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Pottery to puppets 

AT THE BAUM: Photographs by Robert and Shana Parke Harrison.
  • AT THE BAUM: Photographs by Robert and Shana Parke Harrison.

Offerings at galleries and open studios this weekend couldn't be more diverse: There's mail armor jewelry in Mountain View, surreal photographs in Conway, thousand-year-old ceramics in Pine Bluff and, in Little Rock, blown glass, photographs and drawings that touch on the civil rights movement and the integration of Central High, and last, but not least, the Muppets of Jim Henson.

Starting in Conway: The Baum Gallery at the University of Central Arkansas opens its fall season this Friday with two shows, The Architect's Brother, photographs by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, and Hiroshige and the Tokaido Road: Selected Views from the Georgia Museum of Art, woodblock prints.

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison work together to create black and white fantasy photomontages that capture men turned to trees, or pulling a huge swath of turf like a blanket over dirt; some are disturbing commentaries on the ruination of the natural world. The show was organized by the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. In conjunction with the exhibit, Dr. Therese Mulligan, curator of the exhibit and professor of imaging arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will give a lecture at 4 p.m. Oct. 23 in McCastlain Hall.

The 20 prints from the Georgia Museum of Art were published in 1833-34 by Utagawa Hiroshige, a master of color wood-block prints.

The shows run Sept. 14 through Oct. 25. Receptions are set for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 13 and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 in McCastlain Hall.

Downtown Little Rock galleries put on the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery trolley-walk (Why not 2nd Friday Art Night Gallery Troll? Just thinking out loud.) on Sept. 14. This month's event will have on tap puppet making with staff at the Arkansas Arts Center in conjunction with its exhibit on Muppet-maker Jim Henson; civil rights photographs by Ernest Withers at Hearne Gallery; Central High School artworks reflecting on the integration of that school 50 years ago at the Cox Creative Center, and pressed and blown glass from the permanent collection at the Historic Arkansas Museum. Buyers of art at River Market Artspace will be helping the ARC of Arkansas, which is receiving a portion of proceeds. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when the film “The Moderns” will roll at the Darragh Center of the Main Library. This month's “trolley ambassador” is Katie McManners, director of development for the Arkansas Literary Festival, who'll be on board to answer questions. See the calendar listings for more information on exhibits at all the venues.

Rex DeLoney, whose Central students are showing their work at the Cox Center, will have his own work on exhibit at Hearne. DeLoney graduated from Northeast High School in 1983 and holds a B.A. in commercial art from the University of Central Arkansas. His show at Hearne is called “Mixed Media on Paper/Family Life, Education and Jazz.”

A trip to Mountain View this weekend would get you into 23 studios, as that town and Calico Rock hold their sixth annual Off the Beaten Track Studio Tour Friday through Sunday, Sept. 14-16. A map is online at www.offthebeatenpathstudiotour.com; it will guide you to the studios of Joe Bruhin (Fox Mountain Pottery), Steve Hickman (weaver), Wright Pillow (woodturner), Barbara Carlson (fiber artist), JP Rosenquist (silversmith), Ray Warren (ironsmith), David and Becky Dahlstedt (Mountain View Pottery), Rosemary Geisser (Chainmaille Jewelry) and more, including painters, basketmakers, candlemakers, sculptors, woodworkers, stained glass artists, etc. The map is also available at the Chamber of Commerce on the square at Mountain View and the Historic Main Street office in Calico Rock. A reception kicks off the weekend at 7 p.m. Friday at the Country Oaks Bed and Breakfast on Hwy. 9.

n A survey of Mexican art from Olmec ceramics (2500 BC-300 AD) to 20th century painters opened last week at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff. The works in the show, Las Artes de Mexico, come from the collection of the prestigious Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa.

Among the paintings is work by Diego Rivera, the 20th century Cubist and muralist whose social commentary provoked controversy, and Carlos Orozco Romero, whose paintings, like Mexican literature, use myth and magic to portray the culture. An Aztec vase featuring a skull effigy and a stone mask from Teotihuacan are among the pre-Columbian works in the exhibit, which will run through Nov. 4. The museum will celebrate the opening of the exhibit with a fiesta from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

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