With more than a hundred galleries, museums, art spaces and local retail stores packed within a five-mile radius, First Friday Artwalks in Downtown Phoenix can feel more like a marathon if you’re trying to see everything. We’ve whittled down our First Friday must-see list to three eye-opening exhibits:
Hugo Medina’s solo exhibit “Hands” at Olney Gallery at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral - The works of Medina have earned the well-known muralist a nomination for a 2016 Governor’s Art Award. His method of combining direct painting with a monochrome technique called grisaille creates the illusion of sculpture on canvas. Human hands were Medina’s muses for the paintings in this exhibition. “I believe a person’s hands shows how they lived, what a person lived through, the individual’s experiences,” Medina says. A free opening reception takes place 6-9 p.m. February 5. The exhibit is on display until February 25. Visit azcathedral.org for more information.
“Endless Line: 3-D Printed Work by Kevin Caron” at Walter Art Gallery – OK, so Walter Art Gallery is in Scottsdale, which means it’s technically not part of the Downtown Phoenix Artwalk. But since this show was curated by one of the most well-known names in Downtown Phoenix arts and arts criticism, Robrt Pela via his R. Pela Contemporary Art brand, and since the large-scale sculptures of Kevin Caron are never anything less than stunning, we’ll pretend the free opening reception at 6 p.m. February 5 for this display of full-scale sculptures and jewelry created using a 3D printer is “on the way.” The exhibition is open until February 26. Visit rpelagallery.com for more information.
“(Un)Intended Targets” at Phoenix Art Museum – Photographic artist William LeGoullon’s work explores Arizona’s love affair with firearms through a series of works that capture objects left behind after being used for target practice by recreational shooters. In his exhibition statement, LeGoullon states, “I examine a thread within the fabric of American culture where firearms traditionally orchestrate dominance not only over opposing human forces, but geographic as well. This pursuit of dominance continues today as a perplexing narrative yielding disregard for land while simultaneously providing opportunity for strangely seductive amusement, and even, arguably, a reason to affiliate with nature, for better or for worse.” A free opening reception for the exhibition, which runs through February 13, takes place from 6-10 p.m. February 5. Visit williamlegoullon.com or phxart.org for more information.
#2: Four Chambers Press-approved literary events and readings, multiple days
The Phoenix-based bards behind Four Chambers Press have their hands in readings at various venues this week, starting with a recurring storytelling event of short fiction called “Spillers.” Tonight's event features six scribes including Patrick Michael Finn (whose short story collection “From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet” won the 2008 Hudson Prize) and Troy Farah, a regular contributor to “Phoenix New Times” and “Vice” magazine. Free, 8 p.m. February 1 at Crescent Ballroom in Downtown Phoenix. spillers.net
The following night, South Korean poet Kim Kyung Ju reads selections from his collection “I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World,” with translation by Jake Levine. This reading is a stop along the poet’s first-ever U.S. tour. Free, 6:30 p.m. February 2 at Valley Bar in Downtown Phoenix. Fourchamberspress.com/kki
Finishing the trinity is National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and acclaimed author of books including “How to Be Drawn,” “Lighthead” (NBA recipient in 2010 for poetry) and “Hip Logic” (winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series). The event is brought to the Valley by the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Free, 7 p.m. February 5 at Phoenix Art Museum.
“Gypsy swing” music is a thing, thanks in part to husband-and-wife duo Frazz and Carrie Sangiovanni, who blend American folk, Big Band and French jazz music with their superb vocal harmonies to transport listeners to off-the-beaten paths around the globe. Their romance story soundtracks will undoubtedly be aurally awesome in the acoustically-perfect MIM Music Theatre. $28.50-$38.50, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4. Mim.org
#4: Pretty Things Peep Show at Phoenix Center for the Arts, Feb. 2
Burlesque meets bawdy puppet shows and death-defying slight-of-hand in this touring act, which also includes sword-swallowing, knife-throwing, whip-cracking, fire-eating, and lots of stuff “a go-go.” $15, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Phoenixcenterforthearts.org
#5: Arizona Filmmaker Showcase at FilmBar, Feb. 4
FilmBar’s monthly showcase of homegrown cinematic talent in February features four flicks: the revenge thriller “C-Bar,” about a cowboy with a mysterious past; romantic drama “Tobi & Matt”; “Monsoon II,” which shows the 2015 monsoons in Phoenix over the course of 48 days in a time-lapse; and horror film “They Come Knocking,” about an evil entity that traumatizes a mother and her daughter. $9, 8 p.m. February 4 at FilmBar in Phoenix. thefilmbarphx.com
About the main image: “Trumpet Hands” by Hugo Medina
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