Join us at our holiday open house and Art Bar

The Arts Council’s annual Holiday Open House and Art Bar is tonight from 5-9 p.m. at the Art Center.

It’s a great chance to have a cup of holiday cheer and check out the ChArts Store’s eclectic array of holiday gift ideas from artwork to books, t-shirts and jewelry. For more information on the event you can call CAC at 775-423-1440.

There will also be two new exhibitions on view both featuring work by Montana artists. Gordon McConnell’s paintings are based on movie stills from old black-and-white western movies and his show is entitled “West of Everything.”

Jane Waggoner Deschner’s show is entitled “It Must Be True” and is comprised of multi-media works, including embroidery, using found photographs. The works connect generations by teasing out common humanitarian themes not confined by time, place of circumstance. The shows will on view through mid-March and both artists will be in town for a panel discussion on their work in January.

As the season is upon us, you might be looking for some gift ideas for the readers on your list. Here are two suggestions for those who might be interested in historical things.

“Flickering Light: A History of Neon” (Reaktion Books) by Christoph Ribbat traces the technological, social and cultural history of one of the most iconic and attractive of modern signage systems from its beginnings in a late 19th century London lab through its omnipresent status on American highways and its use by some significant twentieth century artists.

Ribbat offers up anecdotal tales such as when it was first installed on the Florence Hotel in Misssoula in the 1920s the fire department received calls thinking there was a massive forest fire burning out of control.

He also notes its importance in the building of Las Vegas transforming it into America’s playground and traces references to it in the novels of Vladimir Nabokov and Nelson Algren; the music of Peggy Lee and Kraftwerk; and its adoption by a host of contemporary visual artists from Bruce Nauman to Tracy Emin.

“Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” (Doubleday) by Scott Anderson. This large and impeccably researched volume tells the story of Lawrence’s adventures with the Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War I; a story made famous by David Lean’s epic film, “Lawrence of Arabia.”

It is the story of four odd characters — Curt Prufer, an academic in the German embassy in Cairo; Aaron Aaronsohn, an agronomist working in Syria; William Yale, who worked to get oil rights from the Turks for Standard Oil; and at the center of it all, Lawrence.

Anderson intertwines the lives of these four individuals and, in doing so, gives us the true tale of how the modern Middle East, with its problems, follies and power struggles was formed.

Kirk Robertson writes about the local art scene.


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