I am a big advocate of seeking out museums wherever I travel. This Christmas I found myself in the gated community, McMansion, suburban sprawl that is Scottsdale, Arizona. Fortunately, the Monday after Christmas, the Phoenix Art Museum was open for visitors. I visited the museum about ten years ago, but that time I was helping organize an event and was unable to see as much as I wanted to. This year I had all the time I needed on a quiet day.
The permanent collection is solid. There is a good overview of western art such as the Deborah Butterfield (seen above). The contemporary collection has noticeably grown since my previous visit. I really like Betsabeé Romero’s piece in the courtyard and then I looked at her website. I would love to see a big installation of her work.
As an artist who works with maps, of course I was all over Horacio Zabala’s exhibit Mapping the Monochrome. Seeing my first large exhibit of Kehinde Wiley’s work was a real treat. And then there was Martin Creed’s installation Work No. 2497 — a room filled, tightly packed actually, with white balloons. Visitors are allowed to navigate their way through it. It was a bit terrifying, yet I am glad I did it — but once was enough.
Now I am back home in San Francisco. It is good to be home. But I have to say, as we all love to diss red state Trumpizona, it should be noted that they have this museum. It is a place where all the signage is bilingual, where women and non-white artists are well represented, where this is plenty of new, dynamic contemporary art. I am not sure where to find that in my little city by the Bay….