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Bearden, Guerilla Girls & More 

A Fall visual arts preview

Women in masks demonstrating with placards on a picket line. A call to artists: "PUT DOWN THE MACHINE!" and appreciate "The Art of the Tattoo Artist." A new book, Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: Illustrated History of Female Stereotypes by The Guerrilla Girls. A visit by revisionist historian and artist Faith Ringgold. Sad memories of September 11. . . all these and more are on Charlotte's visual arts radar screen this Fall.This September 11, the film september 10, 2001, uno nunca muere la vispera, by Monika Bravo, will be screened at the McColl Center for Visual Art for one day only. Shot while Bravo was an Artist-in-Residence on the 91st Floor of the World Trade Center, "hours before the tragedy of 9/11," the film is free at 721 North Tryon Street, from 11am to 4pm.

How moving. And how much! A friend told me recently that it took three whole days to show a visitor around Charlotte's art galleries! This is exciting! No longer is the art scene so sparse that you can whisk between arty locales and see all the galleries and museums in a single evening.

Some of these venues coalesce into neighborhoods -- Uptown, SouthEnd, NoDa; others, as far-flung as the Christa Faut Gallery in Cornelius, fly solo. In her Jetton Village location, Faut presents solo exhibitions from September through November, including works by the great Romare Bearden.

While up north, visit Davidson College where, with their familiar sexist aplomb, the usual suspects -- that divine trio of full-time faculty Herb Jackson, Cort Savage and Russ Warren -- feature themselves in the William H. Van Every Gallery Faculty Exhibition. Across the hall in the Edward M. Smith Gallery, the "2002-2004 Visiting Faculty Member" Ray Kleinlein will exhibit New Paintings. Both shows run August 29-October 9.

While in academia, Central Piedmont Community College Art Gallery on the CPCC central campus, reveals Artists of Baoding, People's Republic of China, opening Sunday, September 1. Together with Charlotte Sister Cities, CPCC presents Baoquan Tan, a visiting traditional Chinese watercolor artist, and Zhanliang Wu, a master calligrapher from Baoding, through September 27. Other campuses -- UNC-Charlotte, Winthrop University in Rock Hill, Queens University in Myers Park -- also provide packed and interesting schedules to make the trip worthwhile.

Academia is a sort of "neighborhood," with communal interests, but most neighborhoods are defined geographically -- like SouthEnd, Center City, and NoDa. These are still the backbone of our city's art scene.

Our art excursion in Center City finds the many-splendored Charlotte Shout, a joint effort by corporate folk to enliven an already lively uptown, continuing through October 12. At TransAmerica Square, a pair of classy uptown art galleries include Hodges Taylor Gallery, one of Charlotte's longest running art emporia at 401 N. Tryon Street, and, in the same building but fronting Tryon Street, the sophisticated lady that is Noel Gallery exhibits David Driskell's paintings, from September 13 through October 29.

"Posters and handbills created during the heyday of the Haight-Ashbury music scene" provide the source of Feelin Groovy: Rock and Roll Graphics, 1966-1970, at Gallery L in the Main Library on 310 N. Tryon Street from October 20 through December 1. Nearby, the Levine Museum of the New South shows Carolina Victorian and Vanishing Victorians, on view through October 6 at 200 E. Seventh Street.

A good reason to go to The Light Factory, 809 West Hill Street, is to see Linda Samuels' Mobile Studio, an innovative escapade across the country with architecture students from UNCC. This opens with a reception and Gallery Talk on Saturday, August 24, from 6 to 9pm.

Still uptown, and reading like a circus flier, The Hart-Witzen Gallery at 611 W. 5th Street by the tracks proclaims: "PUT DOWN THE MACHINE! Three floors of amazing cutting edge artwork in all mediums by a dazzling array of the world's top tattoo professionals. . .the ENTIRE month of September!"

