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Preview: Arkansas Times: Slideshow

Slideshow, Arkansas Times

Daily Arkansas news, politics and entertainment. Featuring the state's most trusted blog, dining guides and dining reviews, movie times and more.

Published: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:01 -0500

Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:00:00 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2018 Arkansas Times. All rights reserved. This RSS file is offered to individuals, Arkansas Times readers, and non-commercial organizations only. Any commercial websites wishing to use this RSS file, please contact Arkansas Times.

Don't forget to get your Arkansas on, at Arkansas Made

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 16:05:00 -0500

(image) Dine on grilled brats, throw back a bloody Mary and make the rounds tomorrow at the second annual Arkansas Made-Arkansas Proud Market tomorrow at War Memorial Stadium.

More than 120 jewelry and jam makers, chocolate purveyors and quilt sellers, makers of meat rubs and organic dog treats, printmakers and T-shirts designers, all celebrating the Natural State, will showcase their handmade, homegrown delights. 

You'll need a rest between booths, so Arkansas Made has lined up music by Keith Sykes at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Other libations, including Diamond Bear beer and Rocktown Distillery vodka cocktails, and other chow will be available.

Admission is $5; children 5 and under can get in free. The rain should have moved out, but if the field is wet, find the event on the concourse. It's all good.

Styx, REO Speedwagon and Don Felder at Verizon Arena: A Review and Slideshow

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:48:00 -0500

I’m a sucker for outfit watching, especially at classic rock concerts. Last night, Verizon Arena swarmed with normcore looks, with the occasional epic rattail and white denim Madonna jacket. I pondered the display of careful confidence before me, soaking up the beauty that is the fashion of The Arkansas Dad and the tweens he dragged along with him. The bands never disappoint on the fashion front, and this was especially evident in Don Felder’s tight leather pants. As he strummed his double-neck guitar during “Hotel California,” the conforming pants did their job of showing each muscle used to demi plié while squeezing all the oomph out of those lilting riffs. Overall, I thought his set was a little slow yet still a real crowd pleaser. He played the songs all 3,632 of us knew and loved (or knew and didn’t love but couldn’t seem to shake, knowing all the words and singing right along anyway.) I had never really come to terms with the fact that I’m a 29-year-old bonafide Styx fan until I caught myself scream-singing “Lady” at the top of my lungs along with Lawrence Gowan. I guiltily looked around at my nodding neighbors when James Young asked the crowd if we remembered Clyde Clifford of the Chicago Little Rock radio station KAAY, who was the first to play the band on air in 1973. It doesn’t matter, though, that I wasn’t alive in the '70s to discover Styx in their heyday, because they had me feeling like both a freak and a geek during “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade” and Tommy Shaw belting their newest tune, “Radio Silence.” A personal best for me during the night was then Lawrence Gowan paid tribute to Queen and asked the crowd singers for help with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” My eyes lit up, I delightedly answered his request and my heart was full. I'm mentioning Lawrence Gowan a lot; last night as he was prancing and twirling with reckless abandon I realized that we are kindred spirits, he and I. I hope I can take this newfound epiphany and go forward in my everyday life with as much zeal as his stage persona effected. One thing left to be desired from Styx’s set was “Mr. Roboto.” It would have been nice to hear the bizarre tune and do the dance I spent most of yesterday prepping to do. The night rounded off with REO Speedwagon, whose energy was not as electrifying as Styx, but a smooth finish to a great night nonetheless. There’s been a resurgence of cool 80s rock recently and I was not so surprised that my fellow millennials seated behind me were singing along to “Keep on Loving You,” “Take It On The Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” I won’t stop going to classic rock concerts, and I’m lucky to have such a great venue for them here in Little Rock. I attribute my love for classic rock to being reared on radio stations; Magic 105, The Point 94.1. I’ll leave you with a question: is it any wonder I’m not crazy? Is it any wonder I’m sane at all? [...]

DeFrance at Verizon Arena: A Slideshow

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:34:00 -0500

Here's to Jon Bon Jovi for booking local rockers and road warriors DeFrance, to open his Little Rock show Tuesday night at Verizon Arena, part of Bon Jovi's "This House Is Not For Sale" tour.

Our staff photographer Brian Chilson was on the floor to catch some of the show. 

