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Speaking the language of art at First Friday

Xijing Men touch on serious topics through tongue-in-cheek works.

"Really Happy" (2012), a painting by Bret Gottschall, is part of his exhibit, "In Other Words (Putting Words Where Your Mouth Isn’t)," at The Gallery at 19 Below

This "Pink Bridesmaid Veil," created from kiln-fired glass and fresh flowers by Kate Clements, is part of the "Secret Salon" group show at Spyn Gallery.

The new west facing Artboards at the Missouri Bank Crossroads Branch feature two images by Heinrich Toh titled “Never Quite Enough.”

"'Tank #9 (exploding)" (2012), a mixed-media on canvas work by Christian Simms, is part of " Reviving the Shark: Annual Valentine Group Show" at The Late Show

The Kansas City Star

February First Fridays should be lively, with the Xijing Men opening at Block Artspace, new works by Andy Brayman at Red Star Studios and new artboards at the Missouri Bank Crossroads branch. Diverse group shows leaven the mix.

The Xijing Men are three artists from China, Korea and Japan who are known for their satirical performances addressing global issues. In conjunction with an overview of their videos and artworks at the Artspace, Chen Shaoxiong, Gimhongsok and Tsuyoshi Ozawa will collaborate on a new work during a 10-day residency in Kansas City.

“They have a lot of ideas. We don’t really know what they’re going to do until they show up and start doing it,” Block Artspace director Raechell Smith said. “Mostly their practice is performance, and they make objects and props that become part of their installations. The work is inspired by the idea of this imagined place and entity of Xijing. On a serious level, it’s a conversation about global politics and global contemporary art.”

Although the artists have been featured in numerous international biennials, Smith said their work has really not been shown in the U.S., and they’ve never done a project here.

The Block show, “is really kind of a look back at all the collaborative work they’ve created since they started in 2006,” she explained. “While some of the pieces are really teasing out the origin myth of a place, they’ve also done projects about the (fictional) ‘Xijing Olympics.’ “

She sees “a bit of the trickster” in the trio.

The Spencer Museum’s Kris Ercums, who brought Chen Shaoxiong to the museum last fall for a project about activism, is co-curating and co-organizing the Xijing Men exhibit with Smith.

“Kris and I went to Korea earlier this fall and hung out with all three of them in one place,” Smith said.

The two enjoyed seeing the artists’ playful relationship.

“When they first started working together, it was a moment when Japanese/Chinese relations were at their worst,” Smith said. “They knew there were commonalities. While they weren’t necessarily making political artwork, there was politics in the work, and an element of comical absurdity was present for all of them. Early on when they didn’t have common language, they would send drawings back and forth, almost like storyboards. We’re going to show a lot of the drawings, and you can see the ideas unfold.”

In advance of the exhibit’s First Friday opening, the artists will give a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Kansas City Art Institute’s Epperson Auditorium in Vanderslice Hall.

Collaborative ceramics

The last time Andy Brayman showed a large body of work locally was in the 2011 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artists Fellowship exhibition at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. On Friday he will show new work at Red Star Studios in the Crossroads.

Brayman brings an inventive conceptual bent to making ceramics. The Nerman exhibit included works in which he translated data from sensors in the Missouri River into the surface decoration of his works.

He is also known for using industrial manufacturing processes, such as rapid prototyping and decal printing, in his production of domestic ceramics. And he enjoys collaborating.

His Red Star showing is a joint exhibit with Colorado-based studio potter Alleghany Meadows and will include individual and collaborative works by both artists. On Saturday the two will conduct a free demonstration workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy St., where they will also give a slide lecture at 4 p.m.

Moments of contemplation

The new artboards above the Missouri Bank’s Crossroads branch share an interest in memory and reverie.

Heinrich Toh’s pair of west-facing billboards, titled “Never Quite Enough,” draw on his recollections of his native Singapore.

One is figurative, featuring an overhead shot of a woman surrounded by paper lanterns and abstract designs; the other offers a view looking up into treetops at night. Both images convey what the artist describes as a “sense of longing and cultural displacement that comes from travel and relocation.”

Images of nature figure in many of Misha Kligman’s works, including a recent painting of black stones titled “The Nothing.” His east-facing artboards feature a pair of photographs, one of white stones, the other of black stones, that fill the frame.

Kligman, who was born in Kazan, Soviet Union, hopes his images will lead viewers to “moments of quiet contemplation and internal silence.”

Strength in numbers

At Spyn Gallery, Patricia Glenn and Mike Pronko have assembled a group show of well-known and lesser-seen artists. “Secret Salon” is the latest “pop-up” show from P&M Artworks, as they call themselves; previously they’ve curated exhibits at the Writers Place and the Frame Gallery.

For “Secret Salon,” Glenn worked with artist Megan Mantia to select 14 artists, including Mantia, Christopher Bell, Jennifer Boe, Ari Fish, Deanna Dikeman and Judith Levy. She said she focused on work that is affordable and sought a mix of art and craft.

“Jane Signorelli does amazing necklaces and sells them at Saks,” Glenn said. “At a Kansas City Art Institute pottery sale, we fell in love with the work of Robert Lugo and invited him to be in the show.”

