07/21/16 Visual Arts
Peter Max had a real moment, an important moment, in art. In the 1960s, he, perhaps more than any other artist, addressed the counterculture zeitgeist on a level that resonated with a much broader population than that of the love-and-peace movement.
His interpretation of pop art, which he fused with psychedelic imagery, seemed so fresh and original. Most of all, during such a turbulent time in America's history, it was positive and uplifting rather than threatening. His posters adorned walkups in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the epicenter of hippiedom, as well as fraternity houses and dorm rooms. He did one for National Library Week in 1969. That's as mainstream as you can get, and yet he didn't compromise his vision, using a book as a portal into a place of creativity....
07/20/16 Visual Arts
SIGHT AND SOUND: YA LA'FORD AT CHIHULY COLLECTION
Ya La'ford's murals have become increasingly immersive, full-on installations. Give her a space and she will cover every square inch with mysterious linear or geometric patterns that make viewers feel as if they have entered either an ancient Mayan temple or an alien starship.
A new interactive work at the Chihuly Collection, 400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, will include her signature "labyrinths," enhanced with LED lighting and a sound component, which should further the sense of being in another dimension. Grounding it all will be recorded readings by Helen Pruitt Wallace, St. Petersburg's poet laureate. ...
07/13/16 Visual Arts
COOL ART SHOW: IT REALLY IS COOL
Its name would be a cruel joke in this summer of our sweltering discontent if not for its literalness: The Cool Art Show is air-conditioned! For almost 30 years, the event, organized by the Professional Association of Visual Artists, has been parked in the St. Petersburg Coliseum, a necessary departure from most art festivals, which are held outside in more temperate weather. Also unlike most, rain can't dampen it. It's intimate, with 75 artists and crafters displaying their work so you can navigate all the booths without getting visual overload. ...
07/06/16 Visual Arts
BIG DEAL: CHIHULY COLLECTION DISCOUNT
Happy sixth anniversary, Chihuly Collection! The gallery is a colorful spot in downtown St. Petersburg, filled with the luminous vessels and multipiece installations of studio glass rock star Dale Chihuly. And at the gallery entrance on Beach Drive, its rose-colored sculpture that looks like a giant stick of rock candy has been a beacon. The interior is filled with examples of Chihuly's work such as the large orbs and the glass "garden," Persian ceiling and chandeliers composed of hundreds of pieces. ...
Sounds of Japanese and Indian drumming filled the air. Hundreds of guests sampled tea and watched karate demonstrations and dancers swirling in colorful costumes.
But one person did not attend the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art's community festival in May, celebrating the opening of the Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art.
Helga Wall-Apelt. ...
06/27/16 Visual Arts
HORST AT THE DALÍ: HAUTE PHOTOGRAPHY
Horst P. Horst (1906-99) was a giant of 20th century photography, best known for his high-fashion photos and portraits of famous people and their homes. "Horst: Photography — Fashion and Surrealism" at the Dalí Museum is an expansive look at his 60-year career that was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. ...
06/23/16 Visual Arts
The Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art is a big name for a big project at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
It opened grandly in May with galleries for its permanent collection and notable loans — a study area that will serve both visiting scholars and a new Asian arts program for students at Florida State University, which owns the museum, and a lecture room that can accommodate an audience of 125. ...
06/22/16 Visual Arts
SHOW-STOPPING: NORMA KAMALI
Designer Norma Kamali is a living legend. The overall arc of her career has been to thrive in the brutal world of fashion fickleness on her own terms. Creating great clothes is important, but Kamali has created trends over the years. A 1980 collection based on a sweatshirt was way outside the fashion box. It was a smash hit and was one of the leading examples of the trend to more casual dressing. Her bathing suits have been worn by celebrities through the decades, from Farrah Fawcett in that famous red number in the 1970s to Beyoncé today. Her contributions have been honored many times, most recently by the CFDA, the preeminent fashion industry association, with a lifetime achievement award....
06/16/16 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Looking for spectacular? Philanthropists Tom and Mary James are bringing it to downtown with a new museum that will make a commanding architectural statement and be filled with works from their vast art collection.
Plans for the grand project came one step closer to reality Thursday when the Jameses revealed their vision and never-before-seen details to St. Petersburg's City Council. The $55 million Tom and Mary James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art will be at 100 Central Ave. Their desire, said Tom James, executive chairman of Raymond James Financial, "is to create a real arts destination in St. Pete with another high-quality museum."...
06/15/16 Visual Arts
PETER MAX: 50 COSMIC YEARS
Peter Max was the visual voice for the Age of Aquarius, the era of the 1960s and 1970s which saw the rise of Pop culture and him as one its most famous interpreters. "Peter Max: 50 Years of Cosmic Dreaming" now open at the Tampa Museum of Art covers those years and subsequent ones with 90 career-spanning paintings and prints. His signature style during his early years, sometimes described as psychedelic, used bright colors and clearly delineated but exaggerated figures. He still uses vibrant colors but now much of his work is less graphic, more brush-stroked. Through the years, he has been commissioned for designs large and small, from a postage stamp to a jumbo jet. The show continues through Sept. 10....
06/15/16 Visual Arts
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is busy reinventing itself.
The most recent manifestation of that new direction is "Experience Cuba," which opens today with several components, the starring one a portfolio of Clyde Butcher photographs.
The strategy for several years has been to bring in temporary exhibitions such as this one. The practice is common in museums, even in many of the greatest ones, and generates ongoing interest and feeds the public's hunger for something different. ...
06/08/16 Visual Arts
LAST CALL: DISNEY AND DALÍ
Procrastinate no more if you want to experience "Disney and Dalí: Architects of the Imagination" at the Dalí Museum because it ends Sunday. And it is an experiential show, part art, part history. It tells the stories of two creative geniuses, Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, as they developed their parallel careers that intersected in collaborations and friendship and when each had become famous....
06/01/16 Visual Arts
TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER: GOLDEN STANDARD
Almost every person I asked recently replied affirmatively to reading Little Golden Books as children and then, if applicable, reading them to their children. Since 1942, the series has been a beloved staple of children's literature with more than two billion reportedly sold. Its first books were 25 cents; today they're still inexpensive, most selling for a few dollars. ...
05/25/16 Visual Arts
THE RINGLING: TWO SMALL BUT GOOD SHOWS
Art museumgoers sometimes overlook another museum on the John and Mable Ringling grounds: The Circus Museum and Tibbals Learning Center (included in admission) houses an extensive collection of circus memorabilia, including the personal train car used by the Ringlings when they traveled with the circus. The learning center features an extraordinary scale model of a circus with about a million pieces, built by philanthropist Howard Tibbals. Those are on view all the time, but the Circus Museum also features changing exhibitions. On view through June 20 is "Cirque/Cyrk/Cirkus: Circus Posters Across Europe." They advertise circuses throughout Europe during the 20th century and some have the quirkiness reflective of their regions. ...
05/19/16 Visual Arts
We associate mandalas, especially the Buddhist sand ones, with ritual and serenity, created slowly with solemn ceremony.
Paula Brett's version relies more on chaos theory and the clash of shopping carts.
Using a $3,000 grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the artist and her helpers have spent recent Saturdays whizzing them around vacant big box store parking lots in the predawn hours to form large mandalas. Yes, she does it with the permission of the stores; this is art, not a flash mob....