The American melting pot: See it in the newly hung galleries at Crystal Bridges

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:11:00 -0500

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has rehung its Early American galleries that Director Rod Bigelow says better reflects "the complexity of the American story," combining works from across the centuries. Beaded Native American cradleboards find a home next to a 19th-century scene of children; George Washington is paired with the moving — literally — portrait of a bearded, blue-eyed guy in camo and a knit hat. One room is hung salon-style, with paintings from all periods (stacked atop each other, to give you that French, I'm-in-Gertrude- Stein's-living-room feel, portraits on one wall, still lifes on another. The galleries were open for a press preview today, now that they are complete. Visitors could enter the galleries up until today, but without the benefit of context that the labels provided and with some installations — including the Nari Ward's terrific 28-foot piece, "We the People" spelled out in strings of multicolored thread — still being completed. The redo is the result, Bigelow says in a press release, two years ago, after "conversations with our community and peers about making our galleries more inclusive and engaging.” The galleries now have names like "People on the Move," "Networks and Power" and "Painters of Modern Life," names spelled out in both English and Spanish. Labels accompanying the artworks — there are 185 objects in the Early American galleries — are also bilingual, which is pretty wonderful in a part of Arkansas with a large Hispanic population. Twenty-five of the works are on loan from other museums. The news release quotes Curator Mindy Besaw: “In these galleries, works reflect the beauty, complexity, and contradiction that comprise American art and stories both past and present. To better represent multiple perspectives and experiences, we’ve borrowed Native American art, folk art, and Spanish Colonial art from other museums and private collections. In addition, we’re including artwork and objects that offer a few surprises along the way — helping visitors to see their favorites in a new light and reconsider American art and experience.” Some of the borrowed pieces include a prehistoric head pot from the University of Arkansas Museum Collection, which you'll find along with Peale's "George Washington," and Spanish Colonial works, including a portrait from Cuba, on loan from the Denver Art Museum in the "Networks and Power" area. Starting tomorrow, a gallery space within the Early American galleries will rotate works from the collection twice a year. The first "show" will be "How Do You Figure?", 35 works focusing on the human figure. Another space, called "The Niche," will feature "behind-the-scenes" information, debuting with the designer's process for choosing the paint colors on the gallery walls. A focused exhibition space within the first Early American Art Gallery will feature rotating artworks twice a year, opening with How Do You Figure? on view March 16 through August 20, 2018. The works in this exhibition are from the permanent collection and span the 1700s to today, offering a variety of approaches, styles, and media for depicting the human body. The examples are rich and varied, from fully finished paintings to preliminary sketches and feature many artworks on view for the first time. Comprised of 35 works, the exhibition offers visitors a chance to explore the complexities of process and anatomy. See the full press release for more information on the jump. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Unveils Newly Designed Early American Art Galleries 3/15/2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Bentonville, Ark.– Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art previews its redesigned Early American Art Galleries, which have been closed since January while updates were underway. The newly designed permanent collection spaces will open on March 16, marking the first r[...]

Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo win 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 17:23:00 -0500

(image) Congratulations to the winner of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo!

Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, added to the showcase as the "wild card" band (the band who didn't win their semifinalist round but scored the highest in the remaining pool of semifinalists) took home the title with top marks from our judges Robert Locke, vocalist for the Los Angeles-based band Farmikos, and also co-owner and founder of Shindig Music, an online guide to music entertainment for Arkansas and the Mid-South; Sarah Woolf, dedicated local music fan and creator of Follow the Woolf; Dazzmin (Dazz) Murry, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter in Dazz & Brie and The Emotionalz and master of the hard crouch; Brie Boyce, the "Brie" vocal powerhouse half of Dazz & Brie, last year's showcase champions and guest judge Bob Tarren, chief marketing officer for Murphy Arts District and El Dorado Festivals & Events.

Jamie Lou Connolly and her band will take home: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at Patio on Park Hill 2018, a live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at a reinvented Riverfest, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more.

Check out the slideshow and videos of stellar performances from all five finalists, courtesy of our photographer Brian Chilson: Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, Recognizer, Couch Jackets, The Rios and Sabine Valley.

Beth Ditto at Rev Room: A Slideshow

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 10:41:00 -0600

Beth Ditto, the Judsonia native and former frontwoman for Gossip, kicked off a tour in support of her full-length solo debut "Fake Sugar" with a show last night at the Rev Room. Ditto is clearly in stellar vocal shape, as she proved on her new tracks ("Fire," "Oh My God," "We Could Run" and the sweet, delicate "Clouds") and on older Gossip songs ("Love Long Distance," "Standing in the Way of Control"). She was effusive about her roots in rural Arkansas, her skilled bandmates, her fans, her fellow White County queer movers and shakers (House of Avalon, specifically) and most notably, her family. A velvet roped section seeming to contain the whole of Beth Ditto's living family tree served as the focal point for her anecdotes, affection and general gushing - sometimes mid-phrase in song.

At one point, Ditto handed the microphone to the fans at the footlights and asked them to "pass this to my brother." (They did. He sang. Clearly, the good vocal genes didn't make their way to Beth's DNA alone.) The show ended with Beth and her mother duetting on "Grandma's Feather Bed," hand in hand.

Sans Gossip, with her name writ large on a stage banner in that bell-bottom print every classic country album used in the seventies, Ditto is in her element. Maybe it's being billed as a solo artist that's allowed her to shed any sense of being beholden to a band's collective identity? Or maybe it was all those rainbow sequins. Either way, Ditto's performance last night was supremely connected to the audience and utterly sincere, as if she's given herself full permission to embrace the Dolly Parton-esque, razzle-dazzle bits of her stage persona that come so naturally to her.

