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New exhibits spotlight pop art, the dark side of fairy tales

Bill DeYoung



James Michaels, "Popeye Picasso" (detail).

Along with their vast and varied collection of contemporary art focused on images of the Old West, Tom and Mary James posess the work of Tampa Bay painter James Michaels, who was, once upon a time, a political cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune.

James Michaels

The subjects of the New York-born Michaels’ art couldn’t be more different from the rugged cowboys and spirited Native Americans that ride roughshod through the galleries of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. He is a “pop painter” artist whose whimsical works integrate nostalgic characters – most of them fictional – from American pop culture with abstracts, portraiture and more. Michaels’ work is singular in its execution.

The James Museum is opening James Michaels: An American Pop Life Saturday (Nov. 17) in the second-floor special exhibitions gallery. “We are thrilled,” Founding Director Bernice Chu said, “to feature a local artist whose award-winning work is both iconic yet historical,” said. “The artist brings a level of nostalgia that we believe will resonate with our guests.”

The exhibition will remain through March 3, 2019.

Artist Daisy Makeig-Jones was the designing brain behind Wedgwood’s Fairytale Lustre line of fine decorative porcelain in the early 20th century.

While many of the colorful scenes conjured up by Makeig-Jones were imaginative, peaceful and fairy-tale sweet, with imps and pixies, she was perhaps best known for her complex compositions of somewhat darker things.

Covered Jar with Ghostly Wood motif, c. 1916-1932, Wedgwood, design by Daisy Makeig-Jones.

From the Weiner Museum of Decorative Arts:

Most visions of Fairyland conjure up images of ethereal sprites with diaphanous dresses and gossamer wings dancing around toadstools in an enchanted wood. However, Wedgwood’s Fairyland Lustre by Daisy Makeig-Jones features imps, goblins, demon trees, and spiders that eat babies.

The St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts has an exhibition of this fascinating chapter in Wedgwood history opening Saturday (Nov. 17) and running through March 3, 2019. Fairyland Lustre: The Darkly Magical World of Daisy Makeig-Jones is a small collection – just 18 pieces – but the images, which run from the benign to the downright spooky, are impressive.

This is Not a Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits From the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection takes its final MFA bow Nov. 25, making room for Jewels of the Imagination: Radiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection (Dec. 15-March 15), which spotlights the jet-setting 1950s work of Tiffany & Co. master jeweler Jean Schlumberger.

At the Dali Museum, there’s another week and change left to catch the extraordinary exhibition of works by Florida photographer Clyde Butcher, taken in Spain of the locales that were near and dear to Salvadore Dali. Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain is out the door on Nov. 25.

Meanwhile, the bay area is all abuzz over the impending arrival of the next Dali Museum exhibit, comparing and contrasting the works of two of history’s most celebrated surrealists, Dali and Rene Magritte. Magritte & Dali opens Dec. 15; you’ll be reading much more about it soon, right here.

St. Petersburg artist Ya La’Ford – a SHINE Mural Festival favorite – has been commission to create a laser-cut chrome sculpture for the southeast corner of the new condo development 357 on 5th. She’s titled it “Cosmic Whispers.”


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