Anderson Gallery revives Summer Happy Hour Series
Happy Hour, a popular series of free programs and events held on Wednesday evenings, will return to the Anderson Gallery this summer, starting on June 6. This year’s Happy Hour coincides with three summer exhibitions – “Rosemarie Fiore: Fireworks,” “Jennifer Steinkamp: The Vanquished” and “Summer Mixer: Eclectic Electric” – which will remain on view through July 29.
The Anderson Gallery, the exhibition facility for the VCU School of the Arts, launched the Happy Hour series a year ago, giving members of the VCU and Richmond community a new option for laid-back summer entertainment. Events in the series are held on Wednesdays between 5 and 7 p.m. in June and July. Each event allows visitors to sip a cool beverage from the cash bar while enjoying Anderson Gallery’s courtyard and the first-floor Cool Spot Lounge.
Happy Hour is hosted by the Anderson Gallery staff, including Ashley Kistler, director of the gallery; Michael Lease, head of exhibitions; and Traci Horne Garland, gallery coordinator and collections specialist.
“After the great success of Happy Hour last summer, Michael, Traci and I couldn’t resist planning a second season,” Kistler said. “Once again, wind down with us on Wednesday evenings and enjoy delicious food and drink, an international mix of live music, classic cartoons and contemporary film, and gallery tours.”
June 6 – “Sounds Sweet: WRIR Ice Cream Social”
WRIR kicks off the return of Happy Hour with old time music performed by the River City Band and Sweet Fern in the Anderson Gallery’s Cool Spot Lounge. Top off the evening with a scoop or two from Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream.
June 13 – “Belle Voix: The Bird & Her Consort”
A highlight of last year’s lineup, Antonia and Jonathan Vassar return to perform another seductive mix of art songs, parlor music and folk ballads. Incorporating accordion, guitar and classical voice, their unique musical arrangements offer a refreshing respite from the summer heat.
June 20 – “Bali Bound: Gamelan Raga Kusuma + WRIR DJ Graybeard”
This Richmond ensemble, joined by dancers from the Indonesian Embassy, will expand musical horizons with its performance of traditional and contemporary Balinese orchestral music. DJ Graybeard, aka Charles Williams, WRIR host of The Other Black Music and The Motherland Influence (with David Noyes), continues the evening’s journey with his fantastic blend of international sounds.
June 27 – “Freshen Up: A Taste of Summer with Slow Food RVA and Gourmand John Haddad”
Celebrate the season, connect with area growers and learn about Richmond’s diverse food community, all while sampling local produce and cheeses and enjoying the sounds of Richmond’s Indigenous Gourd Orchestra.
July 11 – “Family Fun: Tours and ‘Toons”
Bring along the kids and join artist-educator Tara Strickstein for a guided tour and scavenger hunt exploring the gallery’s summer exhibitions. More fun can be found in the lounge, where screenings of vintage cartoons will delight viewers of all ages. Tours begin at 5:30 and 6 p.m.
July 18 – “Foot Work: A Collective Rug-Making Project with artist Hope Ginsburg”
Slip and slide over a room-sized batt of wool and watch a felt rug form beneath your feet. Learn the basics of wool felt-making with Hope Ginsburg, whose project Sponge is headquartered at the gallery, and leave ready to make your own rug, curtains and a felt house to put them in.
July 25 – “Last Call: Jonathan Vassar & The Speckled Bird with artist Matt Flowers”
Musical innovator Jonathan Vassar leads his ensemble in another experimental performance interweaving music and image. For this Happy Hour finale, the sublime acoustic sounds of The Speckled Bird complement the immersive landscape imagery of Matt Flowers’ videos.
The Anderson Gallery kicked off its summer exhibitions in May.
The gallery’s main summer show, “Rosemarie Fiore: Fireworks,” features the scintillating array of Fiore’s recent “Firework Drawings.” Fiore employs unconventional, process-oriented methods of production – including, most spectacularly, a spinning amusement-park ride called “The Scrambler” that she equipped with buckets of paint – to explore the tension between unpredictable and premeditated elements in her artwork. To render her densely layered and opulently colored “Firework Drawings,” Fiore uses the tinted smoke generated by live fireworks.
Also included in the Fiore exhibition are selections from a new group of experimental “Smoke Domes,” a series of glass sculptures that Fiore creates by inserting smoke bombs into molten material, which expands with each smoke bomb explosion. With the assistance of VCU graduate and undergraduate students, Fiore produced pieces in this series during a mini-residency this spring in the Department of Craft and Material Studies in the VCU School of the Arts.
“Jennifer Steinkamp: The Vanquished” introduces Richmond audiences to the captivating work of Steinkamp, a Los Angeles-based artist who has received international acclaim for her immersive, digitally animated installations. Steinkamp uses large-scale video projections to create motion-and-color-filled spaces in which lush virtual images of blooming flowers, dancing trees or purely abstract forms sway and twist as if propelled by unseen forces.
“The Vanquished” was commissioned last year for the New Orleans Museum of Art as part of the exhibition “Prospect.2.” The work was originally created for the ornate niche of the museum’s atrium that is normally reserved for Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture, “The Age of Bronze,” which is also known as “The Vanquished.” Steinkamp’s piece adopts an overhead perspective that offers a view down through the undulating branches of a gently twisting tree, whose appearance continually changes as it cycles through the seasons.
“Summer Mixer: From the Collection of Eclectic Electric” features small appliances manufactured between 1920 and 1970 that range from the highly practical to the whimsically novel. These examples highlight the era’s unique design aesthetic and the mid-century American fascination with electrical appliances of all kinds. The exhibition, which was co-curated by Garland and Lease, features nearly 40 objects selected from Eclectic Electric, a collection of thousands of small appliances amassed by Richmond’s Osdene family over the past 25 years.
The exhibition also includes packaging, promotional brochures and recipe booklets that accompanied these devices and “whose animated graphics and images of happy housewives and glamorous partygoers remind us of the allure that these electric devices once held,” Garland said.
The Anderson Gallery is located at 907½ W. Franklin St. Summer gallery hours are Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Wednesday, noon to 7 p.m.