James "Dalek" Marshall Returns to SMoCA This Weekend: Meet the Artist, Paint a Mural

Sean Deckert/Calnicean Projects
Shift creator James Marshall returns this weekend to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
He's best known around these parts as the man who made the colorful geometric designs that infuse the SMoCA Lounge gallery and performance space at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. But James "Dalek" Marshall was making brownies with his 8- and 10-year-old sons the day we chatted, and looking ahead to his next Valley visit.

He'll arrive in the afternoon on Friday, November 7, then do a quick refresh at The Saguaro, which seems a fitting spot for Marshall given its big blocks of color. Next he'll bounce over to SMoCA, where his 2014 mural Shift spans an outdoor courtyard and retail space that visitors encounter right after entering the museum.

Marshall's three-day visit starts with an informal meet-and-greet-style event Friday night in the SMoCA Lounge, the site of his 2014 mural Radiate. The museum suggested a more formal presentation at first, he says. But waxing poetic on the ways of making art isn't really Marshall's thing. He's keen on genuine conversations that foster "meaningful questions and answers."

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Your Guide to the 6th Annual Grand Avenue Festival in Phoenix

Categories: Visual Art

Lynn Trimble
Fashion meets recycling during the 2013 Grand Avenue Festival.
With this year's dizzying array of activities, we figured you could use a little help making your game plan for this year's Grand Avenue Festival, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 8.

The festival folks have partnered with the 9th annual Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts (PAPA), so you'll find this year's shindig is jam-packed with arts, eats and other feats presented by Valley artists, performers, and small business types.

Overachievers can print their own festival guide ahead of time, then curl up with a highlighter to mark all their "must-do" moments. The rest of us can snag a festival guide at the main information table located at Oasis on Grand, in front of Bragg's Pie Factory, or at La Melgosa at 1023 Grand Avenue.

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Slick Concept Trumps Content in "Covert Operations" at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Categories: Review, Visual Art

Photo by Chris Loomis
Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010 (SMoCA Installation view). Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: U.S. government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

In the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, visual and performing artists have explored the delicate dance between privacy and protection. Some hunt for undisclosed information. Others highlight things revealed but never appropriated by our cultural consciousness.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art contributes to the ongoing dialogue with "Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns," an exhibition of works by 13 international visual artists and collaboratives.

"Covert Operations," which is curated by SMoCA's Claire C. Carter, consumes all four of the museum's galleries through the fall season. It includes 37 works that tackle classified military sites, nuclear weapons, narcotics and human trafficking, and illegal extradition flights. The exhibition is billed as "the first major survey of a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported information."

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Steven J. Tepper, New ASU Herberger Institute Dean, Talks Arts, Policy, and Community

Andy DeLisle
Steven J. Tepper is the new Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU
No need to wonder whatever became of the little boy whose mom sent him to his first drawing class at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. when he was just 10 or 11 years old.

You'll find Steven J. Tepper heading the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where 4,700 students are studying in five schools.

His purview also includes the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus.

Until recently, the institute's new dean was an associate professor in Vanderbilt's sociology department and associate director for that university's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.

He continues to serve as research director for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project based at Indiana University, which gives him powerful insights into what becomes of art students once they graduate.

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The Table Showcases Photography and Encourages Arts Discussion in Phoenix

Categories: Visual Art

Courtesy of The Table
The Table is a "place for photographers to break bread and share pictures."

If there's one crucial thing that's missing from the art scene in Phoenix, it's dialogue. That's precisely why Dana Buhl, photographic artist and curatorial coordinator at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, opened her own space, The Table. Existing in between an exhibition and a critique, The Table functions through fostering dialogue. While the opening receptions of the exhibitions here are invite-only and conversation driven, anyone can view the exhibitions and have a conversation with the curator by making an appointment. Located inside Buhl's Phoenix home, the space allows visitors to look at the work, sit down, and have a conversation about it.

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Bob Boze Bell Brings "201 Zany Zonies" and The 66 Kid to Tempe and Phoenix

Bob Boze Bell
"Terry Goddard vs. Margaret Hance"
Bob Boze Bell wears many hats, most of them cowboy.

