Month: June 2014

Animation and Illustration at the Frist

No U.S. city can compete with the museums of Manhattan, but this summer, Frist Center for Visual Arts has you covered with two exhibitions you do not want to miss.

Through September 1, Watch Me Move: The Animation Show features over 100 animated works that span the past 120 years of production history.  Because the works are grouped thematically rather than chronologically, viewers are treated to fun juxtapositions like the Lumiere brothers’ The Dancing Skeleton (1897) and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony: Skeleton Dance (1929). The smart pairing shows just how quickly animation developed in the first decades of the 20th century.

There’s plenty for everyone, and I was delighted to see a few children intently studying unexpected films. But they’re not allowed everywhere. This marvelous film by Jan Svankmajer uses clay not only as the medium but incorporates it into the narrative as well.

Give yourself an entire afternoon to wander through this terrific exhibit, but be warned: it does cause a trance-like state. You’ll snap out of it soon when you enter The Elements of Style, Maira Kalman’s playful, quirky, brilliant illustrations of Strunk and White’s classic style guide.  Originally written by Strunk in 1919 and privately published, E.B. White was asked to revise it for general trade in 1957. The newest incantation includes the illustrations of Maira Kalman, showing at the museum through August. The book, beloved by English majors everywhere, is disarmingly witty as the authors prove the most glaring grammar and style faux pas to be painfully obvious. (“Do not dress up words by adding -ly to them, as if putting a hat on a horse.”) Kalman’s drawings are uncomplicated by their whimsy (not an easy task), illustrating single lines–or even single words–from the book. (“Opinions scattered indiscriminately about leave the mark of egotism on a work.“)

Read Laura Hutson’s review of the show here. Image

Caption reads: “Well Susan, this is a fine mess you are in.”

The Frist is located at 919 Broadway. Get the parking validation at the admission counter. $10.

Your Weekend: Roller Derby!

Roller derby is the sport for people who hate sports. Catch the Nashville Roller Girls in a match with Bleeding Heartlands of Bloomington, IN at Metro Nashville Municipal Auditorium (417 4th Ave. N) Saturday at 4:30.  It will be a double header featuring The Music City Brawl Stars at 5:30 p.m. and The Music City All Stars at 7:15 pm!

Tickets are $15 at the door, or get them for $10 from one of their ticket vendors – Asphalt Beach SkateshopBen Jerry VandyFleet Street Pub, All Season Gardening and Brewing Supply.

When you’re still high off the action Sunday morning, check out Derby 101 at 10:00 a.m. at the same place. It’s free. Derby wannabes who know how to skate can use the team’s equipment and they’ll begin your training. Wannabes who can’t skate should still go and check it to find out how to learn.

roller derby


Know before you go: study up on roller derby rules here and here.

Friday’s Movie Night

Friday, June 13th at 9:30, see Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best! at Belcourt, followed by a post-screening discussion with Jennifer Fay, professor of film studies and director of the film studies program at Vanderbilt. It tells the story of three tweens in ’80s Stockholm who form a punk band. The film is based off of a graphic novel by Moodysson’s wife. Critics are dizzy with praise over it. Here’s the trailer!

June Art Crawlin’

I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I rarely went to art galleries and shows in New York. Feeling characteristically like I wasn’t good enough (or something), I felt it was worlds away from the cafes in which I brooded and read, brooded and read. No more, not here!  While this may be an unusual sign of maturity in me, I attribute it more to my feeling that Nashville’s art scene is wonderfully unpretentious. I find that people are approachable and excited about what they see and what they’re doing.

If you haven’t made it to Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl yet, this is your chance. Saturday June 7, Nashvillians take to the galleries and warehouses to sample the latest from artists of Nashville and beyond. This month’s art crawl is extra special because it is preceded by the Porter Flea, a huge flea market in the gargantuan Track One at 4th Ave and Chestnut where you’ll find handmade goods and wares. (Also, there will be food trucks!) If you were sad that you missed Kelli Shay Hix’s exhibit at 444 Humphreys, go see her at the flea and buy some of her paper craft.

The Scene’s got the low down on the crawl here. I’ll add that 40AU in the arcade downtown is showing work by Miranda Herrick that looks terrific. Curator Megan Kelley writes, “With roots in the traditions and practices of textile work, Herrick questions the necessity of using pre-packaged ‘artist materials’ when confronted by the inherent creative potential and overabundant availability of what society commonly views as ‘waste.'”

Work by Miranda Herrick. Photo credit: Customs House Museum and Cultural Center

Work by Miranda Herrick. Photo credit: Customs House Museum and Cultural Center

Herrick will be also be leading a group workshop at Turnip Green Creative Reuse on Monday, June 16th, from 10 to noon, focusing on reclaimed materials as a source of creativity and exploration.

Nashville has two art crawls–one is downtown (6:00 – 9:00); one is inWedgewood-Houston (5:30-9:00), a neighborhood south of downtown (and my home hood!) See you out and about!

Coming soon to NYCnash: Confessions of a Northerner and my travels in East Tennessee.




Light, Paper, Sound

Friday night, 444 Humphreys Pop Up and Galleries closed out the most serene installation I’ve experienced in a long time. Saying “experienced” sounds both stylistically bad and hoaky, but Kelli Shay Hix and Josh Gumiela’s collaboration is seen, heard, and felt.

On the first Saturday of each month for Arts and Music at Wedgewood-Houston, 444 Humphreys’ front room is crowded with art crawlers. While  I love the energy of the crawls in my neighborhood each month, it’s impossible to step back and let the exhibit shape my experience. I attended the show’s closing rather than opening, and I’m so glad I did.

The room is dark but for a bit of streetlight from outside, and a beam of light slowly creeps across the wall, revealing Kelli Shay Hix’s paper cut shapes. Some have a natural curve, like curling leaves, while others meet at hard angles. Each is mirrored by its shadow, which is just as impressive as the intricate paper cutting itself. The light moves along the wall, revealing another shape and its shadow. Gumiela’s ambient music lends an underwater feeling, as if its coming from the air itself. It kind of is—rather than using speakers, he opted for exciters—silver-dollar-sized discs mounted to the windows that vibrate, adding harmonic content and an otherworldly sound.


Photo by Tony Youngblood

Kelli Shay Hix is an artist and crafter. Her company Odilon Arts creates and sells paper craft that is inspired, she writes, “by walks in alleys, in the streets, and in nature.” Josh Gumiela is a new media artist who works with sound and light. He’s moving to Minnesota soon, but keep an eye out for him on the international stage. He also has a beautiful website.


Photo by Tony Youngblood

–Erica Ciccarone