Brooks Mu­seum goes global

Two ex­hibits tip off cel­e­bra­tion of 100th an­niver­sary

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - ARTS - By Fredric Koep­pel Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

Cir­cuitous Suc­ces­sion Gallery, 500 S. Sec­ond: J. Ray­mond Mire­les Ret­ro­spec­tive, through Sept 1. Open­ing re­cep­tion 6-9 p.m. Fri­day. Gallery Talk 6-9 p.m. Satur­day. Clos­ing re­cep­tion 6-9 p.m. Aug. 26. Pho­to­graphic com­pi­la­tion of San Diego artist Mire­les’ work from past to present, in­clud­ing re­cent pho­tos of Mem­phis res­i­dents that are part of his lat­est project, Neigh­bors. 901-229-1041. cir­cuitous­suc­ces­sion. com Found Mem­phis, 2491 Broad Ave.: Jana Wil­son: “Vin­ta­gia!” open­ing party 6-8 p.m. Fri­day. A col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal mixed me­dia col­lages and art works cre­ated from pieces of the past. 901-607-1328. Gallery Ten Ninety One, 7151 Cherry Farms Road (WKNO Dig­i­tal Me­dia Cen­ter), Cor­dova: The 35th Juried Ex­hi­bi­tion of the Ten­nessee Wa­ter­color So­ci­ety, through July 28. Open­ing re­cep­tion 6-8 p.m. Fri­day. Thirty se­lected paint­ings. 901-458-2521. wkno. org Mem­phis Botanic Gar­den, 750 Cherry Road (Audubon Park): Artists’ Link an­nual Group Show, Satur­day through July 31 in Vis­i­tors Cen­ter Gallery and Fratelli’s Café Gallery. Open­ing re­cep­tion 4-6 p.m. July 10. 901-636-4100. L Ross Gallery, 5040 San­der­lin, Suite 104: Sum­mer Group Ex­hi­bi­tion opens Fri­day and runs through July 30. Paint­ing and sculp­ture. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues­day through Fri­day; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Satur­day. 901-7672200. Lross­gallery. com.

Mem­phis Brooks Mu­seum of Art goes global in two ex­hi­bi­tions that co­in­cide with the in­sti­tu­tion’s 100th an­niver­sary this year.

In the Ro­tunda — the mu­seum’s en­trance hall — Lon­don-born artist Yinka Shoni­bare MBE, raised in Nige­ria and Eng­land, of­fers “Rage of the Bal­let Gods,” a witty sendup of dance, myth and cli­mate change. In one of the down­stairs gal­leries, “Has­san Ha­j­jaj: My Rock Stars,” a mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tion cre­ated by the Moroc­can-born artist, de­liv­ers an exhilarating burst of color, sound and funk in honor of his mul­ti­cul­tural mu­si­cal heroes.

“Rage of the Bal­let Gods” is the first of a series of ex­hi­bi­tions and in­stal­la­tions that will adorn the lobby of the Brooks, re­plac­ing, at least tem­po­rar­ily, the mon­u­men­tal “Vide-o-belisk” of Nam June Paik, com­mis­sioned by the Brooks in 2002. That tow­er­ing piece, com­posed of vin­tage tele­vi­sion sets and neon signs, al­ways felt like a gloomy colos­sus, suck­ing all the light out of the space. Now airy and filled with light, the Ro­tunda is a lobby trans­formed, helped not a lit­tle by Shoni­bare’s clever sculp­tures.

Four of these stand poised on pedestals, high enough that view­ers look up­ward to see their de­tails. Each is a man­nequin, three garbed in col­or­ful bal­let-dancer’s tu­tus, while one is a lit­tle boy sprout­ing but­ter­fly wings who seems to be run­ning away. The tu­tus, and the boy’s knee-pants and shirt, are fash­ioned from bright, highly patterned Dutch wax cloth, a fab­ric manufactured in Hol­land and Eng­land with In­done­sian batik de­signs and then sold in West Africa. The dancers carry sym­bols of the gods: Apollo’s lyre, Po­sei­don’s tri­dent, Zeus’ thunderbolt. They also, though, carry a wicked-look­ing pis­tol (Zeus), a dag­ger (Po­sei­don) and a rapier (Apollo). In­stead of

heads, the four fig­ures bear an­tique globes on their necks, each omi­nously dark­ened by a pre­mo­ni­tion of catas­tro­phe.

Al­to­gether, “Rage of the Bal­let Gods” ex­udes gai­ety and flight­i­ness, a sense of the ephemeral and the fash­ion­able, of fleet­ing beauty and wry per­ver­sity briefly cap­tured. The group­ing makes the Ro­tunda feel as if it were touched by a strange di­vin­ity.

“My Rock Stars” is an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence that con­sists of a series of large-for­mat pho­tographs, a beau­ti­fully re­al­ized video, and a to­tal en­vi­ron­ment of food­stuffs and stools, benches and ta­bles de­signed by the artist. The ex­hi­bi­tion was or­ga­nized by the Ne­wark Mu­seum of Art.

Ha­j­jaj’s pho­tographs present 10 mu­si­cians — eight solo and one duo — in a riot of bright col­ors and pat­terns in clothes, back­drops, mats and frames that are not only eye-catch­ing but mes­mer­iz­ing. The singers and in­stru­men­tal­ists, most in­volved with in­dige­nous mu­sic, hail from Morocco, Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, Burk­ina Faso, Nige­ria, Ja­maica and the United States, and Ha­j­jaj de­picts them with marked, even giddy in­di­vid­u­al­ity. The artist de­signed the cloth­ing as well as the space each mu­si­cian in­hab­its. The video in­stal­la­tion, which lasts about 30 min­utes, is com­posed of nine pan­els, in each of which the mu­si­cians per­form while the oth­ers turn to watch and lis­ten, cre­at­ing a sense of em­pa­thy and sol­i­dar­ity. How­ever un­fa­mil­iar the mu­si­cal form may be, is the im­pli­ca­tion, it ex­ists as part of a greater whole of the world’s mu­sic. Yinka Shoni­bare MBE’S, Bal­let God (Po­sei­don), 2015. The Lon­don artist’s ex­hibit “Rage of the Bal­let Gods” fea­tures sculpted man­nequins as part of a dis­play filled with witty sendups of dance, myth and cli­mate change.

COUR­TESY THE ARTIST AND TAYMOUR GRAHNE GALLERY, NEW YORK

Has­san Ha­j­jaj’s He­len, the Venus Bush­fires, 2011, is one piece fea­tured in his gallery “Has­san Ha­j­jaj: My Rock Stars” at the Mem­phis Brooks Mu­seum of Art.

COUR­TESY STEPHEN WHITE

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