Recognizer wins round four of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:39:00 -0600

And Round 4 of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase goes to: Recognizer! They'll join The Rios, Couch Jackets and Sabine Valley at the finals at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9. The winner of that final round receives: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at Patio on Park Hill 2018, live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at a reinvented Riverfest, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more. Here's a rundown of last night's show with comments from our four judges; Sarah Woolf of the "Follow the Woolf" series; Robert Locke of Shindig Music; J. Bradley Minnick of KUAR's "Arts & Letters"; Mike Poe, Little Rock filmmaker and director of the documentary film "TC and Me, a Little Rock-umentary," the story of the late, legendary rocker TC Edwards; and Christopher Terry, host of "Tomorrow's Dream" on KABF FM 88.3, events coordinator at Vino's Brewpub and glass-shattering vocalist of Rwake, Deadbird and Iron Tongue. And check out the slideshow from our photographer Brian Chilson, who was on the floor to catch the evening's performances. Mortalus Judge's Comments: "Down a man and just kept rockin." "I love the twin guitar leads. Very Maiden." "Badass performance! Incredibly impressed with the bass player/drummer overcoming the adverse [car] accident and still having such an incredibly full sound." "Bass player moved to drums just for the show! And the original drummer has staples in his head. Metal!" "The lead vocalist has a phenomenal range and is one helluva shredder too." The Inner Party Judge's Comments: "Great band. Sounds like an old 4AD label band." "Felt like that scene from 'Pretty in Pink' when they're at the freaky New Wave club. Nice job." "Like the name suggests, the band seems like they're a part of an Inner Party only they know about." "Like no other band in the showcase." "And then they bust out a saxophone." "I think this band keeps the 'mesh' loose but doesn't have very many weak spots in the chain mail." "Wildly diverse riffs, and the vocals make it hard to label the sound which is a plus in the music world." DeFrance Judge's Comments: 'Even if you don't know the song. it feels familiar. Like your dad used to rock it in the Dodge Dart." "They are insanely talented and play their instruments like extra limbs attached to their bodies." "Roll down the windows and turn this up." "HOLY GUITARS!" "DeFrance has that soulful southern blues-rock sound that clearly gives Creedence to their muddy Ark. waters background." "Amazing guitars and they are tight as fuck! Put them on tour with ZZ Top fast!" Recognizer Judge's Comments: "Pro. Seasoned. Completely dialed in." "Fantastic band. Win or lose, they're gonna do just fine." 'With a voice like Mike's, it is hard to listen to the newest incarnation of his sound/band without the nostalgia of the previous amazing bands he led, but he consistently steps to the microphone with another brilliant creation....." 'These dudes are tight as 80s Spandex worn three days in a row. I bet they have, like, four practices a week." [...]

Sabine Valley wins round three of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:47:00 -0600

And Round 3 of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase goes to: Sabine Valley! We've got another great lineup for Round 4. You can check out the schedule here. And come out this Thursday, February 22 to Stickyz, to see who will join The Rios, Couch Jackets and Sabine Valley at the finals at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9. The winner of that final round receives: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at Patio on Park Hill 2018, live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more. Here's a rundown of last night's show with comments from our four judges; Sarah Woolf of the "Follow the Woolf" series, Robert Locke of Shindig Music, J. Bradley Minnick of KUAR's "Arts & Letters," Drew Pickens and our guest judge for the night, host of the latest "Nasty Women" comedy showcase, Willow Wheeler. Sabine Valley Judge's comments: "Lead singer owns it. Fugazi, Garbage, Pavement-y." "Jesus, these kids are how old? Very impressive." "Nice crowd enthusiasm and support." "She owned the stage and possibly the night." "That lead singer is a live wire and I am loving it. Gives me Sleater-Kinney meets Bikini Kill vibes." Crankbait Judge's comments: "Solid, dark metal." "These guys have earned their place in the Central Arkansas music scene. So influential and respected." "The introduction of a synth into a genre that would otherwise shun it is a great touch." "These guys just scared half the crowd. Somewhere the Devil is proud." All the Way Korean Judge's comments: "P.I.L. Public Image Limited. Commanded the stage with cool bass lines. Points for suits." "Best showmanship of the night." "Professional musicians. These guys know and love what they're doing." "Spa City dance punk with a late 70s London filter. Nice." Deep Sequence Judge's comments: "Hella groove. Vintage tones." "Can't wait to be out on a festival field this summer in the sunshine, cold drink in my hand dancing to this band." "This is definitely something I could jam to. I think if you made it a little more synth heavy and experimental you could have done something nobody has ever heard before." "Tight. Funky. Solid at every turn." [...]

