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2017 Fall Culture Guide: Visual Arts

Fall culture guide
Courtesy CSN Artspace Gallery
Courtesy CSN Artspace Gallery

Food, festivals & Family | Music | Theater & Dance | Literature and Ideas | Visual Arts

{Through September 30

School yourself

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They don’t call it the Historic Fifth Street School for nothing — built in 1936, it was the valley’s first permanent (archaic terminology alert!) “grammar school.” Get a glimpse into history with this retrospective of photographs of one of the city’s preservation victories. (SD) Historic Fifth Street School Mayor’s Gallery, 702-229-ARTS for appointment


{September 8

John Wayne has left the building

Prepare to have your clichéd mythologies of the cowboy expanded. Timed to National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at CSN, this black-and-white photo exhibit — Charro, Portrait of a Way of Life by CSN photography prof Antonio Gomez — takes viewers into the lives and struggles of Mexican cowboys. (SD) Opening reception September 22. Through October 28, CSN Fine Arts Gallery,

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{September 11

Don’t meddle with metal’s mettle

Okay, that’s a dumb bit of wordplay atop this item, but if you’re reading this, it did its job, which is to bring your attention to this show of quirky metalwork by artist Kim McTaggart. Drawn to the “many fascinating and mysterious qualities that metals offer,” McTaggart has bent silver, copper, brass, bronze, and even a bit of gold to whimsical storytelling uses. Delightful stuff. (SD) Artist talk September 22, through November 3, Clark County Government Center Rotunda, 702-455-7340


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{September 14

Living clay lights

Fired clay is wonderfully versatile. You can use it to make dishes, vases, or the ever-popular teapot; but it can also take on forms more artistic, whimsical, decorative, or mysterious. Bet on members of the Nevada Clay Guild to run that gamut in this show. (SD) Opening reception September 22. Through December 28, City Hall Grand Gallery, 702-229-ARTS


{September 15

Anthony Bondi three ways

Big show for a favorite son. While many Las Vegans are familiar with Anthony Bondi’s collages of the 1990s, which perfectly captured the city’s wild pastiche zeitgeist, fewer are aware of his more recent, freewheeling photo work, and fewer still — basically, those who’ve attended Burning Man — have experienced the interactive pieces he did for that festival. For the first time in memory, he’ll be able to present all three phases of his long, creative career. Worth the trip out West Sahara. (SD) Through November 11, Sahara West Library,


{September 22

The culture of nature

As Martina Shenal’s camera wends through areas of Japan, seeking out places where human activity mediates the experience of nature, it poses questions about the human-natural interaction. If humans are natural, are the things we create also natural, and how does that affect the way they impact the wild? The exhibit is titled Secondary Nature as a reference to culturally determined — as opposed to instinctive — responses to nature. (SD) Artist’s talk September 21. Through November 4, CSN Artspace Gallery,


{September 28

No SkyNet jokes, please

Instead, just take in the coolness of this band of little delta robots, programmed by kinetic artist Sarah Petkus and engineer Mark Koch to react to movements made by viewers. Groovy. (SD) Through November 28, Enterprise Library gallery,


{September 29

Bring your high-waters

As midsummer events — flooding, deaths — made clear, rainfall can have serious consequences here. Years ago, valley officials responded with a vast network of flood-control basins — more than 100 of them — and concrete channels designed to help tame the flow. These facilities are the subject of Peripheral Flood Control Structures of Las Vegas, a show of photography and video, organized by the Center for Land Use Interpretation. (SD) Through November 10, UNLV’s Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, free,


{October 6

And you thought it wouldn’t last

Big day for the Barrick Museum. Marking its 50th anniversary (as well as UNLV’s 60th), the museum opens two new exhibitions, Preservation and liminal. A group show featuring boldfaced art-world names such as Max Hooper Schneider, Candice Lin, and German sound artist Moritz Fehr, Preservation explores themes of survival, an apt topic for Las Vegas. For liminal, the museum and curator Shelly Volsch look within, creating a show, from the Barrick’s collection, about “the enigmatic territory between different modes of being.” There will also be a tour of the show in sister facility the Donna Beam Fine Art, Peripheral Flood Control Structures of Las Vegas. Break out the (artisan) party hats! (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 5p, free,


{October 12

This old (abandoned, signifying, idea-generating) house

A lecture by artist Jeana Eve Klein, who has taken as her subject the theme of value — how it’s created, how it’s sustained, or isn’t. Visually, she creates embroidered pieces based on her photographed and painted images of abandoned houses. In Past Perfect, she’s fascinated by the stubs of narrative that remain, and what they say about value: “I wonder when the first broken window was left unfixed,” she says, “when the first roof tile wasn’t replaced, and why the former inhabitants fled.” (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 6p (reception), 7p lecture, free,


{October 17

We have met the curators, and they are us

Full disclosure: We’re the Desert Companion referred to in the title Desert Companion’s Focus on Nevada Photo Showcase. Some great photographers submitted excellent work in this iteration of our annual photo contest — a look at this exhibit will reassure you about the level of talent in Southern Nevada. (SD) Through January 9, Centennial Hills Library gallery, free,


{October 18

A gallery filled with death!

