Visual Art

First Thursday: March

Free is the word at downtown galleries and museums.

By Kaitlin Nunn March 4, 2010


Where will we be this First Thursday?

At the Henry Art Gallery, where Milton Rogovin’s stark, socially aware photography is on display through April 25. The 100-year-old optometrist has a keen eye for what he calls the “forgotten ones,” or the blue-collar poor: everyone from Appalachian coal miners to families in Chile. During the peak of McCarthyism Rogovin was suspected of being “the top red” in his hometown of Buffalo, NY, so he turned to photography as an outlet for his social criticism. His portraits lack pretension, with the subjects showing great poise as he documents their lives. In one frame from his Lower West Side series, Seymour dangles his hands over his knees and tilts his head like he’s posing for the cover of GQ, but his bandaged finger and floppy hat tell a different story.

We’re also heading to Platform Gallery, where now through March 27 you can see Michael Schall’s incredibly detailed pencil drawings. Get up close to examine Battle at Sea—a 70×94-inch drawing dominating one wall—in which barges and cruise ships stranded among ice flows seem to be engaged in an epic, endless game of battleship. Schall will be at Platform tonight after 5, so you can ask him yourself how he manages to avoid smudging.

We’ll finish the night at Flatcolor Gallery, where black-and-whites and graphite are sacrilege and color is king. Now through March 28, Dave MacDowell’s acerbic acrylics juxtapose elements of pop culture for comic effect (see Bad Mutha Wizard above, with Samuel L. Jackson as the Wizard of Oz). Also at Flatcolor is Augie Pagan, who brings his background in comic book illustration and video game art design to his “Mexican Pulp” paintings (see Never Eat the Worm in the slideshow above). Don’t miss the loft exhibit Sidekicks and Henchmen, the shrine to lesser-known comic book heroes, and the Emerald City Comic Con reception with artists next weekend (March 13, 6-10pm).

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