Tag Archives: gallery

Holiday Gifting 2010 *1*

‘Tis the season (sorry we already missed Hanukkah) but when thinking about gifts this year,  think about our great local independent stores.  Here is the first in a series of ideas from our own local businesses…

May your holiday be bright!


Made by local artist Kathy Rose-Byington and available at Bare Hands Gallery, each meticulously created piece would bring a bit of bling to your windows this season. Bare Hands is unfortunately closing after this holiday season.

It is that time of year when we need to find something special for everyone — and what better way to do that than to pick one of these fantasitcly sparkly and unique collages made with vintage glass.


Can’t decide what to get for your mother, great aunt, sister in law, snow bound cousin in wisconsin?   I bet she doesn’t have one of these…

Supporting locally owned businesses basically keeps 50% more of your dollars in town, as opposed to supporting national chains.  Of course 0% of your dollars stay in town if you order off the internet. Check out the 3/50 project for more information. Happy Holidays!

Art of the Urbane

So THAT'S what we can do with the broken meters

Directly east of Space One Eleven Gallery, a new contemporary art gallery has opened downtown. It’s called Beta Pictoris and it’s the brainchild of Guido Maus (you can view the gallery website here). The shot above shows the storefront on the 2400 block of Second Avenue North.

Guido moved to Birmingham 5-1/2 years ago from New York City (he is Belgian). He ran furniture galleries in Tribeca before his wife, an expert in antique furniture restoration, was lured to Birmingham to help the Museum of Art with their collection. After a furniture venture here, Guido decided to follow one of his dreams and open up a fine art gallery, showing both local and national artists. His first show exhibited both Birmingham and New York artists, and according to Guido, “visitors couldn’t tell the difference.” He is interested in upending this notion of “local” vs. “national” art, to establish dialogs through visual art.

Dressed to kill

This interest in dialog is why his current show is so spot on. Entitled “Dazzling”, it exhibits photography by local artist Sonja Rieger (the example here is “Kitti Smoking” and the image is courtesy Sonja Rieger and beta pictoris gallery). Sonja photographed drag queens while they were gathered at a large, African-American drag event in Birmingham’s west side. Close to 500 people turned out for the opening night of this show, and, according to Guido, provocative discussion was everywhere.

“Art should provoke discussion, not just look pleasing.”–Guido Maus

Guido feels there is a vibrant art scene in Birmingham, but no vibrant art market. This is why so many galleries are forced to sell art that “looks pretty” and is acceptable to interior decorators–and that’s fine; there’s a place for that. But Guido feels there’s also room to support other artists who are stretching the boundaries beyond what is just pretty, towards what is provocative.

I have long felt that urban areas must have artists and art in order to be truly vibrant. This city could do a much better job of offering incentives for artists to relocate here, for galleries to open and flourish, for public art programs. In the meantime, kudos to Guido for sticking with the Magic City and choosing to take a risk that a provocative, intellectual approach to art can work here. His small gallery is just a start; he’d like to open a much larger space suitable for large exhibitions, artists-in-residence, etc. Mark your calendars for his next opening Friday May 28!

Passionate about the power of art

Finally, a brief note about the pic at the top of the post: Space One Eleven, the neighboring gallery, has put together a great piece of urban “public” art, utilizing street trees, storefront windows, and yes, broken parking meters. I’m only half-joking when I suggest we may have finally found a solution to repairing the vast number of broken meters across this city!

Happy Hipsters

“There. He felt it again. The whole house had unmistakeably slid toward the retaining wall, as if inching toward edificial suicide.”

I know this link has been bouncing around, but I thought this would bring a smile to those of us who appreciate modern design–it’s good to take a step back and have a sense of humor every once and a while.

I’m reminded of cracking open my first Wallpaper magazine back in 1998 or so: I was fascinated that there could be a consumer market for all things modern, hip, and glossy. It felt refreshing since, at that time, you’d be hard-pressed to find modern design in any “lifestyle” magazine, much less in mass-market catalogs.

Now, of course, from Dwell to CB2, it’s everywhere. Hence a little of the ennui pictured in today’s light-hearted link.

Not to get too sad about things–to the left is a pic of some relatively happy looking hipsters at the fabulous graffiti show at Bare Hands Gallery a few months ago. Then again, who couldn’t be happy at an art opening at Bare Hands? Thanks to Dystopos for the pic!

(via Unhappy Hipsters Photo: Jason Schmidt, Dwell, February 2010)