Couch Jackets win round two of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 15:40:00 -0600

All hail your groovy winners of Round 2 of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase: Couch Jackets. Next week we've got another great lineup for Round 3, you can check out the schedule here. And keep coming out every Thursday in February to Stickyz, to see who will join The Rios (your Round 1 winners) and Couch Jackets at the finals at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9. Let's list again the wonderful plunder of the winner of that final round: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more. Here's a rundown of last night's show with comments and videos from our four judges; Sarah Woolf, Robert Locke, Dazzmin Murry, Brie Boyce and our guest judge for the night, Mandy McBryde. Make sure to check out the slideshow at the bottom with all the photos. Ten Penny Gypsy Judges' comments: “They complement each other very well! Musically and vocally. Buddy Love plucked the hell out of those strings! Rock on!!” “Opening song was soul food — took me right back to my Southern Baptist roots” “Making magic with those guitars! Ahh! [insert praise hands emoji]” “Feel-good front porch revival tunes. It’s obvious they really “One of the best bands in Arkansas … period!” “I felt that song in my whole soul. Yassss, Jamie Lou & the Hullabaloo, yasss!” “They are a real band knocking on the door to the next level; they’re ready. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.” “Love how she goes from a lilting Judy Garland to full-on Joplin-esque wild child within the same song.” Yuni Wa Judges' comments: “This guy is great. I could jam this all day.” “Sonically crispyyyy!” [...]

John Newman retrospective, at Art Ventures

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:07:00 -0600

For folks in Fayetteville, a trip to Art Ventures (nee Fayetteville Underground, 101 Mountain St.) is in order to see the gallery's retrospective of works by University of Arkansas emeritus art professor John Newman. It's a rare opportunity to see Newman's work, which has been exhibited in Little Rock and numerous other places but which you won't find on the internet. I deeply regret not buying a Newman silkscreen (as I recall) print exhibited at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean several years ago: It was an image of African-American children looking through a barbed-wire fence at children interned at Rohwer. (Newman lived in Rohwer until he was 5; in 2006, he and former Minidoka, Idaho, internee Roger Shimomura collaborated for the show, "Views from Both Sides of the Barbed Wire Fence" at the Baum Gallery at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.)

Newman taught at the U of A from 1990 to 2013. His artist's statement:

"I consider myself an artist whose work is a commentary on social issues and social circumstances. These come from my own memories, talking with my family and friends who understand my own life, reaching out to individuals who are very different from me but may have parallel circumstances to which I can relate, and responding to societal constructs and norms that affect me. I have attempted in my work to capture people's candid emotional circumstances and situations, including my own."
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Phone is 479-439-8641.

A peek at 'Soul of a Nation' and plans to travel there, too

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:01:00 -0600

The Arkansas Times is planning to take the Art Bus to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville to see the new exhibition, "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power," from the Tate Museum, London. The American tour debuts in Arkansas. We'll go up for the day on March 10; tickets are $119 and include food, drink, fun and something really special: the expertise of tour guide Garbo Hearne, owner of Hearne Fine Art.

So here's a peek at the show. Note the photograph by Adger Cowans: You can see more of this photographer's work right here in Little Rock, at Hearne Fine Art. Cowans will be at the gallery for 2nd Friday Art Night from 5-8 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 9, and give a talk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase: Round 1

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 14:42:00 -0600

Congratulations to The Rios, winners of the first round of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase! Check out the schedule of upcoming semifinalist rounds here, and make plans to be at Stickyz any (or every) Thursday night in February to hear the next three rounds of competition. The Rios, along with the winners of each of those semifinal rounds and a "wild card" winner (the top-scoring semifinalist who did not win their particular semifinal round) will advance to the final round, to be held at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9. The winner of that final round will be named the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase champion, and will receive a prize package including: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more. Here's a quick recap of the night, with videos and comments from our four judges; Sarah Woolf, Robert Locke, Dazzmin Murry, Brie Boyce and our guest judge for the night, Stephen Neeper. The Rios Judges' comments: "Solid all the way around. Songs are good and the musicianship is on point." "This is a band I would seek out to see again. Can't wait for their EP." "These guys just feel good. Bass player is killer. love the jazz/blues chord progressions." "I do wish they had keys and maybe even horns. That would put this band over the top IMHO. My personal favorite of the night." 'Bassist is filling all the holes with magic and he's fun to watch. ... Can't wait to hear album." Laith Judges' comments: "Kept me wanting to hear more, and to dig into their EP." 'I do like that they showed some musicianship with the little snippet of the jazz deal they did between songs. if there were a way to incorporate that with the early 2000s thing they've got going on, that would be killer!" "Nice layering in your songwriting." "Drummer on vocals: total surprise!" "Drum transition and synth = sick." "Singer is sincere in her delivery which comes across. When they mesh they are a tight unit." Black River Pearl Judges' comments: "Straight to the point rock and roll." "This is a Little Rock bar band and they're okay with that." 'Silly lyrics, but I wanna dance." "Is this frontman [Scott] Diffie's first cousin or something??! He's like Diffee with a filter!" "Strong sound collectively. Would like to hear more variation in lyrics and composition." "Big sound for just a three piece." Princeaus Judges' comments: "Tracks are dope. Good energy. reminds me of my favorite levels of Donkey Kong." "The most ambitious artist of the night." "You seem so free on stage. Never lose that!" "Definitely taking me to the Twilight Zone. Trippy, man!" Check out the photographs of the evening from Vince Griffin and Brian Chilson, and stay tuned to Rock Candy for an introduction to our panel of judges. [...]

