Great art beckons, so ready, set...

"Night Flight of Dread and Delight," an oil painting by Skunder Boghossian, is featured in the Harn Museum's new Ethiopian exhibit.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 2:18 a.m.
For those suffering from AADD (Artistic Attention Deficit Disorder), have I got a week for you. You'll be exhausted long before you run out of options. It seems like everybody is multi-tasking. The list is long so let's get to it.
First up is the Thomas Center, which is finishing a run of Art from the Alachua County Elementary schools. This exhibit is only up until Sunday in the Mezzanine gallery. When the AADD kicks in, head downstairs and check out Soldiers, Saints and Scaramouche: The Iconography of the Sword in the Main Gallery. This exhibit features over 30 swords, daggers and axes. If you are reading this column at breakfast, there is a weapons demonstration by knights from Orlando's Medieval Times from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. p.m. at UF's Plaza of the Americas. The public reception is Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Head on over, check out the exhibit, music and food, grab an axe and get medieval on somebody. This exhibit runs through Feb. 19.
More in the mood for African culture? If so, check out the three new shows now open at the Harn. The first is Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists. This exhibit focuses on contemporary Ethiopian art from the 1940s to present day.
There are three significant periods. The first generation of artists were sponsored by Emperor Haile Selassie. The second developed during the Derg, a period of Marxist rule that ended in 1991. The most recent group has evolved in the following period of relative freedom. While touring the exhibit you will see obvious changes in subject and style once the Derg ended.
There are several excellent pieces; my favorite is "Night Flight of Dread and Delight" by Skunder Boghossian. It radiates a twisted dream-like quality; both nature and nightmare vying for dominance. The composition also gives a nod to Gustav Klimt.
When your feet start twitching, wander over to Art of the Ethiopian Highlands from the Harn Museum Collection. This companion exhibition gives historical context to Continuity and Change. Included in the mix is a 25-foot-long mural depicting the war of King Takla Haymanot with the Dervishes.
The third member of this group is IMAGinING TOBIA, a video installation by Ethiopian artist Salem Mekuria. The video both explores the lush landscapes of the country and documents the misuse and abuse that is occurring in modern Ethiopia. Mekuria will lecture on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. Both this and the Highlands exhibit will close on May 6. Continuity and Change closes April 29.
Local artist and regular Harn exhibitor Arnold Mesches is having a good month. Not only has his latest show, Coming Attractions, opened up in Miami's Brook Dorsch Gallery, but his large-scale painting ANOMIE2001: CONEY, which was previously displayed at the Harn, has just been purchased by New York's Whitney Museum of Art for its permanent collection.
If any one group is guilty of saturating the market with art, it is the Gainesville Fine Arts Association. They have shows open everywhere. It feels like some kind of cultural invasion.
Member Ellen West has a show running at the Hippodrome that accompanies "The Smell of the Kill," a play in which her daughter performs. The public reception for that show is Friday night. It runs in conjunction with ARTWALK.
In what smells like an inter-association game of oneupmanship, member Ron Haase has not only produced a new exhibition to accompany the Gainesville Community Playhouse's new performance, "Metamorphoses," both he and his wife painted the sets, and he has multiple roles in the play. The paintings are on display during the performances at the Vam York Community Playhouse for the run of the show.
The GFAA also has a new show opening Monday in the President's Exhibition Hall at Santa Fe Community College. The public reception is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 2. The exhibition will be up until March 2. And then there is the GFAA's Colorful World at the Trinity United Methodist church. This show includes watercolors, fabrics, oils, sculpture, and other media. It is considered one of their larger shows and will be on display until March 27. With all these shows cranking I wonder if they have anything but empty shelves at their Millhopper gallery?
More details such as times and locations are available in Calendar, page 12.
When he's not yodeling from the Carillon Tower, David Hackett can be reached at

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