SMoCA Seeks to Inspire Through Virtual Art Offerings

Brad Kahlhamer at the Drawing Center (2019); Photo: Gregory Goode

Although the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is closed for in-person visits, art lovers can still find inspiration online through the Museums virtual visits.

The Museum checked in with artist Brad Kahlhamer in his Valley studio with Museum Musings.

Kahlhamer’s upcoming exhibition, Swap Meet, at SMoCA in 2021, will present new works in a variety of mediums that offer a meditation on the nomadic and intersectional contemporary condition that involves a social network of individuals of different ages, residency status, class and race.

Enjoy a sneak peek with Kahlhamer as he walks guests through his studio, sharing works in progress, cactus botanicals, a poem, dream catchers, sketchbooks, paintings and his admiration for the incredible Arizona desert landscape.

Swap Meet will be on exhibit Sept. 25, 2021 – Jan. 23, 2022. Information on other virtual offerings at SMoCA can be found on the website. Those who would like to help support the Museum as it weathers its closure may visit

Teaser photo: “Sneak Peek” screenshot; courtesy of the artist

‘Unapologetic’: SMoCA Celebrates Women Artists All Year

Kara Walker, “Untitled,” 1998. Lithograph; 34 1/8  x 26 ¾ inches. Gift of Joe Segura.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) unveils its first yearlong collection show, featuring all women artists. The exhibition includes a section of rotational highlights and a gallery dedicated to rarely shown installation-based works. “Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” will be on view Feb. 15, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021.

“A recent study of art museum collections across the country revealed that women artists comprise an average of under 12 percent of the total artists. Considering this revelation, SMoCA dedicates a yearlong exhibition to women artists to bring attention to this inequity, to foster awareness and to promote inclusivity,” said Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator at SMoCA.

Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, “An American Breakthrough”

For the year, the Museum presents this exhibition to raise awareness of this lack of inclusion. This exhibition’s title conveys a sense of strength, signaling for systemic change within culture, where individuals of all gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age and ability see themselves represented within museums.

This exhibition presents a variety of mediums and genres of art, including modernist bronze sculpture, large abstract shaped canvases, conceptual art, written word, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture and collage. Visitors can experience an in-depth look at more than 35 works from the Museum’s collection.

The rotational section of works will create a space that presents the range of SMoCA’s collection, including new acquisitions. The first group of works will rotate in June and a final rotation will take place in October.

The installation-based gallery is on view for a shorter period, from Feb. 15 to May 31, and presents several works for the first time since they were acquired, specifically the Laurie Lundquist and Barbara Penn installations. Some of the notable installation pieces in the exhibition were produced specifically for past exhibitions, making them one-of-a-kind works that cannot be seen elsewhere.

The exhibition is timely — “Unapologetic” is on view during the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, which brought about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The Museum is also a presenting institution as part of the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), a platform for art projects informed by feminisms. Learn more at

“Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator, with Keshia Turley, curatorial assistant. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 7374 East Second Street. For additional information, call 480.874.4666 or visit

SMoCA Announces 24 Artists in Fall Exhibition

Ana Teresa Fernández, “Of Bodies and Borders 1 (performance documentation),” 2017, Oil on canvas, 54 x 94 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) will premiere its first large-scale group exhibition of performance art, “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now,” accompanied by a catalog and collaborative components, Oct. 26 — Jan. 19.

In the history of the Museum, this is the first time its galleries will be dedicated to performance art, despite the increasing prevalence of performance in contemporary art. A fall opening celebration will be held at 7pm Friday, Oct. 25, with free admission for the public to preview the galleries with curators, artists and the community.

As a counter to the established ideas of land art, “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now” presents leading artists working with performance who have brought about new ways of seeing and interacting with the environment. Through a focused selection of key historical and contemporary works, “Counter-Landscapes” illuminates how the strategies of women artists in the 1970s and 1980s are employed by artists today, especially those interested in issues of social, environmental and personal transformation. The works present a dialogue across generations, locations and genders, featuring photography, video, sculpture, performance and installation. The selection of artists — 24 total — includes early practitioners (1970s – 1980s), the next generation (1990s – 2000s) and new commissions (2019) by contemporary artists Maria Hupfield (Toronto, and a member of the Anishinaabe Nation at Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario) and Saskia Jordá (Phoenix, Arizona).

“‘Counter-Landscapes’ pairs important historical works — some on loan from the Tate in London — with new works, including four large-scale installations by contemporary artists, one performance commission and a series of public programs to deepen the understanding of the works on view,” said Jennifer McCabe, SMoCA’s director and chief curator.

The exhibition brings together the work of a pioneering generation of women artists who forged new ways of making art in the 1970s and 1980s — Agnes Denes, Rebecca Horn, Suzanne Lacy, Adrian Piper, Bonnie Ora Sherk, among others — with pieces by a younger cohort who have adopted and extended their strategies. These artists (both male and female), who rose to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s, create work that addresses social, environmental and personal transformation. “Counter-Landscapes” shows how, in the process of overcoming the extraordinary obstacles they faced as women, artists working in the landscape in the late 20th century developed inventive strategies that have profoundly influenced younger artists and changed the face of the art world.

“‘Counter-Landscapes’ tells a new story about how women artists were groundbreaking in the 1970s and ’80s and how relevant and timely the work remains,” McCabe continued.