Becoming aware of John Marin, at the Arkansas Arts Center

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 12:14:00 -0600

John Marin’s watercolors are so atmospheric that if you have only seen them online or even in a book, they might seem a bit insubstantial, lacking in punch. But thanks to two years of work, both in the conservation of the Arkansas Arts Center’s collection of works on paper by the artist and because of painstaking research into the artist, the exhibition “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work” that opened Friday at the Arts Center shows these modernist works to be as powerful as they are ethereal. In 2008, Norma B. Marin, the artist’s daughter-in-law, promised a gift of 290 works on paper owned by the family to the Arts Center. (She approached the Arts Center at the suggestion of curators at the National Gallery, which received more than 900 prints and drawings.) The promise became reality in 2013, and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Windgate Charitable Foundation and private donors allowed the Arts Center to conserve the drawings and watercolors. The Windgate Foundation also made it possible for the Arts Center to hire curator of drawings Ann Prentice Wagner, whose scholarly research on George O’Keeffe and the Steiglitz group of artists made her a perfect person to put together “Becoming John Marin.” Wagner selected 79 works, including a newly acquired Marin, for this exhibit and managed to obtain the loans of 33 significant Marin drawings, paintings and etchings from the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which has the country’s largest collection of Marin etchings), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and other major collections to match them. This is not a small, breeze-through show. It fills both the Jeannette Rockefeller and Townsend Wolfe galleries with works created between 1888 and 1952. Fortunately, it’s free, so one can return time and again to soak it all in. It is surprising to recall that modernism was the metier of artists born in the 1800s.  Marin was born in New Jersey in 1870; there are two little watercolors in the show that he made as an 18-year-old. And though these works clearly intimate the artist he would become, he was not “an early bloomer” on the American art scene, Wagner said. Marin spent his 20s and 30s drawing and studying architecture and art; he moved to Paris at age 35, selling etchings to tourists but still unsure of his career. It was there that photographer and painter Edward Steichen saw his work and decided to arrange a one-man show at the New York gallery 291, founded by photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in 1909. Four years later, Marin’s work was chosen for the famed Armory Show of 1913, credited with introducing European modernism to America with such works as cubist Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” and impressionist Henri Matisse’s “Blue Nude.” Cubism began to insinuate itself into Marin’s (and everyone else’s) work, combining with the artist’s own passion for movement, rhythm and line. In "Becoming John Marin" we see finely rendered city buildings, such as St. Paul’s Chapel in lower Manhattan, devolve into sketchy, animated foregrounds; quirky pink nudes against a Cubist sea; gestural landscapes; lines drawn in the dark of the circus tent capturing the action of aerialists. Sketches of bears and lions at the Central Park Zoo, a painting of a dead bear. Portraits of his Maine neighbor. A roiling sea that recalls Japanese art; jittery images that recall the work of his contemporary, Charles Burchfield. Marin’s palettes are sometimes brilliant, sometimes subdued, his color applied both in washes and opaque, but untamed, oil. Marin became draftsman, painter, architect, abstractionist and mode[...]

The Women's March open line

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:44:00 -0600

Here's an open line for you and some early shots from Women's March events around the country.

Big crowds reported in both Little Rock and Fayetteville, in addition to the crowd on the National Mall in Washington.

From Little Rock, video from our Facebook page and after that a shot from Twitter in behalf of Moms Demand Action (on sensible gun safety legislation)

Hey, hey, ho, ho, the crowd chants, Donald Trump has got to go.

And, below, photos from my friend Beth Coger marching in Fayetteville.

2018 Small Prints: Big show at ASU

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:08:00 -0600

The "2018 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition," a juried show of contemporary small printmaking by artists from across the country, opens today with 60 works in four galleries at Arkansas State University's Bradbury Art Museum with a 5 p.m. reception.

Also opening are "Spatial Differences," painting and sculpture by Robyn Horn, in the Stella Boyle Smith Gallery, and "Wizards and War Games," black oil paint on the reverse of acrylic panels by ASU Professor Emeritus John Keech, in the Vaughn Gallery.

The yearly exhibition was conceived by retired ASU printmaking professor and Arkansas Artist Laureate Evan Lindquist in 1996. Several cash awards are made; they have not yet been announced.

DNSP Juror Mary Weaver Chapin, curator of prints and drawings at the Portland Art Museum, provided a juror’s statement:

“Confined to an image size not to exceed 24 by 32 inches, the participants of the DNSPE must create powerful graphic statements in just 768 square inches. Fortunately, artists — and, in my opinion, printmakers in particular — often thrive and excel in the face of boundaries, working within (or pushing against) the parameters of the medium or dimensions. I am delighted to report that the 2018 DNSPE artists rose to this challenge with exceptional grace.”
ASU Gallery Director Les Christianson also passed along artist statements; the following is from Horn, who is both woodworker and painter:

“Moving back and forth from 2D paintings to 3D sculpture gives me a perspective in realizing the differences in spatial dimensions. The geometry and textural qualities are very similar, but the paintings give me more opportunities to explore than the sculptures do, enriching both areas of my creativity.”

