Chosen Ones

The Summer Art Cruise offers beginnings and finales

Saturday night marks the last chance locals will have to play Biennial curator.

Dinnerware's Salon des Refusés has given a second chance to works that didn't make it into the Tucson Museum of Art's Arizona Biennial '07. Viewers can compare the work of the refusés (rejected artists) with that of the choisis (chosen ones) over at the musée.

But Dinnerware's Salon closes after Saturday's "Summer Art Cruise," an evening of multiple gallery openings in and near downtown.

"Oui, oui," says David Aguirre, Dinnerware executive director. "This is the finale."

The Salon des Refusés takes its name from a famous 1863 exhibition in Paris, in which Impressionists and others rejected by the official Salon de Paris staged an alternate show. Dinnerware sent out invitations to some 500 artists who didn't make the TMA cut. Though the Biennial was open to any artist in the state, "we kept it here, to Tucson and Southern Arizona," Aguirre says. "The response to our call was great. We have 150 pieces."

Big-name Tucson artists of the likes of Judith D'Agostino are at Dinnerware, along with up-and-comers. And like the Biennial artists, the refuseniks stick to media that are tried and true, as well as venturing into the new. Penelope Starr made a tapestry out of photographic slides, for instance, all of them sewn together in a hanging, while Richard Zelens used traditional oils on canvas to make his colorful painting "The Magician." Carrie Seid contributed one of her beautiful stretched-silk-over-copper pieces. David Adix deployed plastic soldiers on a metal armature.

Dinnerware had been saying that the Summer Art Cruise might also mark the gallery's last stand in the Historic Steinfeld Warehouse. The building's owner, the Arizona Department of Transportation, has ordered the gallery and the artists who have studios there to vacate, though the date has been pushed back several times. It currently stands at July 31.

Aguirre is now optimistic about a new plan that would allow artists to run the space for the city under the aegis of a nonprofit.

"It would be a city-owned project like the ... Rialto," Aguirre says. And while the city has been considering paying to relocate the artists, Aguirre argues that it would make more sense to repair the building. (Costs are estimated at anywhere from $1.4 million to $2 million.) A meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m., Thursday, June 7, at City Hall.

The art cruise flows from Barrio Historico through the Warehouse District and over to the UA. Free shuttle buses will sail to all the galleries, shoving off regularly from the parking lot at Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue starting at 6 p.m. For the first time, the University of Arizona Museum of Art has come on board, showing its Goya works by night, says Mike Dominguez, co-owner of Davis Dominguez. Most of the galleries will be open during the day Saturday, and will provide refreshments at the evening receptions. Here's a list of the rest of the participants, with receptions from 6 to 9 p.m. unless noted.

Dinnerware Contemporary Arts, 101 W. Sixth St., 792-4503, Salon des Refusés, closing reception 7 to 9 p.m.

Davis Dominguez Gallery, 154 E. Sixth St., 629-9759, Reception 6 to 8 p.m. 15th Small Works Invitational solicits work from Tucson's best-known artists, but they must deliver their visions in miniature. Barbara Jo McLaughlin's "Caught in a Maelstrom," Dominguez says, is an "explosion of color and movement, with rays of silver emitting from the base." Miles Conrad, who skippers Conrad Wilde Gallery, contributed the encaustic "Primordial Meeting."

The Gallery at 6th and 6th, 439 N. Sixth Ave., 903-0650, Intimate Visions is a one-man show of drawings by Sal Sirugo, an artist born in 1920. In tiny drawings, "Sirugo creates entire universes," writes gallery director Lauren Rabb. Sirugo works in everything from ink on paper, to crayon, tea and coffee, and his tools include sponges, eye droppers, needles and his own hands.

Platform Gallery, 439 N. Sixth Ave., 882-3886, Altered Vision showcases work by Douglass Truth and Jack Balas in the north gallery. The crew in the south gallery includes Lumie Award winner Howard Salmon, along with Sandy Upson, Jeremy Dyer and Monique Morales.

Santa Theresa Tile Works, 439 N. Sixth Ave., 623-8640, Susan Gamble displays her award-winning tile art, along with traditional Turkish tiles crafted by an Iraqi-Turkish artist.

Raices Taller 222, 222 E. Sixth St., 881-5335, Though it's 9 years old, this Latino gallery also won a Lumie Award, for outstanding emerging arts organization. Mi Tierra, Mis Raices is a group show about origins and roots, featuring members and three guest artists. Guest Paco Velez, who has a big border piece in the Biennial, checks in here with "Mentiras (Lies)," a painting depicting President Bush followed by a flock of docile sheep and chickens. Other guests are the Navajo artist Glory Tacheenie-Campoy, who's also in the Dinnerware Salon, and Yaqui artist Alamo Steel.

The Drawing Studio, 214 N. Fourth Ave., 620-0947, Birds of a Feather? ... Drawings by Pat Dolan, a fine one-woman show of airy avian charcoals, is the last in this space. The gallery is setting sail for a new berth downtown.

Conrad Wilde Gallery, 210 N. Fourth Ave., 622-8997, Eight local artists star in She Objects! II ... Women Who Make Objects, an invitational of multi-disciplinary works. Curated by MJ Richardson, a gallery intern, this second edition of this show displays art by Barbara Bergstrom, who made the fine desk piece in the Biennial, Jessica Drenk, Lois Epperson-Gale, Anne-Marie Nequette, Barbara Rogers and Gwyneth Scally.

Gallery Centella, 340 S. Convent Ave., 798-3400, The Human Presence gives recent art grads from the UA a shot. Brookhart Jonquil, the lone BFA among a flotilla of MFAs, made a floor sculpture of three anthills. "You look in and see videos," says gallery intern Dallas Reece. The tiny cinemas feature "abstracted train videos, ants and a lost highway."

Philabaum Glass Studio, 711 S. Sixth Ave., 884-7404, No evening reception is in the cards for Philabaum and Phriends, a show of glass art, but the refurbished gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tom Philabaum recently closed his shop at St. Philip's Plaza; he's gone back to his downtown roots.

Joseph Gross Gallery, 626-4215, and University of Arizona Museum of Art, 621-7567,, both 1031 N. Olive Road, UA campus. Upstairs, the museum is exhibiting bullfighting etchings by Spain's Francisco de Goya and rodeo photos by Tucson's Louise Serpa. Downstairs is Lost in the Woods, a joint venture with Joseph Gross next door. The big show takes on big themes, investigating nature and culture, imagination and spirituality, through historical and contemporary works.

The biggest of the big names is Eugène Delacroix, the great French Romantic painter whose experiments with color influenced the Impressionists. He died in 1863, the very year that the first Salon des Refusés gave shape to their contrarian movement.

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