We've Just Figured Out Your Friday Night (Cheers to Gallery Crawls!)

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

Friday is wonderful for many reasons, but there’s always a bit of a twilight hour between work and when the night starts to get going. Our suggestion to fill that time? A gallery crawl. This weekend, especially, is wonderful for new work: Duane Reed and Phillip Slein are debuting new exhibits, Mad Art Gallery is holding a reception and the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum will be opening its fall exhibitions.

But it wouldn’t be a proper crawl without some drinks along the way, after all—and good art is best appreciated and discussed with friends over a well-crafted cocktail, hoppy brew or resplendent glass of wine. Below, you’ll find some key museum and gallery openings, along with some great places nearby to pop in for a cheeky bev before or after the show. We’ve plotted to move in to Downtown, starting in the CWE, but modify as needed. In any case, consider your Friday night sorted.

(Writer disclosure: Remember to pace yourself—openings are at least slightly respectable, even if the red wine is flowing—and cab it if everyone’s on the sauce.)

Herbie's Vintage 72

Herbie’s Vintage 72 – Your first drinks stop of the night.

First stop: Herbie’s Vintage 72 + Duane Reed Gallery

Leave work a nip before 5pm (TGIF, everyone) and pop over to Duane Reed Gallery (4725 McPherson Ave.), whose opening runs from 5-8pm. “Repetition, Rhythm, Pattern,” curated by Jane Sauer, showcases the works of Giles Bettison, Katherine Glover, Luanne Rimel, Erica Rosenfeld and Harue Shimomoto, in an examination of how each approaches the three concepts and explores the spectrum of comfort, growth and possibility that repetition creates.

Monroe Hodder, a San Francisco Art Institute M.F.A., also debuts her show at Duane Reed on Friday. Her association with the Bay Area Figurative School inspires canvasses that also focus on repetition, but within a framework of stripes to create a layered visual expression that relates concepts through the use of Matisse-inspired color.

Now (quick!) get to Herbie’s in time to catch the last minutes of their happy hour (ends at 6pm), when the bistro serves up $3 wells, $2 Budweisers/Bud Lights and $2.50 domestic drafts. Apps are half off, too (no time for a full meal!).

Second stop: Phillip Slein Gallery + Llywelyn’s

Next, pop over to Phillip Slein for their opening exhibitions. John Zinsser, a co-founder of the Journal of Contemporary Art, presents his take on abstract expressionism and early minimalism in “Extension of Thought,” which encourages viewers to contemplate the abstract and the aesthetics its comprised of. Jeff Aeling also opens a new show tonight, appropriately titled “New Work,” that features large panoramas of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers north of the city.

For a drink and some art talk—which should be interesting, given the stark contrast between the two shows—head next door to Llywelyn’s, where a pint is the perfect thing to break up this journey (who said art banter has to be all cocktails and fine wine anyway?). The atmosphere is welcoming, warm and occasionally a little boisterous—the perfect volume, in other words, to settle some differences of aesthetic opinion.

Third stop: Mildred Lane Kemper Museum + Café Eau

A scant seven-minute drive away is the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum at Washington University, which will open its doors to the public at the opening reception for their fall exhibitions from 7-9pm. The range of talent on display is incredibly diverse: “Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association” will fulfill any architectural inclinations. Boyarsky, who served as chairman of the Architectural Association’s School of Architecture in London from 1971-1990, launched the institution to international prominence and prestige during his tenure. The exhibit marks the first time his private sketches have been viewed by the public.

For those who lean toward cultural studies, “Exploring the City: The Urban Experience in Contemporary Art” explores how we experience built environments and engage with them aesthetically. The exhibition showcases a variety of media and also asks questions about the relationships between art and architecture, occasionally engaging in focused looks at LA, New York and St. Louis to explore how the built environment is informed by the external processes—culture, commerce, politics—that inevitably shape it.

Finally, delve into the tangled world of Greek Mythology in “Picturing Narrative: Greek Mythology in Visual Arts,” which examines how the words making up the myths are translated into images. Inevitably, something will always get lost in translation, but what results is equally fascinating and shapes the way in which we understand the stories. Works by Alan Davie, Raoul Dufy and Pablo Picasso himself will be on display.

There’s going to be plenty to talk about at this point, so go to the other side of Forest Park (it’s on the way to the next stop, promise) to Café Eau at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. We rescind our earlier drinks comment to highly recommend the cocktails here. Their French 75s (cava with a splash of gin, or maybe the other way around) are sure to lead to some lively conversation, but an extensive  menu is bound to yield some other favorites. This is a good time to consider a cab.

Fourth stop:  Mad Art Gallery + Venice Café

Round off the night at “Enigmatic Materiality” at the Mad Art Gallery. Although the show opened Aug. 5, the reception for the works continues until 11pm. It features works by Michael Drummond, Marie Bannerot McInerney, Carrie Gillen, and C M Becker, and it showcases their explorations of texture, hue and form.

Finally, catch a nightcap (and keep in the indie spirit of Mad Art) at the Venice Café, a six-minute walk from the gallery. Their amazing patio with some cool fountains is a pleasant place to sit with a beer and enjoy the rest of your evening—or begin it.

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