Off the Wagon – Your Weekend Art Binge 5/18 – 5/20

This week’s art binge is dominated by area museums.  In fact, there is so much museum fun, you can expect to pass out, forget most of what you did, and somehow end up on Museum Nerds Gone Wild.  With that said, we’re heading to Downtown Tampa’s Museum Row.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts – Andy Warhol and Friends Closing Party

Fri 5/18  6pm-8pm

Members – Free / Non-members – $10

I’m sure, like me, you’re proud as punch of our scrappy underdog of a museum – the FMoPA.  They were just getting started with their classy new digs.  May is turning out to be quite a month for the museum.  The FMoPA is closing Warhol only to open Brassai, exhibits that should make their neighbors across Curtis Hixon park jealous.  This Friday the Andy Warhol and Friends exhibit closes with a Factory style party (presumably sans amphetamines).

Though Warhol is loved by just about every art loving and art hating person for his screen prints, he was an outstanding photographer as well.  Personally, his photographs seem to convey his ideas on fame more clearly than his large and well-known silk screens.  I’ll save the rest of the critical writing for the review.  The thrust of the preview, though, is to not underestimate Warhol’s photographs in favor of his paintings.  A stroll through the gallery will be worth the $10 admission for non-members.  Wine and hors d’oeuvre will also be served with your Warhol.

Tampa Museum of Art – A Hundred Years – A Hundred Chairs. Masterworks from the Vitra Design Museum    Sat 5/19

The TMOA‘s new exhibit will feature 100 chairs throughout 100 years from the Vitra Design Museum.  At the center of the museum’s new exhibit is “the design of the most ubiquitous of objects”.  The ubiquitous nature of chairs allows them to take on and play out the drama of modern life in a way – changing sociopolitical and aesthetic sensibilities are built into the chairs and their design changes with them.  Charles Eames’ initial use of ply wood, for example, has as much to do with war as it does with practical design.

Anyhow, I realize a lot of serious art nerds have a difficult time digging a design exhibit at an art museum.  The differences between fine art and design seem to generally lie in the context of a gallery setting.  If you’ve already seen this exhibit or photos of it you know what I mean: these chairs are displayed as and feel more like serious works of art rather than purely utilitarian objects.  Also, Saturday night at the museum is the annual Pride & Passion event.  The event kicks off St. Pete Pride each year while raising funds to the museum.  Individual tickets are $85 and a pair is $170.  Admission includes museum membership (!), food from Timpano, drinks, and entertainment.  The event draws a large crowd each year and is a major source of support for the museum.

And on the subject of museum’s…

Museum of Fine Art St. Petersburg – Global + Local: Studio and Contemporary Glass on Florida’s West Coast   Sat 5/19

Please don’t impale me when I say this:  I have a hard time getting into glass art.  I know our beautiful ‘Burg is now famous for it, but it just doesn’t move me.  In view of the fact that we’re talking about museum openings this weekend (and many of you may be into glass art), I couldn’t leave this one out.  The exhibit presents a number of glass artists including super star Dale Chihuly and local favorite Duncan McClellan.  The show coincides with a nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement.

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