First Friday, Second Glance: The 100 Block

Musical entertainment at the Emporium, First Friday, Knoxville, May 2011

Entering the 100 Block on First Friday isn’t quite like leaving the Knoxville of Market Square, but it is close. The crowd seems to shift from a more suburban, family atmosphere to a bit more edgy Dada quality. To be sure, families are still all about, but there are far more students and well, I’ll let you look at the pictures.

Urban Art Appreciators view photographs, Emporium, Knoxville

Outside the Emporium 3D glasses meet fake mustaches, 100 Block, Knoxville

The centerpiece of the 100 Block First Friday experience is usually the Emporium. Providing food (fondue this time) drink and music along with works by affiliated artists downstairs in one of the coolest spaces in town and works by guest artists upstairs, there’s a lot going on and its always packed. It’s a fun time to get an introduction to the exhibits and to speak to the artists, but a return visit is usually required to really experience the art since a lingering examination is difficult given the crowds on First Friday. This month featured the photography of Richard Foster, Denise Retallack and Barry McManus. Sara Martin’s collages were also included.

Portraits by Barry McManus, Emporium, Knoxville, May 2011

Mr. Foster’s photography featured a stereographic approach that came alive when viewed through 3-D glasses which were being passed through the crowd. I’m not sure if everyone understood that the other works weren’t helped by the glasses, so I think some people looked at all of it through the glasses. The glasses also seemed to slip their way out onto the street. Mr. McManus’ pictures were of people who he’s encountered on First Fridays and they were fun and often very good. It was fun to see how many people I recognized.

Blacked-winged angel photographs two young lovers

Lovely lady in Urbhana, Knoxville, May 2011

Steph Mahan, 100 Block, Knoxville, May 2011

I really wanted a picture of the guy in his lovely dress

I don’t have any idea.

On the street the happening spot was in front of Urbhana. Steff Mahan, a Nashville recording artist, played on the sidewalk and her photographs, a number of which had been sold that night, were displayed inside. An interesting crowd spilled in every direction down the sidewalk and into the street, dancing, posing, talking and generally having fun. Fake mustaches were in abundance, though no one I asked could quite articulate why. It was a much younger, cooler demographic than fits your local blogger. I love situations in which the blog gives me permission to join an event I would have previously have watched from a distance.

UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, May 2011

(Blogger Favorite in Show) UT Downtown Gallery, May 2011

UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, May 2011

Perhaps unconsciously to re-acclimate to a more sedate world we took in the new exhibition at the UT Downtown Gallery. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t get the name of the artist(s) and I cannot find it online. Maybe someone can post it below. The official sites (on UT’s website and Facebook) still have the Art of Poland highlighted. Obviously, I’m due another, slower, tour this month through everything on that block. There’s much to be seen and I hope if you missed it on First Friday, you’ll catch some of it later this month, as well.

Sculpture, UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, May 2011