BLACK FRIDAY ALTERNATIVES: ART FRIDAY
Happy Thanksgiving! You know what I'm going to discuss today: An alternative to the shopping tsunami known as Black Friday wherein most of the population descends on malls and big-box stores for big deals. I concede that some of them are specific to Nov. 25 only, but many aren't. So, how about an artistic field trip to extend Thursday's warm and fuzzy feelings? Art museums are always a good idea, though you should double-check holiday hours, and all of those in our region have excellent special exhibitions right now. Here are examples.
CELEBRATE THE TEACHERS
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art shows off the work of St. Petersburg College's visual arts faculty gathered from its multiple campuses and on view at the museum on the Tarpon Springs campus, 600 E Klosterman Road. You'll also find a trove of work from its permanent collection by Abraham Rattner, who never became as widely known and celebrated as his Parisian pals, such as Pablo Picasso. But this museum gives Rattner his due as an artist. (727) 712-5762. leeparattner.org.
MEET HERB SNITZER
Herb Snitzer has explored many subjects and styles during his 50-plus years as a photographer, but he will be enduringly famous for his portfolio of jazz musicians. He was at jazz's epicenter beginning in the late 1950s, soon after he graduated from college, and photographed all the greats, such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk (pictured), Duke Ellington and Count Basie. In many cases, he also became friends with his subjects. Snitzer will be guest speaker at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, for its monthly Fourth Friday lecture series Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. His talk begins at 6 p.m. and you can be sure he will have terrific anecdotes to share. Admission is pay as you choose. (813) 221-2222. fmopa.org.
SEE JACK BARRETT
The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE, has a plethora of special exhibitions in addition to its permanent collection. Among them is a gem celebrating the late Jack Barrett, self- portrait above. Its title, "People Watching," acknowledges his fascination with his fellow human beings. He is known for his vibrant figurative paintings, but they were all built on a solid core of draftsmanship. The notebooks he filled with sketches of people he randomly encountered are marvels. Barrett, who died in 2008, was not just a people watcher. He was a great friend, loved and admired by many, including me. And, I must disclose, I bought one of his paintings, which is among my favorites. $17 for adults. (727) 896-2667. mfastpete.org.
MORE THAN RIBBONS
Anne Patterson's Pathless Woods is a stunning installation created with almost 24 miles of satin ribbon that visitors walk through at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. See more of her work at Alfstad& Contemporary, a gallery at 1419 Fifth St., Sarasota. There you will see smaller iterations of her ribbons, as well as sculptural works in other materials such as wire. She paints, too!
Back to the Ringling, Patterson's installation was commissioned as part of the full-time dedication of gallery space to the Ringling's collection of modern and contemporary art. The Art of Our Time initiative has been the work of Ringling curator Matthew McLendon and has increased the museum's holdings in those areas substantially. See some of the new acquisitions in the galleries. Adult admission, which includes the historic mansion Ca d'Zan and the circus museum, is $25. (941) 359-7400. ringling.org.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
The Tampa Museum of Art, in fact, has four fabulous exhibitions that you could easily spend hours enjoying. The biggest one is "Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum" with more than 100 works that explore the idea of the self-taught artist. Most intriguing is "Complicated Beauty: Contemporary Cuban Art," which introduces the ambivalence the artists feel about the country, whether they stay or go. $15 for adults. (813) 274-8130. tampamuseum.org.
Saturday is the last one for "Ferran Adrià: The Invention of Food" at the Dalí Museum, 1 Dalí Blvd., St. Petersburg. It can't compete on an aesthetic level with the grand permanent collection devoted to the great 20th-century Spanish painter, but it's interesting and fun. Adrià is considered one of the greatest chefs in the world and this show, consisting of snazzy visual displays, chronicles the avant-garde cuisine he served at his groundbreaking restaurant, elBulli, before he closed it. Adult admission is $24. (727) 823-3767. thedali.org.