 Keech says the following:
“My pictures are a type of surrealism. I draw and imprint images on plexiglass. The paintings are peculiar and unearthly, but they are also compelling and persuasive.”

All three exhibitions will continue through Feb. 21. BAM hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Thursday; 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and by appointment. 

You can see last year's DNSP here.

Slideshow: Katy Perry at Verizon Arena

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 12:36:00 -0600

(image) Katy Perry performed at Verizon Arena last night. There were bipedal sharks, shoulder pads for days, gaseous planets and dancers with televisions for heads, and our photographer Brian Chilson was there to catch some of it. 

Citizens group protests GOP congressional tax plan at Arkansas Capitol

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 13:34:00 -0600


The Citizens First Congress, a coalition of Arkansas community organizations, hosted a rally against the GOP tax bill at the state capitol in Little Rock. Times photographer Brian Chilson was on the scene.

A congressional conference committee agreed on a final version of the tax bill yesterday and a vote is expected in the U.S. House and Senate this week. The bill is hideously unpopular but is expected to pass on a party-line vote.

The Citizens First Congress state on its Facebook page for the rally:

Both the Senate and House tax bills are costly new giveaways to the very wealthy and major corporations at the expense of working families, including tens of millions of low-income and middle-class Americans who actually would face a tax increase. In Arkansas, approximately half of the benefits of this tax cut will go to the top 5 percent of earners. By voting for this bill, Arkansas Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman voted against the best interests of our children and hardworking families!
More pictures from Brian:

Make like the Big Lebowski this holiday! Dust Bowl may open before Christmas

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:58:00 -0600

The neon orange and green bowling pin signage is up, the bowling pin handles on the front door are attached and the Dust Bowl Lanes and Lounge at 315 E. Capitol Ave. should blow in by Christmas, an owner says.

Adam Price, vice president and partner in parent company The McNellie’s Group of Tulsa, says he’s also “bullish” on the opening of Fassler Hall, the McNellie’s-owned restaurant next door at 307 E. Capitol: He’s hoping for a mid-January opening, though his crew is telling him February.

Until then, you’ll be able to eat, drink (full bar) and go for strikes in the vintage-furnished Dust Bowl, which is making use of the red leather bar front from the building’s former identity as the M.M. Eberts American Legion Post and is using seats and mid-century wire and diamond wall decor salvaged from a bowling alley in Pryor, Okla. The wooden lanes were also “harvested” from an Oklahoma business because “the sound when the ball hits the wood is more satisfying” than on today’s lane composites, Price said.

There are eight lanes — two of which are walled off for private parties — and a karaoke room down the hall from the bar. Final touches are being installed, and the fire marshal was expected this week.

When Fassler Hall opens, it will serve a simple menu of seven house-made sausages, schnitzel and more, along with German beers and local brews. It will seat around 200 inside and in the beer garden on the west side of the building, Price said. That patio happens to be in a nice safe spot: right next to the Little Rock Police substation at Capitol and Cumberland streets.

