Regional Update: Memphis

Botanic Gardens Park Avenue, 2018, 5" x7" photograph. Image courtesy of Judith Dierkes.

by Judith Dierkes


Botanic Gardens Park Avenue, 2018, 5″ x 7″ photograph. Image courtesy of Judith Dierkes.


The South Main Art Trolley Tour in Memphis is back and better than ever. It is the last Friday of every month from 6 to 9pm. It now has as much food and drink as art; it took a while for the food establishments to fill in the vacant buildings that are not galleries. The area’s diversity is noticeable compared to ten years ago. There are several stops on the tour that cannot be missed including Art Village Gallery. South Main Market (in the old Jay Etkins Gallery) is Memphis’ first food hall with vendors City Block Salumeria (butcher shop and deli), Civil Pour (alcoholic libations), Java Cabana (coffee) and Wallflower Memphis (florist); in September several pop-up artists packed into the place for trolley night. The quality varies and changes each month. Stock and Belle has opened up their back space, offering stalls for artists jumping on the trend for pop ups.


Printmaking is the hot topic this fall in Memphis. Dixon Gallery and Gardens is hosting an exhibition of Mexican posters, pamphlets, books and newspapers entitled El Taller De Gra’ficia Popular Vida Y Arte from October 13, 2018 to January 6, 2019. There is plenty of programing in conjunction with the exhibit including a workshop about Mexican printmaking traditions and a collaboration between Hutchison and University of Memphis students; they will be printing a poster for the exhibition. The University of Memphis Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art open two print shows October 5 through November 9. Freedom of the Press: Posters from Progressive Print Shops 1960-1990s is produced by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in conjunction with Progressive Printers Network in Los Angeles. Work from shops in the United States and Canada address social change. Bringing it to the home front will be Here and Now: Printmaking and the Political Present. Memphis-based artists will work with Maritza Davila at the University of Memphis print department to screen print work for this exhibit.


When you need a break from all the social justice art check out Origami in the Garden2 at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Meditate on the art of folding while exploring 96 acres of beautiful landscape. Discover the work of Jennifer and Kevin Box and others as you walk the different spaces of the gardens with a scavenger hunt map – or even tram ride if you are there the right time and day. Plan to check it out every few months to observe the seasonal changes since it is here until March 24, 2019. Bring the kids to this one.


Looking forward to mid-2019, Memphis will be all about fiber. A Studio Art Quilt Associates traveling show of abstracts and geometrics is coming to Crosstown Concourse. They will be celebrating the art of the quilt with a “Two x Two Blue” quilt challenge. Quilters do love these types of competitions; artists, take up the challenge. Any material is considered a quilt if you have two outer layers and something in between held together somehow.


Judith Dierkes is a visual artist living in Memphis. Her social practice includes biking the city with an art trailer, ‘Lil Kernel, when she needs to carry large loads.