The coming, mercifully cooler months bring with them a full schedule of must-sees in Metro museums and galleries. With something to intrigue everyone, this autumn offerings are filled with solo shows by artists new and familiar as well as a number of thought-provoking group endeavors.
The Kaneko contributed to Omaha’s splashy summer re-opening of the Gene Leahy Mall by partnering with the MECA and the International Sculpture Center to facilitate the long-term loan of 5 major sculptures. To that end, the venue will be hosting solo shows in coming years highlighting each artist’s work, beginning with Richard Hunt, considered the most influential living African-American sculptor. “MONUMENTAL” will underscore the ways Hunt explores the narrative of African culture—its historical origins and global movement—through large-scale, abstract public artworks. Additionally, work by Chicago artist Faheem Majeed and Omaha artists Sarah Rowe and Charles Kay Jr. will be included. (opening Soirée, October 7; exhibited through Feb. 5)
As does Kaneko, the Bemis Center looks forward to its annual fall fundraiser, the Benefit Art Auction. Beginning Oct. 1, art is available to view online, with the exhibition open to the public starting Oct. 15 and culminating in the auction on Oct. 28. From Dec. 8-Apr. 16, visitors will see two shows, the solo “Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand,” interweaving textiles with her ceramic and painting practice, and the group effort “Opulence: Performative Wealth and the Failed American Dream,” examining America’s obsession with wealth and the ways its lavish display shapes class, race, and gender.
Two venues will be recognizing the late Omaha artist Wanda Ewing. The Union for Contemporary Art, whose gallery space is dedicated in her honor, will be hosting “Growing up Black, Growing up Wanda” from Oct. 15-Dec. 17, including many early pieces where her interest in giving voice to African-American women began taking on the biting, comical and often autobiographical edge associated with her mature work. Then from Oct.14-Nov. 26, the Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery will exhibit “Wanda Ewing + 4,” with Ewing’s prints alongside those of Wangechi Mutu, Allison Saar, Sandra Vasquez de la Horra and an area artist to be named soon.
Printmaking is also a fall feature at El Museo Latino, with a show of “José Guadalupe Posada Prints” (Sept. 15-Feb. 18) and “Guatemala Painting and Prints” (Sept. 10-December). Nineteenth-century Mexican artist Posada is revered for his delightful and skewering political prints, and for his iconic calavera (skeleton) images for the Day of the Dead that remain recognizable to all today.
Gallery 1516 goes all-in on large group shows this season. First up is the “UNO School of the Arts Faculty & Staff” exhibition (Sept. 16-Oct. 15), a new biennial showcase in partnership with the UNO Art Gallery. Then in November, 1516 kicks off a new medium-centric subset within its biennial format, this one featuring photography and open to artists from Nebraska and its six contiguous states. Jurors will be April and Diego Uchitel.
Nebraska Arts Council’s Fred Simon Gallery, at the foot of the newly designed Leahy Mall, will showcase the work of Atiim Jones (Sept.16-Nov. 9). Jones’ particular brand of street photography has been focused on the Old Market and has become a larger documentary project on this busy urban crossroads. Gabriella Quiroz is next up (Nov. 18-Jan. 11), with a show featuring her photorealistic dive into nature’s bounty through painting and colored pencil drawing.
Creighton’s Medical Humanities program continues to partner with area galleries, this time with the Lied Gallery at Creighton to exhibit “Jeff Hanson: Changing the World Through Art” (Sept. 6-Oct. 7). The late Kansas native Hanson was a visually impaired teen when he began creating bright, heavily textured paintings whose sales he turned into an inspiring model for philanthropy. Students in the program will create their own designs inspired by Hanson’s work to accompany the show. “Katie B. Temple: Building A Home” (Oct. 21-Nov. 20) presents new work by the Omaha painter known best for infusing images of domestic architecture with a sense of memory and animation.
At UNO’s Art Gallery, “Resilience” is the rubric bringing together artists Anita Fields, Lydia Cheshewalla, Reyna Hernandez and Sarah Rowe (Oct.10-Nov. 10). Representing the diversity of contemporary Indigenous cultures, they explore themes of nature, transformation and resilience.
In Elkhorn, Metro Community College’s campus gallery introduces the art of Wayne State University professor Margi Weir. “Bearing Witness” (Sept. 14-Oct. 12) features pictographic paintings and large-scale vinyl installations responding to political, social and environmental situations. On the opposite end of the Metro, look for patternist Patty Talbert and friends to help fill the 4th floor gallery of the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center in Council Bluffs, with an opening TBD in October.
Project Project has a busy schedule this fall, beginning with Vinton Street regular Shawn Teseo Ballarin (opening Sept. 9), followed by “Stephen & the Gang,” a sensory group show (opens Oct. 14) featuring Stephen Kavanaugh’s work alongside individuals with disabilities through his involvement with the nonprofit AngelWorks. Hannah Demma’s naturalist installations with their colorful party-store aesthetic will enliven November (opening on the 11th), followed by the bio-centric paintings and drawings of Amanda Durig and Patricia Davis (opens Dec. 9). Elsewhere on Vinton, Generator Space will pair Pamela Conyers-Hinson and Ilaamen Pelshaw in “The Beauty of Color” (Sept. 9-Oct. 14) and give over the space to Sarah Rowe in November and December.
Benson First Friday’s large umbrella now includes three of its own visual arts venues, with shows opening the first Friday of each month. At Petshop, guest curator Whitney Stevens will pair with a public art installation for the September feature, followed by Shawnequa Linder’s paintings in October and interdisciplinary sculptor Morgan Fields in November. At BFF Gallery, “Futures,” open to visual and performance artists 18 and under, is the September showcase; the Unceded Art Collective of contemporary Native American artists follows in October, and Jenny Marie’s surrealist portraiture is up in November. MaMO Gallery will host the work of recent artists-in-residence Travis Apel, (Sener) Jose Trujillo and (Sedra) Daniel Castaneda (Oct. 21-Nov.11).
Finally, don’t forget to check out the busy schedule at Hot Shops highlighting the work of several of its studio artists. The latest installment of “Expressions in Fiber Art” runs from Sept. 2-25, followed by the “Hopeful Impressions” Midwest Lampworker’s Guild show, Sept. 30-Oct. 29. James Freeman will curate “Heaven, Hell and Everything In-Between,” opening Nov. 5, which promises to be richly eclectic and eccentric.