The longtime Arizona resident has worked as an artist and author, contributing work for big screen productions as well as publications including National Lampoon, Playboy, Arizona Highways, and New Times. This is in addition to serving as a publisher and co-owner of True West Magazine.

Despite being called everything from author to historian, Bell considers himself only one thing. "I'm just a cartoonist with a passion for the Wild West."

Even before moving to Kingman, Arizona, from Swea City, Iowa, in 1956, Bell, like many children of the Atomic Age, was obsessed with all things western.

"Ever since my grandma said Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk whoever walked the Wild West and Wyatt Earp was my favorite TV show. . . That really kind of launched me on a journey to find out the truth about the Wild West that's portrayed in television and movies."

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The Allery's "Opening Day" Mixed Creativity and Collaboration in Phoenix

Categories: Events, Visual Art

Vanessa Wiley
The Allery "Opening Day" Event

The hot spot on Friday, October 24, was definitely The Allery, a home turned collaborative art gallery that invited the public into its creative space. The Allery is helmed by J.B. Snyder, a local muralist and owner of the Fifth Street Paint Supply Store. Snyder lives and breathes paint. And so does The Allery, best described as a place where local artists can rent space, for a reasonable fee, and also get an opportunity to display their creative palettes to the public alongside local heavy hitters in the mural art scene.

The space's first exhibition, "Opening Day," featured work from Snyder, Lalo Cota, Pablo Luna, and a few others, like Angel Diaz, who painted while urbanites mingled. Diaz painted a large mural free-hand along a wall in the backyard. The creativity and the feel was welcoming and a little reserved. Entering through the front porch, attendees walked directly into a room set up with hand-painted portraits in ornate glossy frames across four walls. Studio spaces, including one inhabited by Cota, are on either side.

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J.B. Snyder's The Allery Opens in Downtown Phoenix With Multi-Artist Show

Mackenzie McCreary
The Allery is located at 911 N. 4th St. right off of Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix.
Muralist J.B. Snyder has been teasing us all week. His vague social media posts on Instagram and Facebook seem to say one thing: Snyder will be opening The Allery to the public tonight at 7 p.m. with a multi-artist show entitled "Opening Day."

The Allery is set to be an art gallery and collective studio hosted in a converted house typical of the surrounding Roosevelt Row arts district, according to the Facebook event posting for the show.

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"Chaos Theory" Has Gone From Funky to Formulaic at Legend City Studios in Phoenix

Categories: Review, Visual Art

Lynn Trimble
Randy Slack's California Jamboree, 1985 is on view in "Chaos Theory 15."

The "Chaos Theory" exhibition at Legend City Studios opened on First Friday to big crowds and social media praise. But during its 15-year history, the event has gone from funky to formulaic.

About half of the 19 artists invited to show works in 2000 still participate and only nine of the 69 artists included this year are first-timers, says organizer Randy Slack, who founded "Chaos Theory" with James Angel and David Dauncey, fellow members of the 3CarPileUp artist collective.

They named the event for the mathematical principle that says small changes can produce big effects, and they were early adopters of the First Friday art walk. All deserve kudos for helping build what's become a full-fledged arts scene, but the time has come to stop celebrating the past 15 years and start creating the next 15.

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5 Favorite Things From Sticker Phiends 6 in Tempe

Categories: Visual Art

Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
The stickers of Sticker Phiends 6 at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe.
Adhesive art is alive and well in the Valley, even if it's hidden in plain sight. Those with sharp eyes and an appreciation for creative expression probably have spied a few instances of adhesive art dotting various spots around town, typically in locales that artists frequent.

There are the unique and beautiful wheatpaste pieces by El Peezo that have appeared (and subsequently disappeared) from the downtown Phoenix arts district, for one, as well as the collage-like clusters of sticker art found in and around the spaces along Fifth Street and Roosevelt Row, or similar displays found over in Tempe. Plus, more than a few local music venues boast hordes of band stickers affixed to both walls and bathroom stalls.

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