Art Crawl

Art Crawl Weekend

There will be tons to see Saturday night, and Joe Nolan has all details in the Scene. Here’s what I’m most excited about:

Sherrick and Paul: Katy Grannan, “The Ninety-nine” and “The Nine”

Katy Grannan. Anonymous, Modesto, CA, 2012; pigment print, 40-3/4 x 31-1/4 inches (framed) or 57-3/4 x 43-3/4 inches (framed). Image courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.

Katy Grannan. Anonymous, Modesto, CA, 2012; pigment print, 40-3/4 x 31-1/4 inches (framed) or 57-3/4 x 43-3/4 inches (framed). Image courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.

No one else in Nashville but Susan Sherrick would bring Grannan’s photographs of the parched Central Valley, California landscape and its crestfallen but immeasurably gritty inhabitants. You might know Modesto as George Lucas’ hometown or the setting of his 1973 film American Graffiti. Its city slogan is “Water Wealth Contentment Health,” which becomes sadly ironic when you learn that the area gets just 13 inches of rainfall a year, and in 2012, the unemployment rate was 13% while the rest of the U.S. averaged 8.5%. This paradoxical backdrop is Grannan’s landscape. She’s lived in Modesto and got to know her subjects, some of whom she photographed for years. Jerry Saltz said in NY Magazine, “Grannan’s sun-bleached images depict the timeworn American dream of going West and reinventing oneself. Only here the dreams have turned out to be too big, or America too small, or nature too relentless, and they haven’t worked out.” What’s interesting about Grannan’s perspective is that she doesn’t seem to exploit her subjects for their vulnerability the way I feel many photographers do. She creates a subjective gaze that is as telling as it is mythological. Don’t miss this show. And let’s all carry Susan Sherrick around Nashville on our shoulders cause the girl is bringing it.

Channel to Channel: Amanda Brown and KJ Schumacher in “Skins”

If you haven’t been up to Dustin Hedrick’s studio and gallery, this is your chance. Hedrick has a lot going on in the old hosiery mill on Chestnut Street. He hosts a Drink n Draw every Wednesday and will be opening his third show Saturday night. Last month, recent APSU graduate Alexander Wurst sold 6 out of 8 of his paintings in his solo show, and Robert Scobey didn’t fare badly the month before. I feel like between Sherrick and Hedrick, we get exciting contemporary art through completely different means — both are necessary for a vital and progressive art scene. Saturday, Channel to Channel will show work by Amanda Brown and KJ Schumacher. Brown is a Ground Floor Gallery artist whose acrylic crowd paintings are rightfully popular, but this show will feature collage, and I’m looking forward to seeing her work in this medium. She is joined by Schumacher, whose work I liked in “The Artist’s Alphabet,” an exhibition at Ground Floor curated by Jodi Hays just months ago. His tape over photograph work peeks into the city streets of Berlin through photos that are overlapped with brightly colored tape. I love the way his work makes me pay attention to negative space. Channel to Channel is on the second floor of Chestnut Square. Just follow the signs.

Dustin Hedrick installs "Skins," an exhibition of collage work by Amanda Brown and KJ Schumacher.

Dustin Hedrick installs “Skins,” an exhibition of collage work by Amanda Brown and KJ Schumacher, on view Saturday at Channel to Channel. 

Zeitgeist: Bunny Burson “Hidden in Plain Sight” and Patrick DeGuira (with Willie Stewart) “Past Life Memories”

Both Burson and DeGuira use text, Burson more literally in her work inspired by letters found in the attic of her family home written by her Jewish grandparents as they escaped Germany during WWII. “Hidden in Plain Sight” will show her work on mylar, vellum, paper, and aluminum. DeGuira’s work will explore the many selves we all inhabit — the past, the present, and the future. Zeitgeist’s statement on the exhibition includes the following phrases: transferable memories, time jumping, mirroring, re-incarnation. Reason enough to check it out, plus DeGuira is one of Nashville’s best.

WAG: Watkins senior photography students present “in Living,” curated by Christine Rogers

In the arcade, WAG will show senior work from photography students, curated by the very cool Christine Rogers who did List Making Exercises for Nashville earlier this year. “in Living” will include photography by Rebecca Lindley, Upreyl Mitchell, Joe Nunez, Alanna Styer, and Laura Whitfield. I’m continually impressed by Watkins students, and I’m hoping more will stick around after graduation.

Watkins Art Gallery (WAG) shows senior photography students in "in Living."

Watkins Art Gallery (WAG) shows senior photography students in “in Living.”

Those are my faves. There’s plenty more out there, so crawl away!

Weird and Wonderful at The Arts Company

Aggie Zed, puppetman-rabbits; ceramic.

