5 picks for March ArtHop

Options include Maxine Olson at 1821 Gallery & Studios, Linda Zupcic at Fig Tree Gallery, and April Grigsby at Clay Hand Studios

An exhibition of works by Kingsburg artist Maxine Olson is always worth your attention. Nine of her paintings are featured at 1821 Gallery & Studios in a show titled “It’s All About Sex.” It’s one of my picks for Thursday’s March ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. (Most venues are open 5-8 p.m.; check the Fresno Arts Council’s site for details.)

Olson’s work in this show is mostly from the 1980s. Gallery owner Bruce Kalkowski says the paintings have a lush and magical feel, and they suggest Portuguese influences mixed with the Old Masters.

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“The Visitation” features “satyrs from Rubens, and they have a real mythological look,” Olson says. “They also look a little naughty with twinkles in their eyes and a girl lying prone on the bed in the background, giving the piece a Bacchanalian tinge. The painting deals with issues of fear, innocence, cunning and dominance.”

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Fresno Philharmonic celebrates Bernstein

CONCERT REVIEW

The violinist Jennifer Koh returned after more than 20 years to perform on Sunday with the Fresno Philharmonic. Back in 1996 she was a young college student bursting with talent; today she is seasoned veteran of the classical-music scene known not only for her virtuosic playing but also her initiatives to promote contemporary composers. A few thoughts on the concert:

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Salute to American composers: All three composers on the program were American, and knowing that going in, it definitely colored my perception. In the first piece, John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine,” I found myself thinking of bustling cities and bright prospects. Instead of latching onto much of a melody, thanks to the minimalism of the score, my listening experience was guided by the precise jackhammer tempo and the sharp sense of building something. In fact, I thought of buildings, and in a weirdly specific way: I got this image of tall, graceful skyscrapers under construction, the hard-hatted workers nonchalantly sitting on high steel beams taking a lunch break, the wind whipping amiably past as they ate sandwiches and chugged hot coffee from heavy-duty thermoses. I thought of vast American cities taking shape. The percussion section got a workout, as it has several times this season, and the precision and driving energy of conductor Rei Hotoda’s baton gave the experience a crisp vitality.

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Keyboard Concerts: Win tickets to Armenian chamber ensemble

Chilingirian, Hakobyan and Bagratuni will perform Friday at Fresno State’s Concert Hall

Keyboard Concerts is best known for the world-class pianists it brings to Fresno on a regular basis. But the series also hosts several special events each season, including chamber music.

A concert at Fresno State (8 p.m. Friday, March 2) brings together three of today’s most prominent Armenian musicians: violinist Levon Chilingirian, cellist Suren Bagratuni and pianist/composer Karen Hakobyan. They have received international acclaim for their activities as performers, pedagogues, competition jurors and recording artists.

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At ‘Trashique 2018,’ a night of elegance and a hat made from a Costco box

Notes from Saturday evening’s glamorous “Trashique 2018,” in which an aircraft hanger at the Fresno airport was transformed into a shimmering creative oasis. (Except that an oasis brings to mind a desert, while this year’s show, thanks to Mother Nature, was closer in terms of topography to Arctic tundra):

My favorite piece: Kristine Doiel’s tribute to mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. This power couple is best known for their contributions to mid-century American architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing. Doiel’s creation, modeled with a strutting certainty by Katerina Guerrero, offered a whimsical tribute to the Eames’ artistic vision.

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Model Katerina Guerrero, left, and artist Kristine Doiel at “Trashique 2018.” Photo / The Munro Review

The materials: Doiel used plastic mattress packaging, milk containers, mesh vegetable bags, food packing boxes, magazine pages, leather and fabric upholstery swatches, rubber, rope, packing foam and cardboard boxes. She fashioned a stunning dress boasting a cheerful grid of colors and textures, along with a wide-brimmed “hat” that suggested a giant Eames wedding-cake topper — it also made me think of an immobile mobile — complete with full-sized light bulbs. (Guerrero, the model, told me that it was actually quite easy to wear.)

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5 things to know about Fresno’s newest piece of public art

“Acero Picado” will be unveiled in a Monday ceremony

The City of Fresno will officially unveil its newest piece of public art in a ceremony at Mariposa Plaza at noon Monday, Feb. 26. Here are five things to know about “Acero Picado,” a beautiful addition to the downtown arts scene:

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Olga Bergstrom enjoys the new “Acero Picado” art installation at Mariposa Plaza downtown. Photo / The Munro Review

1.

It’s substantial.

