2021 Fall Arts Preview: Visual arts: Galleries galore!

Margaret Regan, Tucson Weekly, September 2, 2021

As we move into our second pandemic autumn, the big news on the cultural calendar is that nearly every arts enterprise is open. Galleries are swinging their doors wide, theaters are pulling up their curtains, and ballerinas are preparing to dance once more. 

Some groups went back to business eons ago. The Tucson Museum, for one, re-opened in the summer of 2020 and seems to have done well with timed tickets, limited entry, required masks and social distancing. Others opened up bit by bit. And, this spring, as millions got their shots and Covid waned, arts groups of all sorts cheerfully planned for normal fall seasons.

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Etherton Gallery has a host of things to celebrate this fall: a cool new gallery space in Barrio Viejo, a major retrospective exhibition of the revered photographer Joel-Peter Witkin and the 40th anniversary of the gallery. Over those four decades, from his original digs on Fourth Ave., to the Odd Fellows Hall downtown and now in the Barrio, gallerist Terry Etherton has stayed in the urban core and helped the city revive. Now known internationally in the photo world, Etherton opens up his third chapter with the retrospective show Joel-Peter Witkin: Journeys of the Soul. Witkin, a revered photographer now in his eighties, is known for his elaborate tableaux of people of all kinds, including the disabled and transexuals, the nude and the dressed, the living and the dead. 

The new gallery is at 340 S. Convent Ave. Opening day is scheduled to be Sept. 14. Call before you go. 624-7370. The Witkin show opens with a reception on Sat., Sept. 18, 7 to 10 p.m. Witkin himself makes an appearance. The exhibition runs through Nov. 27. ethertongallery.com.

On Sunday, Sept. 19th, at 2 p.m., the film Witkin & Witkin will be screened at The Loft Cinema. The film chronicles the lives the identical Witkin twins, photographer Joel-Peter and figurative painter Jerome.

Etherton is not the only gallery that has decamped to Barrio Viejo. A second photography enterprise, Andrew Smith Gallery, is setting up shop right next door to Etherton, perhaps fomenting an art explosion in the neighborhood. Smith moved from the Arts Warehouse district to a historic adobe at the corner of Convent and W. Simpson. The high-end gallery trades in works of the 19th century West; the photos of renowned 20th-century photogs like Laura Gilpin and Ansel Adams; and plenty of contemporary artists. andrewsmithgallery.com

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