Aggie Zed, “puppetman-rabbits”; ceramic.

Fictions: that’s one word Aggie Zed uses to describe her artworks, many of which will show at The Arts Company in “Rollick and Roll,” which opens Saturday. Her materials are varied: pastels, copper wires, soldered metal scraps, clay, gears, and wheels. Her paintings often have a mis-en-scene quality about them; with titles like “they are not using my boat” and “we are advancing you as our candidate,” they indeed tell a story, a fiction that is both humorous and charged with truth. Her scrap float sculptures are stunning and intricate with a steam punk flair, but retain that same quality of an age-old story that has yet to fully unfold.

Aggie Zed, walk to water,

Aggie Zed, “walk to water”; ceramic, mixed metals. 

we are advancing you

Aggie Zed, “we are advancing you as our candidate“; pastel, ink, acrylic on paper.

Manifested in these sometimes crude, other times intricate figures is a desire to be something more, to achieve something fantastic. The characters in her world commit blunders, she says, much like we do. Zed treats these with a tenderness that borders on the sacral. She’s also a true hippie, noting emotionally that her work is also about the misuse of technology, the planet, and natural resources and our history of using these things to destroy, rather than to create.

Aggie Zed’s exhibition will be up for Saturday’s art crawl and through October 24. The Arts Company is located at 215 5th Ave. N. in downtown Nashville. Check out the video below to meet the artist. 

Gallery Visit: Heidi Martin Kuster at Ground Floor Gallery

2012-01-01 03.32.22Thursday, Ground Floor Gallery opened its doors for its very own Heidi Martin Kuster. In her exhibit Rock, Paper, Plastic, she looks back and forward, anchored in her geological interest. This is a great exhibit on a conceptual and aesthetic level that you should definitely check out. It will be up all month. Ground Floor is also an open studio, and the artists renting space from owner Janet Decker Yanez are multiplying. (I think they’re up to seven, and the huge space buzzes with great vibes.) They’ll be open Saturday night and keep regular hours, so drop by. 

2012-01-01 03.52.16The show’s title, Rock, Paper, Plastic, reveals the artist’s conceptual framework. Kuster borrows the phrasing from the popular childhood game in order to “step back, be present and look forward.” But unlike the game, paper doesn’t beat rock et cetera, but all three coexist on the walls and floor of the new gallery. The Past is seen in the rocks themselves; rocks are evidence of the past. They also exist without human intervention. For the artist, rocks seem to evoke the sacred: “A pebble in my hand holds the memory of a hike, a conversation with my son, a breathtaking, time stopping vista.”

Paper is the Present. It is human made. We use it to record and remember, but it will not last. Kuster writes in her show’s statement, “In the scheme of earth’s historic changes it will be an instant, quickly disappearing into the fertile compost of time.”

2012-01-01 03.32.46It really gets interesting with the Future, represented by plastic. Kuster told me that after years of trying to avoid and reuse plastic bags, she just started collecting them, taking as many as the world would throw at her. “They become, for me,” she writes, “the perfect admission of how my choices will inevitably impact the rock I live on for my children and their future.” She began layering them into her work and bunching them into bumpy balls that are collected on the floor of the gallery. 

2012-01-01 03.52.05It was interesting to watch people interact with the work during the opening. Some moved easily among the “rocks” as they viewed the paintings, barely acknowledging their presence. Others tiptoed carefully around them. I noticed Kuster nonchalantly kick one aside as she spoke to a guest. My favorite moment was definitely when a friend’s daughter began almost frantically moving them into mounds and shapes, darting from one end of the room to the other, carefully setting them in her own little installation. Kuster encouraged her behavior and snapped pictures of the new creations. I thought, how fitting. In a piece about what we will leave to the next generation, an artsy member of our lineage reconstructs the installation herself.
2012-01-01 03.29.05Side note: How delighted was I that the gals at GFG+S went ahead and planned this opening for Thursday, rather than during Saturday’s art crawls. In the great debate regarding the monthly crawls, I air on the side of splitting up downtown’s and WeHo’s simply because I want to see everything. Joe Nolan has an article in this week’s issue of the the Scene that explores both points of view. It seems like some galleries are wizening up to the fact that Nashvillians will come out to support the arts on nights other than the first Saturday of the month, which allowed me a full hour to chat with friends and artists at Ground Floor this evening. 2012-01-01 03.28.13

2012-01-01 03.28.35

City and the Artist: Seed Space on Saturday

I am perpetually fascinated by the shifting shapes of cities and the relationships artists have with their original and adopted homes. It also makes me consider my privilege. I’ve lived in three cities (New York, New Orleans, Nashville) that have vibrant art communities right alongside abject poverty. Typically, as the cities get richer artistically, the most “authentic” neighborhoods are gentrified, leaving local residents — those who provide the “local color” sometimes coveted by arts communities– in the lurch. For a local discussion along these lines, read the comments after this Nashville Scene cover story about photographer Elise Tyler. For me, it’s impossible to separate class and race from such a conversation, and I expect the gray areas to be messy and emotional.

