Downtown Tucson’s June Art Roundup (feat. Ai Weiwei and more!)

May 18, 2016

by Kai Parmenter

Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold exhibit, located in the Tucson Museum of Art's main gallery.

Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold exhibit, located in the Tucson Museum of Art’s main gallery.

In Downtown Tucson, the arts continue to thrive. In anticipation of the hotter months, many of the galleries and museums in Downtown will feature new or continuing exhibits in June. Tucsonans would be remiss to ignore all these fantastic events here in the heart of town.

Fast approaching its centennial, the Tucson Museum of Art remains one of Downtown’s premier destinations for fine arts. The Museum will showcase a number of exhibits during the month of June, including the stunning Into The Night: Modern and Contemporary Art and the Nocturne Tradition, which explores the role of night through various mediums, as interpreted by more than 65 contemporary artists.

Also included are renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold, the eclectic String Theory: Contemporary Art and the Fiber Legacy, the striking landscape pastels of Ellen Wagner in Big Skies/Hidden Stories, and more.

“All of these exhibitions, although extremely varied…seem to hang together very nicely as a grouping, and have all been extremely well received individually and as a whole,” says Laura Cortelyou, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Museum. Best of all, these exhibits have recently been extended through July 24, with the exception of the Ai Weiwei, which will continue through June 26.

Part of the Tucson Museum of Art's String Theory exhibit, which explores weaving and fiber arts through a contemporary lens.

Part of the Tucson Museum of Art’s String Theory exhibit, which explores weaving and fiber arts through a contemporary lens.

If photography is more your style, be sure to check out Etherton Gallery, located directly above Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails at 135 South Sixth Avenue. Beginning June 7, Etherton will feature a new exhibit entitled The Artists of Lewis Framing, which will include paintings, drawings, photography and jewelry from seven of Lewis Framing Studio’s current and former employees.

“They’ve been our framer since day one,” says Terry Etherton, owner of Etherton Gallery. “It turns out that over those years they’ve had a lot of very talented artists who work their day job at Lewis Framing…these artists are good.” The Gallery will host a reception for The Artists of Lewis Framing on June 11, from 7 to 10 p.m. The exhibit will continue through August 27.

If you’re searching for more modern or abstract offerings, the Museum of Contemporary Art has you covered. MOCA’s summer lineup will include such exhibits as MachineHistories’ Tucson 3 Ways: A Foray into Digital Alchemy, a topographical depiction of Tucson created using geographical information system data, and Gardens of the Pure, an exploration of the body, sensuality and stigmata as depicted in the work of Kitty Brophy, Emma Kohlmann and Alice Mackler.

MOCA will also feature displays on the art of Christofer Churchill and Steven Parrino, respectively. All exhibits will run from June 18 to September 25. Please note that MOCA will be closed in June prior to the unveiling of summer exhibitions on the 18th.

The exterior of Solar Culture Gallery, located at 31 East Toole Avenue.

The exterior of Solar Culture Gallery, located at 31 East Toole Avenue.

Yet the larger galleries aren’t the only places in Downtown to feature worthwhile artwork. Located in the historic Warehouse Arts District, Solar Culture is a 3,000 square foot gallery and music venue featuring work by a diverse array of local artists. The gallery will feature an all-new lineup beginning in June, as older works are rotated out. Solar Culture is open to the public, and encourages everyone to submit his or her work, free of charge.

Finally, you’d be forgiven for not thinking of a library as an ideal space to display art, yet that’s just the case with the Joel D. Valdez Library in Downtown, which features smaller exhibits on a monthly basis. Next month’s lineup will include Cycle and Recycle—Green Art by Dave Kish, a series of cardboard wall sculptures of bicycles created from repurposed materials. The Library will also display artwork from youths ages 9-18 as part of Pima County’s Taking Action Against Graffiti Program.

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