The exhibit also includes photographs by her son, Eliot Glenn.

Coming up in April, P&M Artworks is working on a “Money” show that will be presented at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. A call for artists has gone out, Glenn said, and the jurors are interior designer David Immenschuh; well-known art photographer E.G. Schempf and Glenn, who trained as an art historian.

Another group show, opening this month at the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery, tackles the charged subject of immigration.

In addition to works by artists invited to reflect on aspects of “their personal or family experience of immigration to the United States,” “Artifacts of Immigration” will highlight the paintings of Houston-based Henry Membreno. They tell the story of his family journey’s from politically troubled El Salvador to Mexico and then to Texas, where the artist was born in 1975.

On a lighter note, the Belger Arts Center will explore the theme of adornment through a group show of works from the Belger Collection, including paper dunce caps by William Wiley, bronze shoes by Terry Allen and a winter coat fashioned from roofing nails by Kate Kretz.

H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute

What: The Xijing Men: Gimhongsok, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Chen Shaoxiong

When : Friday through April 2. Reception 6-8 p.m. Friday

Hours : Noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

Where : 16 E. 43rd St.

Info : 816.561.5563

Red Star Studios

What: Andy Brayman and Alleghany Meadows

When : Friday through April 27. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday. Free demonstration workshop, 2-4 p.m. at the Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy St. Slide lecture at 4 p.m.

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Where : 2100 Walnut St.

Info : 816.474.7316

Belger Arts Center

What: Adornment: Belger Collection Group Show

When : Friday through June 8. Reception 5-9 p.m.

Hours : 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, noon-4 p.m. Saturday or by appointment.

Where : 2100 Walnut St.

Info : 816.474.3250

Cara and Cabezas Contemporary Gallery

What Austerity Measures

When : Friday through March 2. Reception 6-9 p.m.

Where :1714 Holmes St.

Hours : 6-9 p.m. on First Fridays, noon-4 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment

Info : 816.332.6239

Carter Art Center Gallery at MCC-Penn Valley

What Corner to Corner and Head to Toe: Skye Livingston and Tom Virgin

When : Friday through March 2. Reception and artist talks 6-9 p.m. Friday

Where : 3201 Southwest


Hours :1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-3 p.m. Saturday

Info : 816.604.4278

Slap-n-Tickle Gallery

What 6th Annual Erotica Art Show

When : Friday through Feb. 16. Reception 6-11 p.m. Friday, includes burlesque by Panties Inferno and music by the

Bluegrass Porn Stars at 8 p.m.

($3 donation at the door).

Hours : Open Feb. 2 and by


Where : 504 E. 18th St.

Info : 816.716.5940

Spyn Design Studio

What P&M Artworks presents Secret Salon

When : Friday through Feb. 23. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday

Where : 2011 Baltimore Ave.

Hours : By appointment

Info : 816.437.9975

Mattie Rhodes Art Center

What Artifacts of Immigration

When : Friday through March 22. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Where : 919 W. 17th St.

Info : 816.221.2349

Main Street Gallery

What New Drawings by Mindy


When : Friday through Feb. 22. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Friday and


Where : 1610 Main St. (upstairs at Anton’s Tap Room & Restaurant)

Info : 816.210.6534

The Late Show

What Reviving the Shark: Annual Valentine Group Show

When : Friday through Feb. 23. Reception 6-10 p.m. Friday

Hours : 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and by appointment

Where : 1600 Cherry St.

Info : 816.474.1300

Vine Street Studio

What Paseo Student Art Show

When : Friday Through Feb. 28. Reception 5-8 p.m. Friday

Hours: 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and by

appointment. Family Day,

noon-3 p.m. Feb. 2

Where : 2033 Vine St.

Info : 816.645.1052

The Gallery at 19 Below

What Bret Gottschall: In Other Words (Putting Words Where Your Mouth Isn’t)

When : Friday through Feb. 28. Reception 5-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Where : 5 W. 19th St.

Info : 816.547.1567

Blue Djinn Gallery

What Carlos Duarte

When : Friday through Feb. 23. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Where : 1400 Union Ave.

Info : 816.518.4649

Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art

What Laura De Angelis: Pearl Diving

New Figurative Ceramic Sculpture

Vera Mercer: Still Life

Large scale photographs

Where : 2004 Baltimore Ave.

When : Through Feb. 23. Open First Friday 7-9 p.m.

Hours : 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and by appointment

Info : 816.221.2626

Blue Gallery

Zen in the Art of Foosball: One night installation and performance by Zaylor Mallace

and Winter Group Exhibition

When : Group Exhibition through Feb. 25. Reception 7-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment

Where : 118 Southwest Blvd.

Info : 816.527.0823


Art Center

  • Art. Write. Now. Tour

When : Through Feb. 22

  • Rachel Ignotofsky: P.O.T.U.S. a Portrait Series in Wood Cuts

When : Through Feb. 23

  • Cheryl Gail Toh: Linger Still

When : Through March 30

  • Fernando Pezzino: Filling the Void and Michael Hager: Objects of Interest / Interest of Objects

When : Through Feb. 26. Reception 6-9 p.m. Friday

Hours : 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Where : 2012 Baltimore Ave.

Info : 816.474.1919


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