News Column

Chris Herrington's Morning Riff: Last Call for 'Marisol' and more

September 3, 2014

By Chris Herrington, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

Sept. 03--Nine years in the making and organized by Brooks curator Marina Pacini, "Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper" will close its three-month run on Sunday, after which it will move on to a museum in New York City.

I finally caught up with it over the weekend and if you haven't yet I highly recommend you do so while you still have the chance.

Encompassing more than 30 works in three rooms on the Brooks' lower level, these sculptures and prints from still-living artist Marisol Escobar blend pop and folk, Latin and American, in ways that are bracing and charming

"The Family," a 1969 sculptural installation commissioned by the Brooks and brought out of storage, acts as a de facto entry point for the exhibit; it's not the first work encountered, but it's where your eye will be drawn as you enter. A neon-inflected Pop Art take on the Holy Family, it's irreverent from a distance, but sincere feeling blooms the longer you linger.

And Marisol's take on Americana is particularly striking and lively, from sardonic takes on American masculinity in near life-sized interpretations of "John Wayne" and "LBJ" to the moving wooden tableau of "The Funeral." The latter depicts the funeral procession of John Kennedy in toy-like hand-carved wood, the iconic image of young John Jr. saluting towering mournfully over it.

As part of "Marisol"'s closing week, the Brooks will host a lecture Thursday night (7 p.m.) from Rhodes Professor David McCarthy, who will discuss Marisol in the context of American sculpture of the 1960s. You can read Fredric Koeppel's review of the Marisol exhibit here.

In some ways similar -- works of wooden sculpture -- is a pair of exhibits of late regional artist Edward Perry, which Koeppel reviews this week. I haven't had a chance to visit the Perry exhibits yet, but the photographs of his work and Koeppel's provocative descriptions -- "Space Age altars, homages to unknown deities of geometry, circuitry and spirituality ... evidence of ... a sort of divine control freak running amok in his own gnarly paradise" -- has me excited to do so.

Song of the Day: Maybe "Modern Art," a 2005 track from British band Art Brut, isn't the only song about having a transportive experience at a museum or art gallery, but it's the only one I can think of. "So I'm in the Tate/And I'm looking at a Hockney/And, wow, there's something amazing about that blue/It makes me want to step outside/I want to loosen my tie/Sweet Jesus," frontman Eddie Argos "sings" in-between the song's shouted refrain: "Modern Art makes me want to rock out!" Seems appropriate for today's topics:

Final Rec: Minglewood Hall hasn't announced it yet, but yesterday hip-hop duo Run the Jewels -- Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and New York rapper/producer El-P -- announced a string of tour dates that includes an October 21st appearance at the Midtown club, which would be the Memphis debut of arguably the most interesting current act in "indie" hip-hop. Here's a taste of Run the Jewels, like most (not all) rap videos, NSFW.


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Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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