John Salvest took Kansas City by storm last fall with his huge “IOU/USA” cargo container installation in Memorial Hill Park, a project sponsored by Grand Arts.
What many people may not remember is Salvest’s appearance in the Kansas City Artists Coalition’s River Market Regional exhibitions in 1990, 1991 and 1994, when the Arkansas-based artist won the top prize of $1,000 all three times.
Janet Simpson, the coalition’s executive director, has followed Salvest’s career for many years, and his rise in profile was one reason she decided to celebrate the exhibit’s 30th anniversary with an invitational of past participants in the six-state show.
“It’s 30 years,” she said. “I thought it might be fun to look at some of the people who had done the show and gone on to do interesting things.”
Salvest’s wife, Les Christensen, “also has a good career,” Simpson said. “Matt Dehaemers won (a juror’s award) a long time ago and has gone on to build his career, especially in the public art arena. These people have really worked their careers, they’re quite successful. Let’s take a look at where they are now.”
On Friday the coalition opens “What Now?,” an exhibit of works by 15 artists who showed in previous River Market Regional Exhibitions.
Three are from Kansas City: Dehaemers, Mindy Goodman and Jane Booth, who also has a one-person show at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph this summer. Ceramic artist Keith Ekstam lives and teaches in Springfield, Mo.; painter Joe Bussell works in St. Louis. Joelle Ford, Marydorsey Wanless and Nancy Morrow are from Kansas. The others were based in Arkansas and Nebraska when they first participated in the show, which also has been open to artists from Iowa and Oklahoma.
Part of the exhibit’s appeal for artists is the opportunity it offers to get their work before the eyes of a prestigious juror. Past exhibits have been selected by Richard Armstrong, Terrie Sultan and Gary Garrels. Barbara O’Brien, chief curator and now director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, chose the artists for the 2011 show; Deborah Emont Scott, former chief curator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, also took a turn.
Simpson noted that the jurors, too, have progressed in their careers: Armstrong was at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh when he juried the coalition’s show; now he’s director of the Guggenheim in New York. Scott is now director and chief executive officer of the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati.Each of the artists in “What Now” will be represented by at least two pieces. Some will have as many as five if the works are smaller, Simpson said.
Besides celebrating the River Market Regional’s 30th anniversary, the invitational stemmed from the coalition’s periodic review of “what we’re doing,” she said. “(We try to) decide if we want to continue as is, do something more, less or different. We evaluate things from time to time.”
Kansas City native Adrian Halpern has participated in numerous group shows since he returned home with a bachelor of fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 2003. Halpern has been a regular in past Kansas City Flatfiles exhibits at Block Artspace and was part of the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center’s “Renegades of Funk” exhibit in 2008.
On Friday, Halpern will open his first solo show.
“Metapores,” at the Old Souls Tattoo Parlour and Gallery, will feature 15 silkscreens and drawings teaming with figural motifs and fragments, symbols and abstract designs.
Executed in his distinctive style of dense doodling, they’re “a reflection of my interior visions,” Halpern said.
In a recent interview, he characterized his work as “microscopic drawings — like looking inside the cracks of your hand.”
He doesn’t work from observation. “I just draw,” he said. “Whatever appears in my head, I do it.”
But there’s more to Halpern’s obsessive creations than simple stream of consciousness.
He has explored the Kabbalah, Tibetan monk scrolls and instruments of self-healing, and his artist statement ties the work to “the teachings of mysticism, symbols, hidden meanings and the unexplained.”
“Ever since I was little I’ve always been interested in UFO-ology, ghosts, spirits, voodoo and ancient cultures,” he said. “I’m interested in visual artwork where there’s a visual-mental-soulful connection.”
The work is a process of self-discovery, but Halpern wants it connect with others, too.
“I create something in a positive light,” he said, “where viewers can reflect something of their individual nature into it and out.”
An inspiration grant from the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City helped Halpern to pay for framing the works in his show, which will be displayed on a roughly 32-foot-long wall at the tattoo shop. His exhibit is Old Souls Tattoo Parlour and Gallery’s fourth, since it opened a location in January in the Crossroads.
Kansas City Artists Coalition
What Now? Invitational
When: Reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. First Friday. Executive director Janet Simpson will speak at 6 p.m. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday (through Aug. 25).
Where: 201 Wyandotte St.
Old Souls Tattoo Parlour and Gallery
Metapores: Adrian Halpern
When: Reception 6-10 p.m. First Friday; artist Q&A noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday (through Sept. 1).
Where: 2006 Main St.
Cantos: New Paintings by Francine Hansen
When: Reception 6-11 p.m. First Friday; noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Open by appointment through Aug. 12.
Where: 504 E. 18th St.
Spray Booth Gallery
Covenant: Tyson Gough and Peter Granados
When: Reception 6-10 p.m. First Friday. Open noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon-3 p.m. Saturday (through Sept. 14).
Where: 130 W. 18th St. (inside Volker Bicycles)
Blue Djinn Gallery
Robin Case: Reverence,
A Quiet Discussion About
the Color of Debris.
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (through Aug. 25).
Where: 1400 Union Ave.
Summer Exhibition II
Amani Skalacki: In Bloom
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment (through Sept. 3).
Where: 118 Southwest Blvd.
Street Views: Finding Hope in Homelessness: Photos taken by guests of Shalom House, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas men’s homeless shelter in Wyandotte County
When: Open house 5:30-9 p.m. First Friday.
Where: 2024 Main St., Suite One West
The Late Show
New Work by Daniel Joseph May
Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: Group show
When: Reception 6-10 p.m. First Friday. Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and by appointment (through Sept. 1).
Where: 1600 Cherry St.
Seeing Work: Don Kottmann Paintings
Lately: Mark Westervelt
Shooting KC Photography Group
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday (through Aug. 25).
Where: 2012 Baltimore Ave.
The Narrative Eye: Works by Dean Kube and Matt Kube
The Space Between Our Selves: Charles and Carolyn Fairbanks
Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (through Aug. 25).
Red Star Studios
External Views: Group Shows
When: Reception 6-9 p.m. First Friday. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday (through Sept. 28).
Where: 2100 Walnut St.
Elaine and Kathleen Ismert: Visual Leverage:
When: Reception 5-9 p.m. First Friday.
Where: 1800 Locust St.