I’m not sure where the concept of summer being “slow” for art has come from, but we ain’t messin’ around this year. Keeping up with the insane temperatures outside, the Tampa Bay area art scene is on fire.
USF Contemporary Art Museum is presenting two must-see exhibitions: Black Pulp! and Woke! (June 2-July 22). With works from Trenton Doyle Hancock to Wangechi Mutu, Black Pulp! brings together contemporary artists who are examining the many facets and perspectives of black identity in America. Woke! inspects our hyper-awareness of Black Lives Matter, police violence, and media exposure of these topics in works by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson, artists and curators of Black Pulp!
Unless you’re not in the loop, you know Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration (June 24-Oct. 1) is coming soon, and it’s kind of a huge deal for local artists. I’m not just excited because I’ll be exhibiting my own work (so there’s my full disclosure), but with the involvement of three exhibition venues — MFA St. Pete, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Ringling in Sarasota — this truly is a remarkable celebration of artists on Florida’s Gulf coast.
After seeing an exhibition of American Crazy Quilts at the BMA a few years ago, I never saw blankets the same way again. Far from a craft for crazy cat ladies (or gentlemen), this kind of work is like painting with fiber, which is why Shirt Tales: Portraits by Karol Kusmaul at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center is another show I know I’ll be checking out. Like collage (but much harder and more time-consuming), her colorful fragmented portraits made of upcycled fabrics are worth the visit.
You know when you dig through your closet during spring cleaning and find all these fantastic things you forgot about? Leepa-Rattner did some housekeeping and unearthed some delicious treasures to share in Paradise Found (June 4- Sept. 24) as they celebrate 15 years of bringing art to the community. Dusting off the best of their collection, as well as revealing new acquisitions (with Femme Visuale interviewee Selina Román included), it gives folks a chance to see the gems that have come out of hiding.
Caitlin Albritton, CL Tampa's visual arts critic, spends her time tracking down art you might not see anywhere else. She's also an artist in her own right. Follow her on Instagram or read her blog.