Visual Crossroads of Tucson

All images by Kathleen Dolan and Sean Ongley

On Thanksgiving Eve it was a cool and cloudy afternoon shared with Kathleen Dolan as we ventured out from my parents’ home in Tuscon, AZ to find local arts shows. To our surprise, a compelling collection at el Consulado de Mexico en Tucson (the city’s Mexican Consulate) featured sculpture, paintings, and graphics from eighteen Mexican artists. The work spanned from early modern surrealism to contemporary. There was also a children’s show in the lobby area with some highly stylistic stuff.

We had only about an hour after this to see MOCA-Tucson (Museum of Contemporary Art). It was my first time there although it’s been on my bucket list for every holiday visit. The staff was kind enough to admit us and provide a complete tour of the work. At the end of it, their weekly yoga session was soon to be underway in one of the more spacious gallery rooms.

The building opens first to an expansive room which Alex Von Bergen’s installation sparsely occupies. Von Bergen is a notable Tucson-based graphic designer and a humorous contemporary artist. Several rooms featuring his work are to be explored branching off to the hallways and smaller rooms of the museum’s east wing. For this photoset, we only display the indoor portion of his exhibit (he also displayed banners on the exterior walls of the museum.) The work of jewelry artist and silversmith Alex Streeter, fills up the remaining rooms surrounding the gift shop with knick knacks and art from his Tuscon home and work examples from his long career in design.

Graphic design was the common thread between these shows, because in terms of style, there wasn’t much overlap. At the consulate, two shows overlapped in space: Expresiones Multiples de la Grafica Mexicana (Multiple Expressions of Mexican Graphic Art) and Escultura Mexicana en Tucson (Mexican Sculpture in Tucson). In some way, all of these artists are designers at the root. But I think it goes deeper than that. Perhaps they all find something strange about existence; a fascination with incongruity.

Please enjoy the photo gallery below to see highlights of all these exhibits, read the captions for credits and further notes, and follow the links at the end to learn more about the exhibits.

Escultura Mexicana en Tucson – Various Mexican Artists

Expresiones Multiples de la Grafica Mexicana – Various Mexican Artists

Este es Mi Mexico – Various Youth Artists

Next Time – Alex Von Bergen

Best Dressed Pirate – Alex Streeter




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