Review and slideshow: Chris Stapleton and Marty Stuart at Verizon Arena

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:42:00 -0600

Given the sparse Western desert landscapes and the Hunter S. Thompson-esque horror stories of behind-the-wheel pill popping that characterize Marty Stuart’s new album, I half expected Stuart’s set to create an unexpectedly trippy warm-up to headliner Chris Stapleton last night at Verizon Arena. True to a showman’s form, though, Stuart ripped through a variety show-style set of hits he’d co-written for other people (“The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore”), his own hits (“This One’s Gonna Hurt You”) and hits from the formidable repertoire he’s developed as a country music sideman of the first degree, like “Orange Blossom Special.” Stuart invoked former bandmate (and former father-in-law) Johnny Cash with “Ring of Fire,” introduced with the squarely nonrhetorical question: “Y’all ever heard of Dyess, Arkansas?” Even the younger country fans – otherwise concerned with filing through the crowd of 13,445 to find their seats, and without spilling their craft beer – could get excited about that one, and cheered again when Stuart declared that “Little Rock is the surf music capital of the world right now.” He and his dapper band, The Fabulous Superlatives, were more Grand Ole Opry than desert mirage in their delivery, taking time to let each of the longtime band members step up to the center stage microphone. And – though they handled it with finesse – I’ve no doubt that those who were there for Stapleton would have left in awe of Stuart’s musical prowess, had the openers been afforded a fraction of the luxuriously present sound afforded to the headliner on this “All-American Road Tour.” Guitarist “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan sang his own “Country Music Got a Hold On Me,”  followed by a number from true Nashville cat session player and former member of BR549 Chris Scruggs. Finally, “Handsome” Harry Stinson stepped up to show off his skilled brushwork on a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd,” and might well have stolen the moment with his “Mule Skinner”-style breath control, had the camera not been so careful to close in on shots of Stuart’s storied mandolin, with the initials “JRC” scratched into it unceremoniously from the time Johnny Cash “ruined his mandolin,” as Stuart recounted to CMT in a 2005 interview: “Well, I’d saved my money to buy that mandolin when I got a job with Lester Flatt, and it was $650. For years, I was real proud of the fact that it never had a scratch on it. It looked like a brand new instrument for probably 12 or 13 years. When I got a job with Johnny Cash, he got on a kick of wanting me to teach him how to play the mandolin. And he was a horrible mandolin player. He’d take my mandolin on the stage and just play along with June Carter when she was singin’. One night I looked over there and he had his pocketknife out and scratched a huge cross on it and put his initials, “JRC,” on it and then flipped the mandolin over and autographed it and signed, “Johnny Cash.” My heart fell. After the show, I said, “What did you do that for?” and he said, “I didn’t want you to forget the Lord.” And I told him I could have remembered the Lord without him wrecking my mandolin. But it was all in good fun. And that started a trend after that. People just felt compelled to sign the mandolin. It has Stephen King, President Clinton, Bob Dylan, Billy Bob Thornton, Chuck Berry, Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole, ex-girlfriends, my momma and a lot of people I don’t kn[...]

Dissent, in black and white: Show at New Deal Gallery

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:34:00 -0600

This troubled, Trumpian world we live in, and the unrest it has spawned, has provided lots of fodder for photographers. An exhibit this weekend at New Deal Gallery, "We Dissent: An Exhibition of Protest Photography," shows the work of five local photographers who've been on the scene of 2017's many public gatherings of protest.

Showing their work are Brian Chilson, who is the Arkansas Times' photographer; Rita Henry, Vincent Griffith, Brandon Markin and Sydney Rasch.

Sponsors The Root Cafe and Boulevard Bread Co. will provide food and drink for a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. "We Dissent" continues noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19, and may be seen by appointment through Dec. 1. To make an appointment, call Brandon Markin at 681-9916 or Lee Weber, 650-1865.

New at the Butler Center: Arkansas Pastel Society's national show

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:13:00 -0600

The juror for the Arkansas Pastel Society's 7th National Exhibition told viewers assembled at the Butler Center Galleries during 2nd Friday Art Night last Friday for the awards presentation said pastels were considered second to paintings and other fine art, and the artists in the crowd nodded their exasperation. That's not how they nor juror Christine Ivers see pastels; in fact, Ivers and the program for the biennial show, which runs through Feb. 24 in the main gallery at the Butler Center, refer to the works as paintings.

Pastels do get a bad rap, because the soft mark of the medium often translates to a soft, too sweet, image. There are plenty of lousy paintings in the world, however, so readers who usually give pastels a pass should check out the show.

Fifty artists from 12 states entered 116 works in the show; 50 works by 39 artists were accepted. Landscapes dominate. The winners can be seen in the slideshow above. If I ran the world and could accept only one Kresse, I might have chosen her "Kresse at Full Moon Easter," a Will Barnett-meets-Warren Criswell scene of a barely illuminated woman in the woods. But "July 4th at the Farm," which won instead, is a great piece, one of the ones you'll want to study.

'Break Glass' and start talking again: V.L. Cox in Virginia

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 17:29:00 -0500

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts in Farmville, Va., is just a little over an hour down the road from Charlottesville, but it approached Little Rock artist V.L. Cox about her "End Hate" artwork assemblages before the racist, anti-Semitic crowd (some very fine people among them, Donald Trump said) descended with their tiki torches and chants and killer car on Thomas Jefferson's hometown.

Though I don't usually write about out-of-state exhibitions of work by Arkansans — there are just too many — the show is so appropriate to the times that I thought I'd make note of it here and use the slideshow above as an example of some of the 50 works included in it. Longwood has named the show "Break Glass" for Cox's work "It's Time We Talked" of two tin cans tied together by string in a glass box. “If we are ever to come close to ending hate and its attributes of bigotry, racism, and injustice, we must confront its ugly legacy as well as be able to recognize all of the comfortable places in which hate hides,” Longwood executive director Rachel Ivers is quoted as saying in a news release.

Folks familiar with Cox's work who make it to the show will recognize some of her pieces — including "It's Time We Talked" — from her "Murder of Crows" exhibit in Little Rock. Thirty of the works in the show are new. Cox said she hopes the work will make people "stop and think." The lack of civil discourse, the rise of extremist right-wing groups and the attack on the civil rights of the poor, minorities, women, LGBT people, Jews — all these things make us wonder what the hell is happening to the United States. While we wonder and rage, Cox makes art.

