Kudos to downtown Scottsdale for shaking off the summer doldrums this weekend and reemerging as a great place to see visual art.
November 7-10, 2013, was the city’s second annual Fall for the Arts, a chance for the more than 100 galleries in the vicinity of Main Street and Marshall Way to open their doors to locals and tourists alike. I missed seeing the crowds on Saturday morning during the “Paint Out Auction,” during which artists quickly created works on the spot and then let spectators bid on them. Things were quieter on Saturday afternoon, allowing a more leisurely stroll into several galleries.
The Marshall Gallery currently has painter Alvin Gill-Tapia’s brilliantly colored studies of adobes and vigas. The Bonner David Galleries are showcasing painter Max Hammond, and Tilt Gallery is presenting abstract works by David Oklahoma. At the Lisa Sette Gallery, the Mark Klett retrospective is outstanding, and Method Art is featuring a number of local artists, including Terry Pisel and Geoffrey Gersten. New to Main Street is Altamira Fine Art (also located in Jackson, WY), which happened to be showing two of my favorite painters, Dan Namingha and Fritz Scholder.
Of course, there’s much more to please the eye on any stroll through the Scottsdale art district, and here’s my chance to remind readers of the two first-class exhibitions at the nearby Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art this fall. Taking over two galleries is the interactive experience of Julianne Swartz’s “How Deep is Your” (see my capsule review in Visual Art Source), and in a quieter space is the work of seven highly esteemed Japanese contemporary artists in an exhibition called “Narrow Road to the Interior,” after a famous haiku. Be sure to take your shoes off and enjoy a meditative moment in the Masao Yamamoto teahouse installation.
I suppose, though, that the real hot ticket this past weekend must have been Canal Convergence on the banks of the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront. The water was graced by 300 lighted miniature boats as part of an Aether & Hemera installation called “Voyage.” I don’t think I’ve seen so many DSLRs and tripods since my last visit to the Grand Canyon. Festive and serene at the same time, the installation (darn!) only lasts through November 18.
Other works of site-specific art joined the mix over the weekend, and the presence of the Artisan Market tents, live music, food trucks, and patio dining at nearby restaurants altogether turned downtown Scottsdale into a pretty happenin’ spot.