This time last year, the McColl Center for Visual Arts still bore its ordinary ole humdrum "Tryon" name. With its new moniker, it's even more of a happening place. In November, the McColl Center will bring The Guerrilla Girls to Charlotte, when two of the subversive masked Girls will give a talk/presentation (in full jungle drag?) for "about an hour and a half," followed by a question (and, presumably, an answer) period.

But first, New York artist Faith Ringgold arrives for the debut of the Visual Art Speaker Series, co-sponsored by the Mint Museum of Art, on September 5. "Art Talks with Faith Ringgold" will be held from 7-8:30pm in Duke Power Theater at Spirit Square, 345 North College Street.

The major Spirit Square show of the Fall is Celebrating the Legacy of Romare Bearden, an exhibition organized by the Mint Museum of Art and co-sponsored by McColl Center for Visual Art. Everyone is invited to celebrate with a Public Opening, on September 27, from 6 to 8pm in Spirit Square's Knight Gallery.

Still on Tryon Street, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design will offer a "break from the office" to "expand your mind" at 12noon on Wednesday, September 18, for a free Gallery Talk: Moving Upwards: The Vertical Trend in Sculptural Craft. Call to reserve space and to purchase-order a Box Lunch. Get details at

Trizechahn Office Properties bases their exhibition in Bank of America Plaza on the concept of Space, Structure, and Vision, with a series of strong three-dimensional elements. Curated by Joie Lassiter, this runs through November 15 in the black glass building on the Square.

Waiting for Gallery W.D.O. to reopen its well-designed doors? It's slated to happen this September at the new Hearst Plaza location next to the Craft and Design Museum, and it will be graced with Rick Beck's cast glass sculpture, In the Gardens, and Valerie Beck's painted and blown glass Totems.

Round the corner, College Street Microcosm Art Gallery brings their light to the bar scene at Cosmos Cafe. Colorful Nature, an exhibition of 20 recent acrylics by Daniel Sztyber, is on view there from September 1 through October 5.

Going down Tryon Street from uptown takes you to the SouthEnd neighborhood where you can make merry at the second Art and Soul of SouthEnd block party on October 5. Along with art and craft sales and demos, Art and Soul will offer consistently good coffee at Queen's Beans; assorted food vendors (including a beer-tasting); children's activities; an "urban market" with antiques; and "sound stages." Art and Soul is but one Camden Road block long. . .but it'll be packed.

At MyersArt in SouthEnd, you can find fine clay art, including the work of Charlotte ceramist Tim Peeples, a commercial artist who says that when he tried ceramics classes at CPCC, "I tore it, dropped it, and pulled it apart." Then he Raku-fired it and the results are a wonder -- fragile, delicate as a lotus blossom floating on a garden pond.

Other fine galleries in SouthEnd, all with full fall schedules, are Hidell Brooks Gallery, Applewood Gallery, and ElderArt Gallery.

Out in the "burbs, The Mint Museum of Art hosts Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection and Charlotte's Own: Romare Bearden, from August 24 through October 27. The venue also presents Visually Speaking - Informal Gallery Talks. For further information, contact Susan Perry at 337-2032.

In Morrocroft, Jerald Melberg Gallery features more wonderful Romare Bearden collages, watercolors and prints. And the nearby SouthPark Mall itself is the site for a Peter Max exhibit, Pop to Patriotism, at Wentworth Galleries from September 7 through the month.

NoDa, the North Davidson Street neighborhood, is no SouthPark (thank goodness), but it is a case study in gentrification. Some of the most innovative, strong and successful Charlotte area art galleries are there, including The Blue Pony and Center of the Earth Gallery, both located on North Davidson Street. In September and October, Center of the Earth will feature Christopher Stephens: Paintings of the Shenandoah Valley and High Voltage, a collection of lightboxes by Louis St. Lewis. The artist will also have a special showing at Mythos on October 4 at 10pm. In November and December, the gallery will feature new work by Maggie Taylor consisting of symbolic images using photography and computer-generated imagery. Pat's Time for One More may be gone, but Friday night art in Noda will still warm our minds on cool fall evenings.

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