Saturday, February 4, 2012

The First First Friday...

...For me in a really long time.

A couple getting close at the Slap & Tickle Gallery in Kansas City, MO. Images by Dave Michael, left, and Sandy Woodson, right.

Yes, that is what you think it is at the Slap & Tickle. Artist Dave Michael is pictured at far left.

More from the Slap & Tickle - the galleries were all hopping despite the rain and cold. The photographs at left are by Bad Gira, and the painting in the background is by Betsy Barratt.
If you visit Kansas City, you may be surprised by its vibrant art scene. Most people who are not familiar with our (unexpectedly) cultured ways are. Every First Friday galleries open new exhibitions to an eager and educated public. Kansas City has a very welcoming art scene and is home to many artists, art writers, arts administrators, art collectors and art lovers (and, of course, many of those titles overlap in each individual).You will see work by everyone from students to old hands, from homegrown to internationally known artists.  This month I cajoled my friend Conor into joining me for my first gallery trot in months - it was long overdue. 

We started our night at the Slap & Tickle Gallery in the East Crossroads, where the Fifth Annual Erotica Art Show was on display. The exhibition, and the gallery itself, blends public and private beautifully. Half gallery and half studio/home, partners Apryl (Murray) McAnemey and Thom Richart offer a variety of exhibitions and performances to the public each month. While we were there, Conor and I ran into my pal artist Mary Ware. She makes beautiful paintings, and she had several intimate (in subject and scale) drawings on display tonight. Unfortunately, 1) I don't have any photos of her work and 2) I only have photos from our first gallery visit.

After the Slap & Tickle, we headed west to the Spray Booth Gallery, where we saw XOXO Salon Show & Benefit, a salon style exhibition featuring both art students and established Kansas City artists. This exhibition is what got me out of the house tonight. Several co-workers, friends and many students I interact with on a regular basis had work on display. The work impressed me, and, like you might expect of a salon show, it was quite diverse in tone and subject matter. I saw many students I know, but, to be honest, I felt nervous around them without my official workaday title about me, so I didn't really talk to anyone besides Conor.

Since we were already walking, Conor and I headed back out into the cold to see what else might be on display in the Crossroads. We stopped by several galleries and saw projected images of architecture, a gorgeous installation of Reilly Hoffman's metal sculptures that brought to my mind the phases of the moon, collaged paintings, and luxurious rugs. Then, Conor and I headed to Kemper at the CrossroadsHere's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry, an exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Eric Fertman, opened tonight. I really enjoyed what I saw - humorous totems to these our modern times, refined woodwork, horse hair accents described in laugh-out-loud terms, and stream of consciousness-like drawings. At Kemper at the Crossroads we also saw a former co-worker  of mine and a former student.

I could have danced through the galleries all night, but I was wearing bad walking shoes and grew hungrier for food than art. Conor and I decided to stop at Hamburger Mary's. Conor had eaten earlier and just indulged in drink, whereas I had one of my favorite BLT's in all of Kansas City with a side of sweet potato fries. A student I know was there to meet some friends, and we chatted for a few minutes. You just can't go out in the big small town of Kansas City without running into at least one person you know well enough to converse with.

Conor was such a dear to put up with my art asides and long dinner time tonight. I really enjoyed his company and all the art I saw. It's just too bad I can never make it to all the galleries on First Friday. I was especially disappointed we didn't get to Jim Sajovic's exhibition Graphic at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. Jim is an amazing artist, and he was my Foundation instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute. As such, he has been very influential to me! Never will I be able to hang a piece of artwork with pins in the top corners - I will always pin all four corners! I will be sure to visit his exhibition before it comes down. The images I have seen  look really exciting!

What type of art to you enjoy viewing? Do you ever go to art openings?

Alison :)


  1. I'm glad you wrote this post, Alison. You should consider contributing a "Shotgun Review" to the Art Practical's March 1 KC-focused issue. Or even something longer. I went to their talk Thursday night and had the privilege of hanging out with them afterwards at a dinner, and they want KC voices in their publication (for this one; the others keep to their Bay Area theme/vision).

    Isn't the Internet world weird? : ) This "conversation" with you is, well, quite 2012.

    You inspired me to write a detailed comment back, so "detailed" that it doesn't fit the size requirement here. If you're interested, pop over to my site. It should be up in a bit … you know how that goes … a comment can be jaunty, but I "have to" check a few things now and add a photo. Didn't take any last night personally.

    Might go out to Leedy-Voulkos, Belger, and Sherry Leedy … it's nearly noon, after all.


    1. Hi, Tracy,

      Thanks so very much for reading and offering a post in response to this post. I am glad I inspired you to write your own!! That's seriously the best feeling!

      Oddly enough, internet conversations (in the 1990's) actually helped me develop my real-life conversational skills, so I kind of feel like I'm coming full circle here.

      I really enjoyed your take on what's going on this month,

      Alison :)

  2. This morning on Facebook Apryl McAnerney, gallery mamma at the Slap-n-Tickle Gallery, asked if anyone ever googled themselves. I do occasionally, but it had been a while, so I did it today. This blog is one of the first things to pop up. Though I'm nearly two years late (only because I didn't know this article existed) I want to thank you for posting about the Slap's Erotica Show, for picturing my work and me and mentioning my name.

    Dave Michael