“Acero Picado” consists of three designs, each consisting of two parts. The larger pieces are 10 feet by feet. The smaller pieces are 3 feet by 8 feet. Each piece is made of inch-thick steel that has been waterjet cut in very intricate patterns, then powder-coated with distinctive colors. Benches are part of the design.

2.

The artist is a big deal.

Gordon Huether, a Napa sculptor, has created public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages, and private corporations throughout the world, according to his bio. In his biggest project to date, he’s working with the Salt Lake City International Airport Department of Airports in designing, fabricating and installing multi-million dollar installations for its Terminal Redevelopment Program, which will be completed in 2020.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Feb. 23)

Options include an art song festival at Fresno State; and new theater productions in Reedley and Hanford

Here’s roundup of promising openings this weekend:

Focus on vocals

Art Song lovers, unite. Maria Briggs, a voice professor, has organized the first Fresno State Art Song Festival, which she’s calling “On Wings of Song.” The festival features a number of master classes and guest instructors. Here are three public highlights:

• On Friday, Feb. 23, Briggs offers a recital (7 p.m., Wahlberg Recital Hall).

• On Saturday, Feb. 24, there will be a student showcase recital and presentation of the “best singer” award (4 p.m., Concert Hall).

• Also on Saturday, guest faculty artist Vladimir Chernov of UCLA will give a recital (6 p.m., Concert Hall).

Briggs says that she started the festival because that while there are several opera programs locally, there is no current platform to showcase and enjoy the Art Song.

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Jennifer Koh returns to Fresno Philharmonic with recipe for a flavorful Bernstein ‘Serenade’

Virtuoso violinist is helping to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth

Jennifer Koh played with the Fresno Philharmonic way back in 1996, so you’d forgive her for being a little hazy in the memory department when it comes to details. That was more than two decades ago, when the youthful talent was busy whipper-snapping her way into the elite ranks of the world’s concert violinists. Throughout the course of her significant career, she’s played lots of places.

It might come as a surprise, then, that as she returns to play with the Fresno Philharmonic on Sunday, Feb. 25, Koh’s recollections are crystal clear about one particular detail from her Fresno visit. Not to be too dramatic about it or anything, but it changed her life.

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Jennifer Koh returns to play with the Fresno Philharmonic on Sunday, Feb. 25. Photo / Juergen Frank

The music director of the Fresno Philharmonic at the time was Maestro Raymond Harvey. During rehearsal week, he invited the young Koh — a college student finishing up at Oberlin whose resume included making her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11 and winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994 — to dinner at his Fresno High School-area home. He cooked a marvelous gourmet dinner for her, as he was known to do.

She was impressed. “How do you cook so well?” she asked.

Then she admitted to him that she was a complete klutz in the kitchen. How bad a cook was she at the time? Think of her at a level of starting-a-fire badness. (That really happened once when she tried to cook a steak that was frozen. She didn’t know she had to defrost it first.) Koh might have been a virtuoso violinist, but her culinary skills were seriously out of tune.

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DIY Duchamp: In Fresno Art Museum’s ‘Trashique,’ a new cycle of artistic inspiration

Pattie Wilkinson expands her artistic horizons with her take on Duchamp’s ‘Bicycle Wheel.’ Plus: You can win a pair of tickets to one of the biggest social events of the year

UPDATE: Our lucky winner is Adrienne Lucero. She gets two tickets to tonight’s “Trashique.”

ORIGINAL POST: Pattie Wilkinson didn’t think she had much in common with Marcel Duchamp when she picked him as her inspiration artist for “Trashique 2018,” the swanky Fresno Art Museum fundraiser that has emerged in recent years as a clever juxtaposition of fashion show, art history lesson, dazzling social event and recycling pep rally.

Wilkinson, who has had a long career designing trade-show displays and as a consultant in the arts and crafts industry — and is an experienced crafter herself — grew up learning to make practical things such as clothes and Christmas gifts. (She came from a family of modest means.) Duchamp, on the other hand, the famed French painter and sculptor, is known for his contributions to Cubism and his groundbreaking contributions to conceptual art. One of his best known pieces involved taking a commonplace urinal, titling it “Fountain” and in 1917 submitting it to an art exhibition. It was a moment that rocked the art world.


Win two tickets to “Trashique 2018,” which for the first year is being held in an airplane hanger. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us the most surprising thing you ever found in the trash. (Or, if you don’t have a good Dumpster Diver story, just tell us why you want to go.) Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.


But thanks to “Trashique,” an event featuring glamorous (if not always practical) fashions made from recycled materials, the always-up-for-a-challenge Wilkinson found herself paired with none other than the “urinal guy.”

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