This is usually the time of year that visual arts events in the Phoenix area come to a crescendo just before the summer doldrums set in. Consequently, there’s lots going on at the museums and galleries and at outdoor events — a kind of full bloom of art, before heat withers the petals.
I get around to what shows I can; here are a few I’ve seen recently, along with a preview of a community art event that promises to be a pre-summer blast.
— Casebeer at Tilt Gallery, Scottsdale.
Tilt was drawing quite a crowd when I stopped by during Thursday’s art walk. It wasn’t hard to see that the reason was the wall-length, word-filled painting by this month’s artist, Casebeer. The hand-painted words are snippets of conversation collected by the artist, both humorous and depressing and presented as a kind of stream of consciousness. On other walls, Casebeer is showing some wonderful mixed media collages. The work is up for the month of April.
— Steven DaLuz at Marshall / LeKAE Gallery, Scottsdale.
DaLuz’s abstract paintings are an example of an artist in command of his materials, which in his case includes hardboard, metal leafs, chemical patinas and oil paint — all brought together in rich tones of gold and red and evoking dream-like landscapes. The artist calls his style “Neo-Luminist.” Take a close look to see the layers, then step back and try to interpret the seven paintings. Or just enjoy.
— “MashUP: New Video Art” at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
I’m suggesting this show as a date night, and if you pick a Thursday you can get into the museum free until 9 p.m. Why take a significant other? You can get cozy in the chairs and loveseats provided in the darkened gallery and enjoy up to an hour of comical and visually arresting videos. Comical, mostly — I’m talkin’ cats playing the piano, as in Cory Arcangel’s “Drei Klavierstucke: Op. 11,” an amalgamation of dozens of cat videos, with the actual sounds of paws on ivory spliced together to reproduce the musical work. Also a hoot is Christian Marclay’s “Telephone,” a gleeful bit of video editing mashing together movie clips wherein actors are on the telephone. Yes, of course, there’s a Barbara Stanwyck clip! Best of all is “Hold Me Now” by Michael Robinson, in which a poignant scene from the old TV series “Little House on the Prairie” plays out against a techno version of the Thompson Twins hit. I won’t give any more away. See the show by May 19, 2013.
— Tempe Festival of the Arts, Mill Avenue.
I visited the art and crafts fair today for the first time in several years, only this time without the kids — so no one was screaming for a balloon hat. It’s much the same and enjoyable if you like strolling by the booths and purchasing affordable art wares and assorted knickknacks. I restrained myself from purchasing a chunky ceramic tortilla warmer or a saguaro shaped from bright green glass. Oops — didn’t mean to be snarky. The fair continues until 6 p.m. Sunday, April 7.
— “Feast on the Street,” coming Saturday, April 13.
OK, this is where you mark your calendar. “Feast on the Street” will turn a half-mile length of First Street in downtown Phoenix into a community table celebrating local foods and local art. “Hello, Restaurant Phoenix? Table for a couple of thousand, please.”
Why am I so enthused? “Feast on the Street” is a project of Roosevelt Row and the Arizona State University Art Museum, with the proceedings being masterminded by our own Matthew Moore and British activist Clare Patey, the force behind the annual “Feast on the Bridge” in London. Expect good food, good libations, good cheer — Arizona style. There will be a community salad toss, food demonstrations, music, a mobile garden parade and storytelling. Admission is free, with festivities from 2 to 9 p.m. Go to the website to RSVP for dinner.