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2019 Culture Guide: Visual Arts

Courtesy Left of Center Gallery

Few artists have made a splash in Las Vegas comparable to Gig Depio in the decade he’s been here.

Family & Festivals | Music | Theater & Dance | Literature and Ideas | Visual Arts

Through September 28

Fade, Sag, Crumble

In Remnant, photographer Jason Tannen trains his lens on the eroded details of urban life. “With this series,” he says, “I’m particularly interested in storefront displays and the topography of signs, symbols, and human representation.” Reception: September 26. Charleston Heights Arts
Center, free,

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Through November 7

The Case for Baskets

Native American artisans connected to Nevada display their basketry traditions in a wide-ranging display. Closing reception: November 7. Las Vegas City Hall, free,


September 4

Sponsor Message

Crazy Like the Wolf

If you haven’t encountered Leobardo Bracamontes on Instagram, you should dial him up. He brings an appealing, headlong energy to the paintings and assemblages that he calls his “Latin American outsider art.” His exhibit Lobo Loco runs through November 2. Core Contemporary, free,


September 6

Aspiring Cartoonists, Take Note

Black Mountain Institute fellow Amy Kurzweil, an acclaimed cartoonist and graphic memoirist, presents Pencils to Ink, an exhibit that gets into her process, from idea to finished piece. Through November 30. Historic Fifth Street School, free,


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September 9

Adaptive Refuse

Lotta cast-off junk in this world, poised against the natural human instinct to believe in permanence. These are the conceptual boundaries within which artist Liz Ensz explores disposability, “the scavenger impulse,” and notions of value — of people, the environment, other life forms. Hear more at the opening night talk. Through October 19. CSN Fine Arts Gallery, free,


September 10

You Had Me at Gig

Few artists have made a splash in Las Vegas comparable to Gig Depio in the decade he’s been here. His vision (and canvases) can be epic, stuffed with character, narrative, history, and humor, rendered with a visual bravado that doesn’t obscure the deep meaning he brushes into his pieces. Ten is a welcome retrospective. Reception: September 14. Through November 30. Left of Center Gallery, 2207 W. Gowan Road, free,


September 13

‘Real’ Isn’t What It Used to Be

Consider a painting like “Lust,” included in Truth to Tell, this exhibit by Virginia Derryberry: a voluptuously rendered red pepper, surrounded by incongruous imagery — a stitched scene depicting some old-timey outing; a crude doll; an abstract squiggle. Paintings like this “seem to define a ‘real’ space, but in fact, are constructed from multiple viewpoints.” You can dwell in this painting for a long time. Reception:
September 19. Through October 26. CSN Artspace Gallery, free,


September 13

Maybe We Can Work Together?!

Following such heroically sized exhibits as this summer’s epic Sorry for the Mess, the Barrick Museum continues to go big. Starting Sept. 13: Connective Tissue, an exhibit of what we’re assured are “HUGE murals” and interactive sculptures created by neuroscientist-turned-artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya to explore the notion of unity through connectivity and networks. You can hear all about it during her talk on October 10. Through February 22. UNLV’s Barrick Museum, free,


September 24

Family Photos

Not just any family, though: As chronicled over 30 years by photographer Tomas Gaspar in An American Family — An AIDS Legacy, Miami couple Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau took in five HIV-AIDS children. In the process, they challenged traditional notions of family and helped dispel myths about the unsuitability of gay couples to adopt children. Through December 3. West Charleston Library, free,


October 4

Hans Across the Water

A multifarious tribute to the brawny, large-spirited abstract sculptures of Hans Van de Bovenkamp, whose work can be found around the globe. Reception: October 10. Through December 7. West Sahara Library, free,


October 11

Art Walk with Me

UNLV’s campus-wide event introduces strolling viewers to the school’s fine-arts programs — art, film, dance, music, theater, architecture, and entertainment engineering and design. You’ll see exhibits (including by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, below), performances, interactive thingamajigs, a 90-person choir, and more. UNLV campus, 5-9p, free,


October 11-13

You Had Me at Mural Fest!

Mural: Recycled Propaganda

Mural Fest! The wise owner of the New Orleans Square commercial center is throwing a three-day blow-out in which artists will festoon the property with fresh murals. It’s an apt event for a location that’s emerging as a new hub of the valley’s art and culture scenes. In Commercial Center,


October 11

At Last, the Justice League of Local Artists We’ve Been Waiting For!

Look at this lineup for the exhibit Block 17: Harold Bradford, Sylvester Collier, Lolita Develay, Desert Companion’s own Brent Holmes, Vicki Richardson, Lance Smith, and more. That’s a rich talent pool of local artists celebrating Las Vegas’ African heritage. Through December 7. UNLV’s Donna Beam Gallery, free,


November 7

Well, That’s Been Imploded, and That’s Been Imploded, and That

In Vintage Vegas: In Color you’ll see the Las Vegas News Bureau’s chronicle of Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s. Let your nostalgia run free. Through January 26. West Las Vegas Library, free,


November 8

The Grim Reaper Gives This Exhibit Two Bony Thumbs Up

After an actuary determined his likely life expectancy, artist Christopher McNulty didn’t do what the rest of us might — buy a pillow embroidered with Dance like no one is watching and otherwise change nothing. Instead, he began making work comprising tens of thousands of repetitive marks denoting the days he presumably had left. It was a way to comprehend mortality, to imagine the unimaginable, to address our culture’s anxiety about death. Did he also dance like no one was watching? Ask him at the November 30 artist talk. Through January 29. CSN Artspace Gallery, free,


November 19

Better in What Way? Better for Whom?

In the text works included in I Was Happy Then — handwritten phrases laboriously repeated — Krystal Ramirez presents “unfinished thoughts” about the notion, so prevalent and often politically charged, that the U.S. “enjoyed better times in its past.” Through February 2. Whitney Library, free,


December 6

Good Rat Art

Every year the City of Las Vegas invites selected artists to make work examining Chinese heritage, this year gathered in Year of the Rat Exhibition. Look for pieces that recontextualize the rodent and its signifiers in ways that celebrate Chinese tradition. Reception: January 24. Through February 15. Historic Fifth Street School, free,


December 13

On the Unity of Opposites

Let’s skip the blurby razzmatazz and let artist Miya Hannan — now a professor at UNR, previously a medical worker in her native Japan — tell us what her show Buried Relations is about: “I was a scientist in a country with many superstitions, which gave me the ability to perceive the world from two contrasting perspectives. In my artwork, I am interested in creating the unity of opposites that constitutes our world. Scientific and nonscientific, silent and communicative, still and active — these are the dichotomies that inform my work.” Through February 22. CSN Fine Arts Gallery, free,




Scott Dickensheets is a Las Vegas writer and editor whose trenchant observations about local culture have graced the pages of publications nationwide.