I entered the gallery as I walked through the Contemporaty Art Museum, located in the Grand Center arts and entertainment district, in the center of St. Louis one morning in March (the first week of Spring 2016) without knowing anything about the exhibit Not Human by Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino. The stark space seemed harmless enough. But out of the silence I was startled by sculptures that breath, explode, punch and crush threatened my solitude. FIGURANTE 2010 is a menacing metallic head of a beast mounted on the wall. The pointy teeth of this creature spread to reveal a big bone in its mouth that seemed to drip blood to the ground in front of it. The curious piece could not be pondered too long before the menacing mechanical robotics took me from a feeling of quiet peaceful feelings to sudden terror. The room is alive in the way horror films jar you with shock when a seeming tranquility is broken with unexpected computer generated image roars into your space.
The paintings over a 25 year period by acclaimed artist Lisa Yuskavage are at CAM too. The Brood is not so much a comprehensive survey as an account of her development and identity as a painter. The artist presents the female body as a site of defiance and decadence.
Tehran born, Los Angeles-based Tala Madala First Light is a presentation of playful yet provocative paintings and animation. Peter Sutherland Forest and Fires is made of images printed on perforated vinyl and manipulated by this Michigan-born, New York based artist. The courtyard in plain view of café patrons displays Sutherland rocks that appear to be bursting into flames. I enjoyed my coffee thinking it was the best $2.00 investment I’d made in quite some time.
Note to self: I must return to this place. Art Matters. Contemporary Art Matters today. Visit CAM. It's FREE and maybe, just maybe, you will see or hear something that startles you.
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Exhibitions, programs, and general operations are privately funded through contributions from generous individuals, corporations, public funders, and foundations.