Contemporary Art Month: 30 Years Later

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Contemporary Art Month 2014 Opening Party at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. Photo by Page Graham.

The local art scene has pulled together 30 times to make Contemporary Art Month (CAM) happen in March. The annual homage to all things art, by artists, for artists kicks off Thursday night with an opening party at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum.

CAM started in 1986 by Jeffrey Moore, who was the director of the Southwest School of Arts & Crafts – now known as the Southwest School of Art. This was a grassroots movement born in a storm of controversy alongside its fraternal twin, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, when the San Antonio Museum of Art cancelled a highly-anticipated contemporary art show in 1985. The art community responded by creating their own event.

Edith McAllister and Jeffrey Moore, circa 1987. Photo courtesy Southwest School of Art.

Edith McAllister and Jeffrey Moore, circa 1987. Photo courtesy Southwest School of Art.

CAM continues to be artist-driven, a collection of official and unofficial events that would not happen without the support of the greater community. Fortunately, San Antonio finds itself in the midst of a creative fervor that shows no sign of retreat.

The first of these events is the CAM Kickoff Party and Crowning of Miss CAM Antonio on March 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. CAM sponsor, Blue Moon Brewing Company, will contribute the liquid refreshments and there will be eats available for sale from the award-winning Chamoy City Limits and Ay Papi’s food trucks.

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After the Kickoff, the party will continue at Brick Marketplace. The “CAM Happening” is curated by Chris Sauter and Mark Menjivar with music provided by DJs Bonnie Cisneros and Agosto Cuellar. There is a suggested donation to CAM at the door, a cash bar and dancing until midnight.

The greatest challenge of CAM is getting out to see all of the great art featured all over the city. CAM facilitates this challenge with a calendar of events and Facebook postings to help us keep up with it all. Here at The Rivard Report, we will also be doing our dead-level best to deliver a weekly account of what you should check out and what you might have missed.

Here are some of the events that we are looking forward to through this week:

David Alcantar at The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center – Wednesday, March 4, 6 – 8 p.m.

The closing reception for Alcantar’s exhibit “Yet To Be Determined.” This exhibit closes March 16, so before all of the CAM craziness really sets in, this is a good opportunity to go and see this very personal collection of works regarding everyday choices, decisions and negotiation.

"From Chaos Comes Beauty" by Eric Breish. Courtesy image.

“From Chaos Comes Beauty” by Eric Breish. Courtesy image.

“Painting Rhythms” – Opening reception,Thursday, March 5, 6 – 8 p.m.

AnArte Gallery will feature the work of Eric Breish through the month of March. The vivid works on aluminum are heavily rooted in the techniques and philosophy of automatism. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit Conrad Smiles.

More Than Words: Text Based Art” – Opening reception, Thursday, March 5, 6 – 8 p.m.

Before you head over to the Blue Star, stop into Ruiz-Healy Art. In this thought provoking collection, we are particularly excited by the inclusion of artist Julie Speed in this show, who we last saw featured at the Southwest School of Art in 2013.  The exhibition is up through April 25.

"Libré" by Chuck Ramirez. Photo courtesy Ruiz-Healy Art.

“Libré” by Chuck Ramirez. Photo courtesy Ruiz-Healy Art.

“Small Scale Work For A Larger Cause” – Thursday, March 5, 7 – 10 p.m.

This is the first opportunity to preview works that are available for auction to benefit the programs of Say Si. The 4th annual Youth Arts Education Advocacy Awards will also be presented this evening. The 2015 recipients: Culture and education leader Patti Radle and The Tobin Endowment. The popular gala event and auction will be held on March 27.

The CAM Kick Off Party – Thursday, March 5, 6 – 9 p.m.

This is a fantastic opportunity to see shows featured at the collection of galleries in the Blue Star Arts Complex.

Miss CAM Antonio 2014 Allison Taft shows off her true colors at last year's kickoff party. Photo by Page Graham.

Miss CAM Antonio 2014 Allison Taft shows off her true colors at last year’s kickoff party. Photo by Page Graham.

 

“Tooky Jelly” at Sala Diaz – Opening reception, Friday, March 6, 6 – 9 p.m.

These are the latest works by James Cobb, featuring extraordinarily detailed and beautiful work created entirely digitally and printed on metal. It’s always a happening at Sala Diaz. Always.

SouthXSouthtown Exhibition and Concert SeriesFriday, March 6, 6 – 11 p.m.

Presented by R Gallery and Southtown 101, this is the first ever, featuring three exhibitions curated by Rigoberto Luna and an extensive music line up. This is a free event. There will be continuing events throughout the month — more details here.

“Seven Minutes In Heaven” at the Fox Motel – Saturday, March 7, 6 – 10 p.m.

Back in 2015 for its fourth iteration, conceptual artist and curator Jessica Garcia brings together yet another collection of nine very interesting artists. Each engage with a room, all offering a unique experience. DJ Pink Leche will perform at 8 p.m. and there will also be music by el fenix. An erotic coloring book will be available for purchase.

The Aesthetic of Waste crew at Seven Minutes in Heaven 2014. 35mm photo by Page Graham.

The Aesthetic of Waste crew at Seven Minutes in Heaven 2014. 35mm photo by Page Graham.

“Unconstrained” at Mercury Project – Opening reception, Saturday, March 7, 6 – 9 p.m.

New works — there seems to be an emerging theme here — on aluminum, by Ben Mata. To be fair, Mata has worked in the medium of aluminum for more than 15 years and it will be interesting to experience his most recent thoughts on the matter. Curated by Antonia Richardson.

“Ocean Harvest” at REM Gallery – Opening reception, Saturday, March 7, 6 – 9 p.m.

Artist Margaret Craig once again examines our impact on the environment with a show that asks and answers the question: “As the oceans acidify from the CO2 of global warming and shells cannot be formed of calcium, what’s a lifeform to do? Plastics!” Always thoughtful, always visually compelling. Through April 28.

“Sundaes on Sunday” at Cinnabar Gallery – Sunday, March 8, 1:30 – 5 p.m.

This is your last opportunity to experience the show “Memory and Forgetting” at this popular gallery destination at the Blue Star Arts Complex. World renowned artist and curator Catherine Lee will be in attendance to discuss works with artists Ken Little, Margaret Meehan and Justin Boyd. And there’s ice cream.

“Music Colors My World: The Art and Images of Neka Scarbrough-Jenkins” at South Texas Popular Culture Center – Opening Reception, Sunday, March 8, 2 – 5 p.m.

This quixotic art and live music venue is also fondly known as Tex Pop by those who love and cherish it. This event highlights the permanent installation of these works by Neka, an award winning artist. She is the chief photographer for Action Magazine, Coppini Academy of Fine Arts and Tex Pop. Music starts at 3 p.m. with Cain’s Children, Los #3 Dinners and Ty Gavin’s Pros & Cons. This is a fundraiser for the nonprofit with a suggested $10 donation at the door. It is also a BYOB establishment, so plan accordingly.

"Motionsickness (Wingspan)" by Michelle Monseau. Courtesy image.

“Motionsickness (Wingspan)” by Michelle Monseau. Courtesy image.

Yes, it is almost too much. That is exciting news for the San Antonio art scene. Take the opportunity to check out what is going on and dive into the deep end. You only go around once.

Throughout the month, I will be following the happenings of Contemporary Art Month right here, and on KLRN Arts.

*Featured/top image: Contemporary Art Month 2014 Opening Party at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. Photo by Page Graham.

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