Leeds Gallery, UT campus
through August 30
It feels almost wrong to label Eve Arnold a photographer; "era chronicler" or "truth seeker" seems more fitting. For more than four decades, Arnold has captured the lives of countless people in innumerable situations, and while her images bear the mark of a skilled photographer -- a good eye, an instinct for timing, an ability to feel the "essence" of a situation -- they seem to be more: the heart of an age and of the individuals who lived it.
The age of Arnold began in the 1950s, when her work with Life magazine ("when Life was at its pre-television peak") brought images of both the glamorous and the rejected into everyone's home, each picture conveying an earnestness that would become her trademark.
Arnold had a knack for capturing beauty, so many Hollywood stars clamored for her lens, hoping to be immortalized by it. Arnold's 10-year series of Marilyn Monroe catches the starlet in her most vulnerable, reflective moments. Joan Crawford was all but obsessed with posing for Arnold, wanting close-up shots taken of her beauty treatments, massages, whatever. One contact sheet is full of a single Crawford eye, in mid-mascara application.
But Arnold was a "reluctant host to the imagery of Hollywood." Her passion was with people not accustomed to posing and modeling. Arnold's favored studios were Salvation Armies, churches, brothels, breweries, institutions, ghettoes. In the sad, solemn faces in "Migrants on bunk beds" and the blank stares in "Hydrotherapy for political prisoners psychiatric hospital (Moscow)," she seeks an understanding of all her subjects and always assesses the situation's truth. From China to the former U.S.S.R. to Afghanistan and beyond, Arnold used her camera and instinct to give people a silent voice.
As Arnold says, "Photographs live forever, which is more than you can say for their subjects." How lucky we are that Arnold's craft will live forever.
Wild About Music
Ah, music, and all its ceaseless incarnations... it's probably painted as much as it's played. And in this new West Sixth Street gallery, you have painted music galore; if you want to see music, this is where to go.
In honor of "June Is Jazz Month," the gallery has been displaying a collection of paintings from the historic New York jazz club Birdland. Jazz greats from Count Basie to Duke Ellington to Ella Fitzgerald (with a burning candle standing guard) are captured in their grinning prime.
In addition, more than 15 artists -- mostly Texans -- have pieces on display. The works are too varied to describe as a whole; suffice to say, the gallery offers a new group of surprises around every corner. Freddie McCoo's use of colors and dimensions give his subjects a sleek kaleidoscopic background. Jean-Pierre Weill's three-dimensional, layered glass etchings allow shadows to enter his world of floating musical notes. Ursula Coyote's photos with oil paints portray local musicians with a neon-like glow. Barrett DeBusk's wire sculptures join in the revelry.
That's but a mention, but I think you get the picture. -- Cari Marshall