Cox wants people to be able to talk to one another again to find common ground. But she's no pushover: she believes extreme expressions of hate call for confrontation."You have to have the courage to call people out, to say that's not right," when they spew racist bilge about their fellow Americans,  she said.

The show runs Nov. 3 through Feb. 18, 2018, and may tour afterward.

Pulaski Tech says 'Boo!' with art at CHARTS

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 11:57:00 -0500


The Halloween mood set in sometime last November for lots of us. But Pulaski Technical College's Center for the Humanities and the Arts is adding a soothing artistic touch to the scary season with its "Boo! Images of the Macabre," a show coming from "the darkest corners of the vault of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts," the school has announced.

The exhibition includes a creepy skull etching by Luis Jimenez, whose sculpture "Vaquero" is on the grounds of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; an eyeball photograph by Nathan Lerner; a stunning engraving of a devil and God by Clare Leighton; a beautiful ink on paper of a spider by Rudy Pozzatti; and other haunting pictures. Inured as we are to horrors, thanks to the current administration in D.C., still this show should provide a spooky frisson.

The show runs through Dec. 15 in CHARTS' Windgate Gallery. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Big reveal: 'Hidden No More' at Mosaic Templars

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 16:02:00 -0500

Works by 11 African-American artists whose works are in the Creativity Arkansas collection of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, 501 W. Ninth St., will be revealed at a reception Thursday, Oct. 5, when the museum opens "Hidden No More."

The reception, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., will feature refreshments, live music and a chance to meet some of the featured artists, all of whom have ties to Arkansas: Brandon Maddox, LaToya Hobbs, Joshua Asante, Angela Davis Johnson, Ariston Jacks, Danny Campbell, Rex DeLoney, Cicely Trice, Donnell Williams, Sondra Strong and Danny Broadway.

Creativity Arkansas "reveals the hidden history of how African Americans have shaped the narrative of Arkansas throughout the state’s history," the museum's press release said.

The Creativity Arkansas collection began in 2008. By 2011, the collection had 42 works, according to an Eye Candy post. The collection is funded by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

Slideshow: Sister Rosetta Tharpe sign unveiled Friday

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 11:54:00 -0500

Eight miles southeast of Cotton Plant, where state Highway 17 meets Interstate 49, a new sign was unveiled Friday afternoon honoring Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Arkansas native guitarist and singer who some credit with having invented rock and roll. Aside from Tharpe's "Walking Up the King's Highway," which emanated from a tiny Bluetooth speaker that dangled from the wrist of Cotton Plant Historical Museum Director Angela Ryland, no tributes were given and no ceremonious words were spoken about the legendary performer's career or impact; how her showmanship and charisma allowed her to navigate the complicated divisions between churches and nightclubs, secular and sacred music, romantic relationships with men and women, black and white audiences. Perhaps no introduction was needed. After all, anyone who bothered to come stand on the side of the road in the middle of the Arkansas Delta on a sunny Friday afternoon just to see the canvas removed from a shiny new Sister Rosetta sign probably didn't need to be convinced of Tharpe's importance. In the gospel story parlance Sister Rosetta dipped in and out of, any expression of rhapsody would have been preaching to the choir. Or, perhaps it was because this sign, like the one honoring Phillips County native Levon Helm that was unveiled near Marvel at 11 a.m. Friday morning, had been up for months.  The appearances of both were a bit of a surprise. Surprise, that is, on the part of Rep. Chris Richey (D-Helena/West Helena) and local musician Greg Spradlin, who shepherded HB 2179 through the legislature in late March, a bill that sought allowance for the Arkansas Department of Transportation to designate stretches of highway with signs to honor the legacies of Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Louis Jordan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The legislation declares Hwy. 17 from Cotton Plant to Brinkley as the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Memorial Highway; a section of Hwy. 17 from Dyess to Wilson as the Johnny Cash Memorial Highway; a section of I-49 from Brinkley to Marvell as the Louis Jordan Memorial Highway and a section of highway from I-49 from Marvell to Helena as the Levon Helm Memorial Highway. Just after the bill's passage in early April, Spradlin, Richey and others began to talk about how to pay for the signs, since HB 2179 did not provide funding for them. But before the fundraising began, the signs went up. "There are strange things happening every day," Tharpe once sang, and advocates of Arkansas's musical heritage aren't exactly inclined to question the happy mystery of who paid for the signs. "The one thing about the recognition of Rosetta Tharpe," said Cotton Plant Mayor Willard C. Ryland (husband of museum Director Angela Ryland), "is the fact that this memorial provides an opportunity for Cotton Plant and its tourism. My wife and I moved back here about 10 years ago, and I think this is going to set the pace." One such stride he'd like to see (and one of the reasons he cites for the city's application for a seed investment from the Delta Regional Authority by way of its Delta Creative Placemaking Initiative) is a billboard on Interstate 40 — fewer than 10 miles away — pointing people to Cotton Plant. "Millions of people — people who are tuned in to music history — would jump off the highway," Ryland said. "If anyone would put Cotton Plant on the map[...]