Consider yourself lucky to be a local this fall. Phoenix likely will make the must-visit lists of art lovers across the country (and beyond).
The Valley’s visual art lineup includes several significant exhibitions, including the first North American retrospective of Paolo Soleri’s work since 1971, a rare survey of contemporary Brazilian art, and a show spotlighting Juxtapoz founder Robert Williams’ conceptual realism.
But that’s just a sampling of the most anticipated exhibitions opening in the coming months. Here’s a look at must-see art shows featuring works by international artists and plenty of Arizona’s own talented creatives.
Phoenix Art Museum
Through December 31
See 70 works by 59 artists as Phoenix Art Museum presents "Past/Future/Present: Contemporary Brazilian Art from the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo." It's a chance to explore diverse artwork created in recent decades by pioneering Brazilian artists, in the first large-scale exhibition in the U.S. to feature art from this South American museum. Featured works are organized around five themes that include reimagined landscape, shifting identities, and reinvention of the monochrome.
Lisa Sette Gallery
Through October 28
Lisa Sette Gallery is presenting oil portraits by Phoenix artist Rachel Bess and photo-collage works by collaborators Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick that resonate with the ecological and moral uncertainty of present times. Using disparate media, these artists channel historical and retro-futurist aesthetics of the occult, revealing the lure of the fantastic and unknown during periods of cultural upheaval.
“Imogen Cunningham: Through Her Lens”
Ryan Gallery at Art Intersection
Through October 21
As one of America's most prolific female photographers, Imogen Cunningham broke barriers for women in photography during the mid-20th century. A contemporary of Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Wynn Bullock, and Edward Weston, Cunningham used her camera to explore the nuance of diverse botanicals, female and male nudes, fellow artists, and even her own image. Art Intersection is showing a collection of her works, including platinum and gelatin silver prints.
“Slang Aesthetics! The Art of Robert Williams”
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
September 8 to January 21
Frustrated by the eclipse of realism during the post-World War II rise of abstract expressionism, Robert Williams drew from various underground and alternative cultures to create his own unique style. Today, he's a key figure in conceptual realism, and hailed as the father of the lowbrow art movement. He's also the founder of the art magazine Juxtapoz. Williams works will fill two galleries at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, where three additional exhibitions delve into fantasy and alternative impulses in contemporary art.
“Tensions and Territory”
New work by Lauren Strohacker
MCC Art Gallery at Mesa Community College
September 11 to October 20
During a yearlong collaboration with the Northern Jaguar Project, Scottsdale artist Lauren Strohacker has been creating new work "emphasizing the non-human in a human-centric world." Recently, she installed work on the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, you can see her newest time-based digital work and public art installation at the MCC Art Gallery. It prompts reflection on the need to sustain, increase, and protect the binational jaguar populations and habitats.
ASU Art Museum
September 23 to December 30
For its latest foray into art exploring social injustice, ASU Art Museum presents an exhibition addressing Asian labor and forced migration. The exhibition, comprising mostly video installation, will fill the entire first floor of the museum. It features work by contemporary Asian, Latin American, and American artists that addresses migration in its historical and contemporary manifestations.
Legend City Studios
The annual exhibition of work by metro Phoenix artists returns to Legend City Studios for First Friday, October 6. It's presented by Phoenix artist Randy Slack, who co-created the show in 2000 with fellow members of the 3-Car Pile Up collective. Slack typically invites dozens of local creatives to show their work, including paintings, sculpture, photography, mixed media, drawing, and additional media. It's a one-night-only affair, and one of the season's best ways to see work by a significant number of Phoenix's creatives.
“Jun Kaneko Sculpture”
Desert Botanical Garden
October 13 to May 13, 2018
Sculptor Jun Kaneko makes large-scale, hand-built sculptures that include the dumpling-shaped dangos you might have seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport or ASU Art Museum's Ceramics Research Center. Kaneko uses his ceramic forms as canvases for creating colorful designs with repeated dots and lines. See 20 of his works, including large-scale heads, throughout the Desert Botanical Garden this fall. While you're there, pop into the garden's gallery to see an exhibition of works by Phoenix artist Larry Kornegay.
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“Repositioning Paolo Soleri: The City Is Nature”
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
October 14 to January 28, 2018
Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) is best known for arcology, his pioneering blend of architecture and ecology. But Soleri, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, was also an artist. And you'll be able to explore the depths of creativity this fall, as Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first North American retrospective of Soleri's work since 1971. Curated by Claire C. Carter, the exhibition includes drawings, architectural models, sketchbooks, sculptures, prints, and photographs. While you're there, spend some time exploring "Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists From Aboriginal Australia," which runs from September 23 to January 21, 2018.