Cool Art

Wynn Bullock retrospective at CCP kicks off Tucson's busy summer art scene

We've already weathered the first 100 degree day of the year—last Thursday, May 4—with many more sure to come. Luckily for art lovers, most galleries and museums are air-conditioned. And there will be plenty of cool art in these chill places all summer long.

The Center for Creative Photography, critic-certified as the coldest of all the cool art venues in Tucson, at long last opens a brand-new show, a hopeful sign after still another long rocky period in CCP's history. Wynn Bullock: Revelations opens this Saturday, May 13, a big show that curators are calling the "most comprehensive assessment" of the renowned modernist photographer in 40 years. Bullock, who died in 1975, will be represented by more than 100 photos, from his early experimental work through his middle period of elegant black-and-whites and on into his late color abstractions. Through Nov. 25.

Etherton Gallery will also fill its summer months with photography. Danny Lyon: Present Future, coinciding with a Lyon retrospective touring Europe, will cover the internationally known photographer's remarkable career. On view: a sampling of his early civil rights photos, the Bikers series and Conversations with the Dead, his searing images of Texas prisons. In the Axial Gallery, phenomenal Arizona photog Mark Klett, best known for his then-and-now photos of western landscapes, shows a personal side in his black-and-white Birthday Portraits. Klett and daughter Lena share a birthday and the photog has made a dual portrait of the two together every year for all of Lena's 25 years. Opening reception 7 to 10 p.m., June 10. Through Aug. 31.

But the art comes in all varieties this summer. To see work made from thistles, spikes and sticks, take a field trip up to Tohono Chul Park on the northwest side. Arizona Abstract features found objects, constructions and paintings by 30 artists investigating the abstract qualities of nature. Afterward, if you can bear the heat—wear a hat!—go outside and enjoy the desert gardens. Through Aug. 1.

Go even farther north, admiring the excellent view of Pusch Ridge along the way, to Roche Tissue Diagnostics (Ventana Medical). In the business's active gallery, you can wander through three decades' worth of art by Tucsonan David Adix. His solo show, 30 Years of Construction, Collage & Composition, 1986-2016, showcases no fewer than 167 works, among them steel statues, woven wire works and constructions made from recyclables. Through July 11.

Back in the heart of Tucson, in the Arts Warehouse District centering on Sixth and Sixth, a couple of exhibitions offer up a lively variety of media, by a whole bunch of artists at once. (Caveat: most of the arts venues in this neighborhood don't have AC.)

In the always entertaining Small Things Considered invitational small works show staged every year at Davis Dominguez Gallery, more than 80 artists are exhibiting their teeniest works. Look for Barbara Jo McLaughlin's prickly "Sticker" sculpture and Jim Waid's rapturous—and very red—"Redstart #2" painting. Through June 24.

Small Things Considered is already up but the opening reception is June 3, part of the annual Summer Art Cruise. This evening of multiple art openings has art lovers strolling from one gallery to the next in the cool hours of twilight. It's one of the art scene's most fun summer events.

Next door to Davis Dominguez, Contreras Gallery's What's the Big Idea? also revels in all things petite. Twenty artists answer the titular question with pint-sized paintings, cut-paper and 3-D work. Keep an eye out for the Tucson Weekly's own Rand Carlson's tiny tin works and Neda Contreras's itty-bitty painted skeletons. Through May 27.

While you're on the block, visit the excellent Wee Gallery, hidden away in the interior of a warehouse. An extremely tiny arts venue, Wee hosts the works of painter Ruben Urrea Moreno for the month of May.

There's still time to catch Mujeres, Mujeres, Mujeres, a compendium of work by dozens of women at Raices Taller 222. Painting, sculpture and photography abound, but this annual exhibition is always a stand-out in the realm of outsider materials. Ana Paulina Padilla deploys ribbons and a coat hanger in "Pieces of Me," a 3-D work that also relies on photo close-ups writ large. Through May 20.

Conrad Wilde Gallery, over at the Steinfeld Warehouse, stages Elemental, a group show of 10 artists who use natural materials too. Wilde's artmakers nearly all hew toward abstraction. Through May 27. And at Philabaum Glass Gallery south of downtown, a months-long showcase for North Carolina glass artists is in its final weeks. Check it out to learn about the Southerners' colorfully named glass techniques, including battuto and filigrana. Through May 27.

In the nicely air-conditioned museum world, University of Arizona Museum of Art offers up an array of exhibitions, including one about influential modernist Hans Hoffman, May 27 to Sept. 10. And UAMA gives Bisbee artists and gallerists Poe Dismuke and Sam Woolcott the first-ever museum show. May 27 to Oct. 1. Tucson Museum of Art's Body Language: Figuration in Modern and Contemporary Art is big enough and interesting enough to keep you busy clear through its end date of July 9.

MOCA-Tucson, now under new management, finishes its season with four shows put together by now-departed curator Jocko Weyland. From Antelope Springs, a solo outing by Native American artist Dennis Jeffy, merges the aesthetic of Navajo sand paintings with contemporary techniques in Plexiglas abstractions of the Southwest landscape.

The big show If You Stay Busy You Have No Time to Be Unhappy, 80 artists strong, is a celebration of MOCA's 20th anniversary. "Staged at a historical moment of uncertainty and upheaval," Weyland wrote, the exhibition looks at art past, present and future and by extension, the state of the world past, present and future.

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