix, which invite reflection on everything from the commodification of nature to the cult of celebrity. Here are eight art shows not to miss.

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Tempe Artist Peter Bugg on Dissecting Fashion, House of Cards, and His Equal Scouts Project

Mikey Estes
Peter Bugg diligently cutting away in his home studio

What happens in the studio shouldn't always stay in the studio. Studio Visit Q+A is a new weekly series that profiles artists in their studios. We ask them questions, they provide answers, and then we have a nice discussion about their work. This week: Tempe artist and educator Peter Bugg.

When flipping through a magazine, we most likely don't consider the details from page to page. The work of Tempe artist Peter Bugg carefully focuses on these intricacies present on the page. His cut paper work has always focused on images we consume, such as celebrity tabloids or fashion editorials. He treats these figures present in cover stories and advertisements as revered icons, like characters from famous novels. The magazine becomes more than a consumable item -- he acknowledges its status as an artifact of our times.

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Art Detour 27 Made Important Phoenix Connections, But Artlink Didn't

Categories: Review, Visual Art

Benjamin Leatherman
Hot Box Gallery displays Art Detour 27 dot signage on Roosevelt Row.

Art Detour 27 organizers ran with a clear theme this time around: Connecting the dots. And they had some fun with it. Signs with giant red dots turned up in everything from dirt lots to planters. Green dot stickers sporting the word #phxdots hashtag got slapped onto all sorts of T-shirts and lapels. Dots started popping up on sidewalks running through Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue. Thankfully, no one sent around a "let's all wear polka dots this weekend" memo.

Artlink, the nonprofit organization that puts on Art Detour, is clearly onto something with this theme. We hear too often that "insider" venues aren't connected with "outsider" artists, that citizens aren't connected enough to the artists working in their communities, that artists in different sectors aren't connected to one another. But how successful was this year's event in connecting those separate entities?

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Beatrice Moore on the State of the Arts in Metro Phoenix

Kathleen D. Cone / Courtesy of Beatrice Moore
Beatrice Moore weighs in on the state of the arts in Phoenix.

When Jackalope Ranch issued a 10-question survey asking Phoenicians (and anyone with an opinion of Phoenix) to sound of on the state of the arts in the Valley of the Sun, dozens provided insights on what's happening in the city's creative realm. We'll present a selection of survey responses here over the next three weeks. Up today is Beatrice Moore of Bragg's Pie Factory and Kooky Krafts.

1. What are three words that describe the arts in Arizona?
Diverse, widespread, fragile.

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6 Must-See Art Shows During First Friday in Phoenix on March 6

Categories: Visual Art

Courtesy of Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery
You never know who you might find hanging around during the "Mutant Piñata" show.
As we're all gearing up to gorge on art during Art Detour, it's worth noting that making the First Friday rounds is a fabulous way to knock some prime exhibits off your weekend art to-do list. There's a long list of things we're eager to see, but these are the exhibitions that caught our eye for Friday Friday art adventures.

8th Annual "Mutant Piñata Show"

Leave the piñata poles and baseball bats at home for this one. It's true that all manner of piñatas will be hanging from the rafters at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery during First Friday, but there's no candy or money to be gained here. Instead, the piñata fare is part of a beloved annual tradition that engages artists and community members in making piñatas more than a bit off the beaten path to your local party store.

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Here's Your Guide to Art Detour 27 in Phoenix

Categories: Events, Visual Art

Courtesy of John Randall Nelson
Artlink chose artwork by local artist John Randall Nelson for Art Detour materials this year.
It's never fun when the number of good choices we're faced with outpaces the amount of time we have to enjoy them. But that's often the case during First and Third Friday in metro Phoenix, when there's never enough time to explore every exhibit and arts-related event taking place in downtown Phoenix.

Art Detour, an annual showcase of arts and culture now in its 27th year, gives us all an entire weekend to check out local galleries, art studios, and pop-ups -- plus an eclectic assortment of retail spaces, bars, and dining venues.

This year's shindig takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8. Participants include 32 galleries, 16 art studios, 19 art spaces, 24 bars and dining establishments, four retailers, and four events described as "pop-ups & activities."

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Phoenix Artist Mimi Jardine on the Meaning of Feminism, Preserving Trash as Art

Mikey Estes
Mimi Jardine in her home studio with one of her schnauzers.

What happens in the studio shouldn't always stay in the studio. Studio Visit is a weekly series that profiles artists in their studios. We ask them questions, they provide answers, and then we have a nice discussion about their work. This week: Mimi Jardine, current president of Eye Lounge and operator of The Office of Environmental Responsibility.

Mimi Jardine's studio practice, which incorporates litter and found objects, is not only good for the environment, but it also makes for good art. With her presidency at Eye Lounge and the debut of the Mobile Remittance Unit for her Office of Environmental Responsibility project, she's been a prevalent force in the arts here in Phoenix. It's hard to believe that, prior to moving to Phoenix, she wasn't making and exhibiting work for about 20 years. We sat down in her home studio and chatted about where she started, how she got to where she is now, and what's next for her.

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Eye Lounge's 15-Year Retrospective at Vision Gallery Highlights Phoenix's Visual Art Diversity

Categories: Review, Visual Art

Mikey Estes
Cole Robertson's America's Next Hot Mug Shot #1 and #2 examine the still image in our culture.

Eye Lounge has been kicking off 2015 with exhibitions that highlight where they've been, where they are, and where they may be going. The most expansive of these is "Self Made: 15 Years of Eye Lounge," currently on view at Vision Gallery in Chandler until March 8, 2015. Bringing together the works of over 60 artists, of Eye Lounge both past and present, the exhibition shows just how diverse visual art in Phoenix is. At times, the exhibition may seem overloaded within the walls of the gallery, but as a whole the exhibition excellently illustrates how influential Eye Lounge has been over the past 15 years.

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Artist Samantha Lyn Aasen on Vajazzling, the Absurd Expectations of Womanhood (NSFW)

Mikey Estes
Samantha Lyn Aasen wearing her princess crown in her Phoenix studio

What happens in the studio shouldn't always stay in the studio. Studio Visit is a weekly series that profiles artists in their studios. We ask them questions, they provide answers, and then we have a nice discussion about their work. This week: Samantha Lyn Aasen, current MFA candidate in the Intermedia program at ASU.

The studio of Samantha Lyn Aasen may resemble the messy room of an adolescent girl, but rest assured there's more going on here than just that. Aasen is about to wrap up her studies at ASU with "Sparkle Baby," her MFA thesis show at Step Gallery in April. The photographs that she is currently producing use cheap craft and beauty supplies along with her own body in order to examine girlhood and womanhood. We sat own with Aasen in her studio and chatted about girlhood and womanhood, the cultural phenomenon known as vajazzling, and aspiration resulting in failure.

Editor's note: Images that follow are NSFW.

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No, There Isn't a Banksy at The Lost Leaf in Phoenix

Categories: News, Visual Art

Paul Horner
The fake Banksy
So, have you heard anything recently about that alleged Banksy piece that suddenly appeared over at The Lost Leaf? Probably so, since news of the alleged creation by the enigmatic street artist has been all over social media and the talk of Roosevelt Row.

If you're not up on the latest gossip, here's the skinny: Sometime this past weekend, Banksy supposedly adorned the Fifth Street drinkery with one of his signature stencil works, which featured a rat wielding a broom along with the words, "Paul Horner, I come for you."

Here's the kicker: It's a complete and total hoax, courtesy of the guy namechecked in the alleged art work.

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