Artists include: Marina Abramović, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Eleanor Antin, Agnes Denes, Angela Ellsworth, VALIE EXPORT, Ana Teresa Fernández, Rebecca Horn, Maria Hupfield, Saskia Jordá, Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacy, Ana Mendieta, Christian Philipp Müller, Adrian Piper, Pope.L, Lotty Rosenfeld, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Beth Ames Swartz, Zhou Tao, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Antonia Wright.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a self-published, four-color, approximately 150-page catalog, designed by Fernando Espinosa. The catalog reflects extensive research and new scholarship, with essays by McCabe and additional invited scholars, Dr. Natasha Boas and Dr. Jolene Rickard. “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now” will be available In January 2020.

In anticipation of this multi-gallery exhibition, the galleries will be closed during installation. However, the Museum’s Shop@SMoCA and James Turrell Skyspace will be open 11am–5pm, Oct. 15 until Oct. 24. The Museum will reopen at 7pm Friday, Oct. 25, for the public during the fall opening celebration. Normal hours resume Saturday, Oct. 26.

For additional details about the exhibit, as well as related programming, visit Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 7374 East Second Street. For additional information, call 480.874.4666.

Art Lover’s Delight: Chill Out at SMoCA This Summer

”KnightRise” Photo: Sean Deckert

Summer in the Valley is the perfect time to get out of the heat and into a museum. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) presents a wide range of exciting and diverse events, to keep art lovers cool in a 68-degree museum. This season is packed with artist-led talks and workshops and the return of fan favorites Mystery at the Museum and Art Handlers Triathlon. Additionally, several events relate to the 2019 summer exhibitions. These events offer guests the opportunity to engage with artists, the community and museumgoers to consider the questions and themes explored throughout the Museum. Schedule of summer events (subject to change):

June 6: Artist Talk — Aakash Nihalani and Daniel Rozin
Artists Aakash Nihalani and Daniel Rozin team up to talk about their work in the exhibition “Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology.” Guests will get a sneak peek of Nihalani’s new artwork inside SMoCA Lounge before it’s revealed to the public.

June 7: Summer Opening Party
Join SMoCA in celebrating another season of new exhibitions. Chat with curators, mingle with artists and explore the exhibitions. Cash bar.

June 21: Sunset in the Skyspace
7:30pm; $10
Spend the longest day of the year at SMoCA. Celebrate the summer solstice by watching the sunset in James Turrell’s “Knight Rise” Skyspace. Refreshments included.

July 6: The Studio @SMoCA — Simply Succulents with Dig It
Noon–3pm; $45, pair; $30, individual
Horticulture experts from Dig It Gardens in Phoenix will show participants how to create and care for their own succulent terrarium. Materials provided. Light refreshments included.

July 19: Beer ‘n Bingo
7pm; $15 (includes one drink)
Anwar Newton hosts an evening of craft beer and bingo with a SMoCA twist. This is not your grandmother’s bingo night. One free beer sample per person. Cash bar and snacks included.

All events are free and take place in SMoCA Lounge, unless noted otherwise. Free events at SMoCA fill quickly and are first come, first served; early arrival is encouraged. Visitors can RSVP and purchase tickets at


Chill Out This Summer With Live & Local Fridays

Whiskey Kiss; Photo by E. Brien Thompson

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Live & Local Fridays summer concert series will open July 28 with a performance by the Latin blues band Los Morenos in the Virginia G. Piper Theater, and with the experimental jazz quartet House of Stairs in Stage 2.

The expanded Live & Local Fridays lineup will showcase 10 Arizona groups spanning Americana, blues, flamenco, jazz, Latin and pop Friday evenings through August 25. For the first time, the series will be presented in both of the Center’s indoor venues, with larger bands performing in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 8pm and smaller ensembles in the more intimate Stage 2 at 8:30pm. In addition to Los Morenos July 28, mainstage concerts in the Virginia G. Piper Theater will feature Whiskey Kiss August 4, Kabarett August 11, Inspiracion Flamenca August 18 and Marmalade Skies August 25.
Following House of Stairs July 28, Stage 2 concerts will include Chuck Hall “Rewired!” August 4, Odd Man Out August 11, Jan Sandwich Presents: Remembering Debbie Reynolds August 18 and 76th Street August 25.

Inspiracion Flamenca, Julia-Chacon; Photo by Mary Nelle Brown

Stage 2 shows are general admission and offer both table and theater seating options. The Virginia G. Piper Theater has reserved seating. Audiences are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy cocktails and tasty bites from the Encore Bar.

Next door, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) offers free admission from 5–9pm on Fridays. The Museum’s summer exhibitions include the immersive installation Ocean of Light: Submergence by the U.K.-based arts collective Squidsoup; [dis]functional: Products of Conceptual Design, exploring the relationship between art and design; and I’m Sorry But It’s Hard to Imagine, juxtaposing works from SMoCA’s collection with one of Nam June Paik’s iconic TV sculptures. Visit

Advance tickets for Live & Local Fridays concerts are available by phone or online: 480.499.8587 or

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Offers free admission on Thursdays

Cool off this summer and enjoy free admission on Thursdays from 10am-5pm at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Located in Scottsdale’s Old Town district, the SMoCA features compelling modern and contemporary art, architecture and design from around the globe. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s five-gallery minimalist building includes a public “skyspace” by the acclaimed artist James Turrell, where visitors can experience the ever-changing light of the desert sky. You’ll also find great exhibitions, educational programs with docent-led tours and an audio guide for cell phones. For information, call 480.874.4666 or visit

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