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BOO 2011

ow_boo2011_arts.jpg

Photo by Shellia Dee Bailey

Andrew Spear

Arts and Entertainment - Staff Picks

Back in the day, a Kress building was a point of civic pride for the cities whose downtowns were home to one – they were symbols of prosperity and respect for public art. These days, such attention to detail in architecture has mostly been abandoned in favor of using height and digital marquees and mirrored windows to communicate progress, sadly. So we’re happy that Snap made us take notice of the Kress this year, because it reminds us that not everything in downtown Orlando is a mile wide but just an inch deep.

 

Best attempt to dumb down art for the masses

Snap Orlando
May 4-8, 2011

We wanted to love this event, we really did. And 2011 was an improvement on 2010 in so many ways – simplified scheduling, early interaction with the press, a striking show of work by local photographers at OMA – along with a strong group of exhibitions by more-than-respectable artists and photojournalists. (Jerry Uelsmann, Jim Krantz, Lauren Marsolier: amazing.) But, at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, it seemed more like a triumph of event planning than art. We were at the kickoff party ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the video dancing across the Kress Building along with everyone else. But when we realized that the event was little more than a show reel for a company that designs large-scale projections, we felt cheated. It was impersonal; skilled and impressive, but so is the work done by theme-park scenic painters. Even the Coolife Studio and Elena Vizerskaya photos, while totally cool, smacked of commercial work. We hate to nitpick, but no growth comes from mere cheerleading. We know that the Snap organizers have it in them to make this a gathering for artists, not just realtors and society matrons who “love art,” so we’ll just have to hope that Snap 2012 shows as much growth and improvement from its predecessor as Snap 2011 did. We’ll be there.

 

Best David Lynchian night out

WTF Theater at Little Fish Huge Pond
309 E. First St., Sanford; 407-221-1499; littlefish-hugepond.com

You would never know it from looking at it – or even spending a significant amount of time there – but on Wednesday nights, the no-nonsense, psychedelically decorated Little Fish Huge Pond bar in Sanford transforms into the weirdest film gathering in town. From a holiday screening of a 1959 Mexican movie in which Santa does battle with Satan to a springtime sit-in for Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein, local artist and WTF curator Liz Watkins keeps us guessing and always wanting more.

 

Best reason to interrupt someone at work

Twelve21 Gallery
1221-C N. Orange Ave.; twelve21gallery.com

Some of the best shows we’ve seen this year have been at the tiny gallery nested in the Laughing Samurai workspace across from Lake Ivanhoe. The ad agency says they “want to help make the world a better place” and just by giving curator Sara Poindexter room to grow, they’ve done that. Not only does Poindexter have right-on taste, she’s got an eye for installation: Twelve21 shows are characterized by intelligent choices of mounting (no tacky frames) and balance (never too many pieces crammed on a wall, a true challenge in a small space). Only a fearless gallerist would take on the problems posed by having to work around a working group of desks, chairs and monitors. The only downside: Visitors must do their gazing and chin-stroking during regular business hours, when the Samurais are swinging their swords at knotty problems of brand identity.

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