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Something's Happening: The Big Art of Katie Pell Staff Pick

When: Fri., Aug. 17, 6 p.m., Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28 2018
Price: $6/adults, $5/senior citizens, $2.50/students, Free/children and military

The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) has been transforming itself since April 2016, renovating 15,000 square feet of the museum, adding collection galleries to its upstairs, repairing and repainting gallery cases, and creating additional art storage. While renovations are not quite complete (phase 2 is expected to finish up in December), the museum, which has been closed to the public since July 23 is open again with a brand spankin’ new exhibition, Something’s Happening: The Big Art of Katie Pell.

Something’s Happening is Pell’s first solo museum exhibition, one that’s described as “an irreverent rite-of-passage narrative that uses the artist’s own life to explore the ordinary side of icons, the exceptional side of ordinary people, and the power of identifying your story.”

The sprawling exhibition taking up four galleries features 71 pieces, ranging from sculpture to textile to drawing to collage. In an artist’s statement Pell writes, “I have decided to make work that celebrates a paradigm of love. As attractive as it is to join in a Dorothy Parker-style battle of intellects or to party like a nihilist, I feel an urgency to introduce generosity and communion into my life’s work.”

Museum curator Catherine Walworth, who worked with Pell to develop the exhibition, says, “Our goal was to create a kind of dream sequence that a teenager might launch into while listening to record albums and thumbing through their year book.”

Looking at some of the images in Something’s Happening, we can see what she means by dream sequence. From colored pencil-esque sketches to chunky puff clouds, Pell’s work is evocative of all stages of our imagination’s life.

— Connelly Hardaway


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