Shoppers at Tempe Marketplace stopping for ASU art

Herberger College exhibits student, alum work in donated retail space

ASU alumnus and artist Michael Anderson poses with art from his series “Ornaments” at the Herberger College’s Night Gallery at Tempe Marketplace on Wednesday. (Lindy Mapes/The State Press)
Published On:
Thursday, August 28, 2008
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Restaurants and stores aren’t the only things to visit at Tempe Marketplace; thanks to ASU, you can now view artwork while you shop.

On June 26 the Herberger College of the Arts opened Night Gallery, an exhibition space for Herberger students, faculty and alumni, amidst the retailers of Tempe Marketplace.

The nearly 5,000-square-foot gallery previously sat as an unused commercial space in the shopping center. The Herberger College formed a partnership with Vestar Development Corp., who donated the space.

Though the accommodations for the gallery were donated, the exhibit was created through countless hours of work, said Lynette Andreasen, a second year metals graduate student whose art is on display at the gallery.

“A lot of the grad students got together to build walls, paint and clean up the space,” Andreasen said. “We put a lot of our own sweat into the place, so we take personal pride and ownership in the gallery. It’s a place that we are proud of.”

Michael Thomas, a second-year sculpture graduate student who works at the Night Gallery, said there are already four good galleries on the ASU campus, but logistical issues and a limited viewing pool spurred Herberger administrators to open another site off-campus.

Thomas said the gallery draws between 600 and 800 people on an average night — not bad, he said, considering the gallery is only open from 6 to 9 p.m.

Andreasen said the Night Gallery is great because it is located in a place that can reach a much larger audience than any of the on-campus galleries.

“People who go to the Night Gallery are often people who aren’t seeking out an art gallery,” she said. “They are shoppers, families and people who may not know very much about contemporary art.”

The gallery is broken up into front and back sections, with the front section acting as a solo exhibit to showcase the works of a single artist, Thomas said.

The current solo exhibit is a series of massive metal sculptures created by ASU graduate Michael Anderson entitled “Ornaments.” The name is appropriate; the large steel structures look like something the Iron Giant would use to decorate his Christmas tree.

The back section of the gallery displays work from several different ASU students and faculty members. The artwork currently displayed is a mixture of sculptures, paintings and photographs commenting on topics like marriage, violence against animals and urban development.

A sculpture by Damian Johnson consists of several cacti cut to spell out the words “urban sprawl” amidst construction materials and green neon lighting.

“It’s an amazing assortment,” Thomas said.

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