It’s something that’s on my mind a lot: As we promote artists and build communities that are investing in the arts, who gets shut out? How can we maintain our own authenticity and the truth of our work without subjugating or ignoring citizens in our communities? How can we avoid more Gulch-like clusterfucks and maintain a city’s sense of integrity, while growing and welcoming artists and artisans? How can we remain mindful of history and sensitive to needs and wants of all citizens?

Even as cities, like Nashville, with entrenched and thriving artist communities enrich my spirit and provide me with a complex intellectual landscape, I would be indulging in quite a bit of arrogance to assume the elephant in the room will simply let itself out.

This Saturday, I’m hoping to deepen my understanding of these issues by engaging in dialogue at Seed Space. There are two events. From their website:

“By the Steeple Bell Rope,” Scott Zieher and Mike Womack

“By the Steeple Bell Rope,” Scott Zieher and Mike Womack

As part of their month-long social practice project “By the Steeple Bell Rope,” Scott Zieher and Mike Womack will present a projection piece related to their research and work in the Wedgewood Houston community. Their project highlights the plight of the creative class in the local neighborhood and other regional situations of gentrification and civic shift.

“U. S. Cities Contemporary Art Rankings: A New Hierarchical Approach (Nashville edition)” by Andy Sturdevant, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.


Sturdevant will perform an interactive seminar on placing U.S. cities in a tiered ranking system by their relation to the contemporary art world. Visitors will be asked to give their input, providing results that are heavily influenced by their own experiences and personal prejudices. Located in that gray area between satire and earnest inquiry, the project draws on its audience’s collective knowledge and investment in their own individual regional identities, as well as demonstrating the inherent limitations in reducing complex cultural and sociological factors into easily digestible charts, maps, and lists.

Seed Space director Adrienne Outlaw has asked me and Tony Youngblood to participate in a Q and A about the work that will be published in the exhibit brochure. I hope we can make it through without too many Star Trek references.

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

Ground Floor Gallery’s New Digs

Next month, Ground Floor Gallery + Studios will reopen at 942 4th Ave. South. From the press release:

Announcing Ground Floor Gallery’s Grand Reopening featuring “Utopia: Can it Stay Dream” in the gallery’s new home located at 942 4th Avenue South in Nashville. The show opening and artist talk with the Culture Laboratory Collective and members of the international group–Brian JobeRyder Richards and Ian F. Thomas will coincide with the monthly Arts & Music @Wedgewood/Houston Saturday July 5th from 7- 10pm.  

For the past two years Ground Floor Gallery + Studios has been located in the old Mays’ hosiery mill on Chestnut Avenue. The charm of the gallery’s former space with its original windows and hardwood floors, that feature yellow stripes from the mill’s operating days ran across the floor of the gallery, will be greatly missed by the artists of the Ground Floor. Having said that, the new, larger space with heating and air conditioning will be welcomed as summer comes to Nashville. 

As she was packing up her studio to move, Janet Decker Yanez, artist and director of GfG+S stated, “I am so excited about our new space on 4th Ave S. which will allow for year round studio production, more gallery programming and special events. We’ll miss the other artists in the building but the spirit of the Chestnut will forever give us a certain strength knowing that it is our old stompin’ ground!”

Ground Floor features the open studios of Janet Decker Yanez, Mandy Brown, Heidi Martin Kuster, and Anne Daigh. I love visiting Ground Floor because their work is as different as their personalities. Martin Kuster‘s geological impressions are as elemental as her down to earth personality. Mandy Brown‘s crowd paintings show the same openness and dynamism you’ll find in a conversation with the artist. Janet Decker Yanez‘s work is intense and personal—sometimes playful, sometimes dark—and always distinctive.

The artists present a not-to-be-missed opening show,  Utopia: Can it Stay Dream? by Culture Laboratory Collective. The Collective offers reflections on Utopia, where “there remains a dream of the perfect place or person, a possible nostalgic future designed outside of cynicism with intellectual optimism.” 


Robert H. Goddard, The Ultimate Migration, 1918. Showing at Ground Floor Gallery + Studio, July 5th, 2014.

Decker Yanez bills the new studio as a perfect stop between the art crawls downtown and in We-Ho. Regardless of where you’ll be Saturday, July 5th, do not miss this!