I only got to four sites in the Gallery Progressive, because I stopped to listen to the pickup group of musicians at Carmody on Thursday. Only recently did I learn that they now serve Real Food, including sliders and hot dogs of five varieties, which solves an age old problem. We can sit, enjoy the tunes, and relax.
Among the sites I visited, Friends of Industry was the site where art was most alive — art was being created as we speak.
The Friends of Industry space is really a working gallery space — the presence of couches and tables, of a rock-climbing wall and of a slop sink, betray that Art is Made here, that Artists Work (and rest from work) here. The music, while a little loud, enhanced the sense that Friends of Industry was a living space of art.
Over at Ochre Ghost, a single-artist show of Luke Holden’s work revealed a consistency of vision. No matter collage, drawing, watercolor or print, you could see the power of Holden’s way of seeing the world. While it more appealed to my wife than to me, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the singularity of vision.
Back at my favorite gallery, Prøve Collective, art was what it always is in the hands of these energetic creators: an event. This was doubly true because the night included a performance by Tim Kaiser.
My wife has a hard time at Prøve openings; I think it’s hard for her to feel that she’s in a gallery because the art isn’t on the wall, waiting to be viewed and responded to; it’s in your space and in your face. Responding to the art at Prøve is like responding to our environment, but our everyday worklife trains us to ignore our environment to get done what must be done. Prøve re-enchants the space we are in.
Last up was Lizzards. Lizzards used to bug me because it had so directly a tourist bent: cards and KUMD CDs and books about the lift bridge reminded me that Duluth is a tourist economy, and our art is a tourist art, at least sometimes. Art as commodity… But last night, because it crams so many artists and so much work into a single space, I was also reminded that Lizzards serves as a core part of the community.
3,000 square feet at Lizzards brings dozens and dozens of artists (and customers) together for an event like the Progressive. While my heart belongs to the experiences in the small galleries (Prove, Friends of Industry, Ochre Ghost), I recognize that they function better with Lizzards as a nexus for art as both commodity and community.
Great night out.
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