Monday, September 8, 2008

Looking to our neighbors for dialogue and inspiration

It would be difficult to imagine someone with a keen interest in the arts who lived in St. Louis any length of time without making the trek to Chicago.

That drive is printed on my eyeballs from five years of rock and roll road trips, though I couldn't have told you the mileage until I ran into Michael Behle and Greg Edmondson at The Tap Room last week.

Officially, the mileage count is 306.

That magic number names a new art show, three hundred six, that Behle co-curated with Stacie Johnson (from, you guessed it, Chicago), which groups work by eight Chicago artists with work by eight St. Louis artists (including, you guessed it, Edmondson).

It opens Friday, Sept. 12 at Hoffman LaChance, 3100 Sutton in Maplewood. That's 306 opening on 9/12. Lot's of magical math - multiples of threes - going on in there.

Here's what Stacie Johnson says about the show on the Hoffman LaChance site:

"After meeting two years ago at a residency in Vermont, Michael Behle and I have had an ongoing discussion about contemporary art while also comparing our scenes in Chicago and St. Louis. The proposed exhibition will extrapolate on this conversation."

She reveals that the magic number of 306 was provided by MapQuest, crunching the distance between the residences of the two curators.

"We both work primarily in painting yet dabble in sculpture, so the work chosen tends to elaborate on an artistic viewpoint interested in tensions between 2D/3D, as well as narrative/formal. We hope the show offers an opportunity to consider a 'Midwestern aesthetic,' and also invigorates a desire to look to our neighbors rather than the coasts for inspiration and dialogue."

Let's hear that again.

"We hope the show ... invigorates a desire to look to our neighbors rather than the coasts for inspiration and dialogue."

I'll drink to that - and so can you, at the open bar (I'm guessing at this, from past experience) known to invigorate art openings everywhere. Though, if I make the scene at all it will be a quickie, since the great Oliver Jackson is showing across town that night.

Roll call. From Chicago:

Carmen Price
Loo Bain
Liz Nielson
Will Staples
Caleb Lyons
Ben Stone
And from Saint Louis:

Elizabeth Ferry
Jason Hoeing
B.J. Vogt
Heather Corley
Jesse Thomas
Nosey Parker (Brett Williams and Robert Goetz)

Sorry, I sort of randomly searched for a few artist sites to link to without any attempt to be thorough. The image is poached from Behle's website, though he and his co-curator seem to have modestly left themselves out of the pictures on this one.

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