What do you get the art enthusiast who has everything? How about a captivating explosion of backcountry colors from Western impressionist Louisa McElwain? Or a lifelike bronze rodeo bull by sculptor Richard Loffler? Such are a few of the rugged treasures one might bag, tag and take home at West Select, an annual exhibition and art sale that runs through December 31 at the Phoenix Art Museum. Shepherding the work of 33 top contemporary artists into one sensuous stampede, the exhibition reveals an American West unsullied by industrial creep and city-slicker routine. Hey, beats another bottle of cologne. Adult tickets, $15. For more information, visit mensartscouncil.com.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Master framer Richard Laugharn pays the bills by creating hand-milled, custom-finished wood frames for A-list art halls, including the Phoenix Art Museum and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. But his true passion is for framing amateur or “vernacular” photographs.
Jossy Lownes remembers painting with her aunt as a child in Rhode Island. But it wasn’t until she was in her forties that she embarked on a career as an artist. “I never gave up on wanting to be an artist, but sometimes life takes you in different directions,” says Lownes, who returned to the canvas after stints as a schoolteacher and real estate agent.
From activist pop art to contemporary graffiti basketry, the latest crop of Native American art in Arizona is outgrowing stereotypes.
“Where’s the horses?”
As Thomas Greyeyes hangs his paintings on the wall of Vida E Caffe in Globe, he answers the confused older lady’s question with as much diplomacy as the 23-year-old Navajo artist can muster, considering he’s been answering questions like this for years.
Remember when late-night TV legend Johnny Carson took extended breaks from The Tonight Show, leaving a revolving cast of guest-hosts (Bob Newhart, David Letterman, Joan Rivers) to crack jokes in his stead? The 2012-2013 season at the Phoenix Symphony will be kind of like that. Officially, outgoing music director Michael Christie is still in charge, but the 38-year-old maestro will be frequently MIA this year as he gets new tuxedo tails measured at the Minnesota Opera.
ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Last March, Fred Tieken unveiled his wily vision of the First Friday art walk scene with “Buzzz,” a 126-foot-long mural at 124 W. McDowell Road. The creation features more than 50 characters, including the usual First Friday suspects – cops, a fire-breather, mohawked teens, and an assortment of art-scene regulars. “It’s a cross-section of a certain lifestyle that most people in Arizona don’t know exists,” Tieken says.