The Crossroads galleries always draw a crowd on First Fridays, but expect plenty of spillover at the Kansas City Art Institute’s H&R Block Artspace for the opening of the latest installment of its popular “Kansas City Flatfile” show.
Scope it out Friday night, and plan to return to peruse dozens of drawings, paintings, prints and photographs housed in flat file cabinets.
It’s a great place to find affordable art and support local talent — selections range from works by established artists including Johnny Naugahyde, Deanna Dikeman, Larry Thomas and Garry Noland , to recent Art Institute graduates such asLuke Firle, Cory Imig and Matt Jacobs .
A changing selection of works from the Flatfile will appear on the gallery walls. The first group will be chosen by Block Artspace staff; after that director Raechell Smith has invited various regional arts professionals, curators and artists to pick works for display.
“This is always an opportunity for me to get curators to commit some time to looking at art by Kansas City artists,” she said, “and there are some new folks in the region.”
For this year’s Flatfile, Smith has added an exhibit in the second floor resource room. “Flatfile Redux” will feature a selection of works from Kansas City collections that were acquired from previous Flatfiles.
“It’s a fun way to highlight and encourage collecting and see what’s in people’s collections,” Smith said.
The 2012 Kansas City Flatfile will also feature a “Videofile,” of works viewers can choose to screen.
The Spray Booth Gallery has framed “Neutral Space,” its coming group show of geometric art, with a provocative essay by 2010 Kansas City Art Institute graduate Neil Thrun .
Headed “Neutral spaces, Empty Geometry: Why All Artists Need to Re-engage With Ideology,” the essay examines some of the critical ideas and positions expounded by geometric artists, from Kasimir Malevich to Peter Halley, to the Slovenian IRWIN collective.
It’s an area that Thrun has been interested in since he was in school, where he created works of geometric painting and collage. Now, he said, “I mainly do video and performance-based art involved with the history of the avant-garde and the 20th century.”
“Neutral Space” will include works by 14 artists, including Emily Sall, Elliot Oliver, Mike Erickson and Nicole Mauser , selected by Spray Booth director Andrew Lyles.
Lyles, a former classmate of Thrun’s, invited him to write two essays for the show.
The artists had not been chosen at the time Thrun wrote his initial essay, in which he contends, “Unlike the history of geometric art in the avant-garde, today no one in Kansas City seems interested in the ideology of their predecessors.”
Thrun argues that “our culture of individualism has killed the will to be ideological (to take a stand),” and that “artists need to re-engage with ideology.”
“Otherwise,” he warns, “we will be stuck making neutral spaces, work that is ideologically empty and without consequence, while drinking free alcohol and half-heartedly congratulating each other.”
The essay in its entirety is posted on the gallery’s web site, sprayboothgallery.com, where Thrun will eventually post his second essay addressing the specific artists — and works in the show.
Kemper at the Crossroads
New York artist Petah Coyne ’s mammoth sculpture, “Untitled #1336 (Scalapino Nu Shu)” (2009-10), the centerpiece of a recent permanent collection exhibit at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, has a new home. On Friday, it can be seen at its new location — a specially created gallery in the museum’s downtown branch, Kemper at the Crossroads , 33 W. 19th St.
Coyne’s work joins an ongoing exhibit of sculptures, “Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?,” by Brooklyn-based Eric Fertman. That exhibit continues through July 28.### The Picnic Project Summer is prime time for public art. Downtown, the Avenue of the Arts set of temporary installations along Central Street opens June 15. Near the Country Club Plaza, stand by for the Picnic Project, which will produce a 10,000-square-foot picnic blanket to be displayed July 15 on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. But there’s a lot to be done before that happens.
The public is invited to attend a free fabric printing workshop from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at the Urbavore Urban Farm, 5500 Bennington Ave., where participants will help decorate some of the 400 printed fabric tiles that will make up the blanket.
Alison Heryer, a special instructor of fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute, is leading the Picnic Project, which will be part of the Nelson’s July 15 celebration of the Kansas City Sculpture Park . The 5-by-5-foot tiles will be assembled on the lawn at midday; in the afternoon, members of the public can set out their picnics on the blanket.
There’s plenty of time to participate: There will be workshops every weekend in June. For details, visit kcpicnicproject.com.### First Friday gallery highlights H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute
2012 Kansas City Flatfile
When: Reception 6-8 p.m. First Friday. Open noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday (through Sept. 29).
Where: 16 E. 43rd St.
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center
Terra: Victoria Ann Reed, Shannon Sullivan, and Ellen W. Wolf
Main Gallery: June 1-July 28, 2012
Jane Almirall: Acts of Selfishness and Devotion
Opie Gallery: June 1-July 28, 2012
Walker Kelly: The Small Series
Lower Level Gallery: June 1-June 30, 2012
Joshua von Nonn: Immured by Memories
Front Gallery: Through June 23
Back Gallery: Through June 30
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Where: 2012 Baltimore Ave.
Cabinet of Curiosities: Freaks, Geeks, and Human Oddities
When: Reception 6-11 p.m. First Friday, with burlesque performances at 8 p.m. Open noon-4 p.m. Saturday (through June 10) and by appointment.
Where: 504 E. 18th St.
Blue Djinn Gallery
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (through June 30).
Where: 1400 Union Ave.
Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery
My Dress Hangs There:
Alisha Gambino and Kathy Ruth Neal honor Frida Kahlo
When: Reception and Viva la Frida Block Party 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (through Aug. 10).
Where: 915 W. 17th St.
Brent Wheatley: New Impressions
When: Reception 5-9 p.m. First Friday
Where: 1800 Locust St.
The Late Show
The Last Minute: Paintings by Adam Beris and David Gantay
Cognitive Dissonance: An installation by Diana Newport
Photographs by Wesaam Al-Badry
When: Reception 6-10 p.m. First Friday. Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday (through June 23), and by appointment.
Where: 1600 Cherry St.
Spray Booth Gallery
Neutral Space: Group Show
When: Reception 6-10 p.m. First Friday. Open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon-3 p.m. Saturday (through July 20).
Where: 130 W. 18th St., inside Volker Bicycles
Nude: An Invitational Exhibition
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (through June 19), and by appointment.
Where: 118 Southwest Blvd.