Life, death, and art —three richly resonant topics— combine with a delightful mix of fun and morbidity in Mexican Day of the Dead festivities. This year’s Day of the Dead Juried Exhibition will be juried by Las Vegas Weekly journalist Leslie Ventura. (SD) Reception 6p Nov. 1; through Nov. 8, Winchester Cultural Center, free, 702-455-7340


{October 24

This pixeled world

At first the premise of Low Res might sound too clever by half: paintings that examine pixilation. Har har — exploring a visual phenomenon primarily found in photography using a medium in which that phenomenon doesn’t occur! Cute! But then you begin to imagine the creativity-spurring challenges the assignment presents, and you think maybe you have to see it. (SD) Through January 16, Whitney Library gallery, free,


{October 24

Made you think!

For his talk, titled “Desert Cathedrals: Rhetorical Structures that Make America,” artist Adam Bateman opens a wide aperture: American identity, manifest destiny, Mormon churches, utopian communities, and the Hoover Dam. Sounds wonderfully discursive, associative, and stimulating. See you there! (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 7p, free,


{October 26

Jean manipulation

Brooklyn painter Wendy White presents a talk about her work, which playfully flits around the high-low dynamic by giving pop culture detritus — denim, sports logos — a high-art makeover. Says a critic for The Guardian, “I don’t think there’s anyone better than Wendy White.” (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 7p, free,


{November 9

Film at 11

Filmmaker Brigid McCaffrey discusses her work, which includes a portrait of a geologist who’s spent years developing a deep, scientific intimacy with the Mojave Desert, and the enigmatic human and natural relationships along the shores of a reservoir. (SD) UNLV’s Barrick Museum, 7p, free,


{November 10

Vinyl destination

Sound as art. Here’s one example of a piece in Margaret Noble’s Resonating Objects series. Discarded bits of field recordings and lectures that were recorded on vinyl are digitized into decontextualized sound bites that can be triggered by pushing buttons on a line of circuits. These sounds have been further depersonalized and reduced to a series of numerical descriptions, which are attached to the piece. Each describes, in some fashion, the identity of the person recorded, but which gets closer to the truth? (SD) Artist talk November 9, through January 20, CSN Fine Arts Gallery,


{November 17

Dreaming trees

In Dreamy Solitude is the title of this show by French artist Marianic Parra. That seems like an apt description of her gouache drawings of stark, denuded tree limbs, tangles of branches that manage to seem, yes, dreamy instead of purely melancholy. (SD) Artist’s reception January 25. Through January 27, CSN Artspace Gallery,


{November 17

Takes you out of your busy day

You’re plodding through the Clark County Government Center in the midst of some banal interaction with civic bureaucracy — or maybe you work for the banal civic bureaucracy — when, in the building’s vast, echoing rotunda, you encounter something weird. Three house-like structures, featuring mirrors and plexi, that create a large-scale kaleidoscopic effect. Look, you can rotate pieces of it to change the effect! How fun! If you wind up spending a few enjoyable minutes doing that — living in the moment — artist Holly Rae Vaughn will be pleased. (SD) Artist’s reception December 14. Through January 19, Clark County Government Center Rotunda, 702-455-7340


{November 29

Never forget

AIDS is no longer a constant presence in the headlines, and in many cases modern medicine has prevented it from being an automatic death sentence. So, with our all-too-human tendency to move on from tragedy, it might seem as though we’ve put the disease behind us. That would be a mistake, as the AIDS Quilt reminds us; its ongoing tally of the toll AIDS has taken is a powerful antidote to our cultural amnesia. (SD) Through December 12, West Charleston Library,


{November 30

If only there were recent developments to give this some topical urgency

 Basin and Range comprises artistic visions and interpretations from the eponymous Nevada national monument — now under review, with an eye toward diminishment, by the Trump administration. Curated by Checko Salgado and Jerry Schefcik, it brings together some of the valley’s top artists. (SD) Through January 22, Windmill Library gallery,


{December 1

Hiya, playa!

Do Burning Man sculptures like “Big Rig Jig” and “Bliss Dance” retain their aura of art beyond the playa, or are they empty spectacle? Opinions vary. But we’re pretty sure that if anyone can make art of Burning Man, it’s Nancy Good. The pieces in See, Touch, and Go Dream: The Burning Man Tapestries — tapestries comprising manipulated photographs — promise to both document the festival and perform the functions of art. (SD) Through January 1, Winchester Cultural Center gallery, free, 702-455-7340



As that philosophical collective known as Smash Mouth puts it, “Fashion is the passion of the with-it and hip.” *Pause to let that sink in.* It’s also a strong preoccupation for these artists.