March finally lived up to its promise of warmer weather, and along with it the Metro art scene has come out of hibernation with a very busy and diverse group of exhibits worth a look-see and some face time, even if you missed the openings.
Reader’s dedicated group of fine and visual arts writers, Laura Vranes, Eddith Buis, Joel Damon and myself (Mary Day is currently in “hibernation” preparing for a summer show of her own at MONA in Kearney) will be covering the following shows in March either in online reviews or in this column along with other items: the Riley CAP show at Joslyn, iROZEALb, Lynn Piper at Modern Arts Midtown and Victoria Hoyt at RNG Gallery in Council Bluffs, all of which can be found at thereader.com.
Additional exhibits worthy of your attention include Derrick Courtney at Sweatshop in Benson, Dundee Gallery’s 7th year anniversary exhibit, Jennie Homan at Sunderland Gallery, a special March Escape at the Artists’ Co-op Gallery in the Old Market and a very fine exhibit of new work by Christina Narwicz at Creighton’s Lied Gallery.
But arguably the most significant exhibit on the radar opens this week at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. Mary Mattingly’s Flock House: Omaha opens this Thursday, Mar. 13 at 6 p.m. with an artist talk at 7 p.m. Bemis is no stranger to advocacy art and community building through hands-on developing artist projects and Flock House: Omaha will be no exception.
Anyone who recalls past Bemis audience participation exhibits organized by former curator Hesse McGraw, such as (402) Dis Connect/Re Connect in 2009, understands the institution’s commitment to bringing artist and viewer together in an ongoing process for the benefit of all. The above was KC artist Matthew Dehaemer’s attempt to engage Omaha in it’s own telemarketing performance, scheme or stunt, and it worked on several levels. As Dehaemer told me in my review of this challenging, mind-altering installation, “The only thing I’m selling is Omaha.”
Mattingly’s installation/project is even more ambitious as it purposes to create “a revolutionary urban living experience for Omaha” beginning with an active research hub in Bemis’ public gallery and a series of workshops in May. In June, Flock Houses will be installed outside Bemis and at the Carver Bank in North Omaha for local artists to inhabit as exemplars for “better urban living” just as Mattingly accomplished in New York City in 2012.
The entire Flock House project culminates August 16—more on this in a later column or story-- but if you want in on the ground floor, catch the hub, bub opening this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Bemis.
--Michael J. Krainak