Art NotesArts & Culture

THE BOX@ATHICA Opens with Nick Madden

BODY AND MIND: The interactive, kinetic sculptures in Atlanta-based artist and educator Nick Madden’s exhibit “I’ll Die High” playfully invite viewers to crank, push and pull the mixed-media pieces to life. The interaction takes a bittersweet, more somber turn, however, when considering Madden’s motivation: His parents are battling cancer and Alzheimer’s, and his artwork is a cathartic expression of his coping process. Creating an analogy between the components of his sculptures and parts of the human body, Madden examines the transition from harmonious operation through slow deterioration to final breakdown. Though heavy at heart, there’s a tenderness and spark of humor in his characters.

It will be interesting to see how “I’ll Die High,” which debuted at Eyedrum in Atlanta this past February, will adapt to the tight dimensions of the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art’s new exhibition space. THE BOX@ATHICA is a small, 130-square-foot. cube that’s partitioned from the rest of the gallery by two mountable 10-by-8-foot walls and a drawable curtain. The space within a space should give the gallery some flexibility with hosting scaled-down shows concurrently with its main programming. 

“I’ll Die High” will open with a reception on Saturday, June 13 from 6–8 p.m. and remain on view through Sunday, June 21. For details on leasing the box for an exhibit of your own, email

ROADSIDE ATTRACTION: While at ATHICA, take another trip through “Detour Thru Your Mind,” the Athens-inspired group exhibition and accompanying publication that combines the visual works of artists with the literary musings of writers. The show offers an interesting insider’s guide to Athens, highlighting what makes our town familiar and distinct all the while.

There are the faces, like photographer Jason Thrasher’s portrait of artist and musician Vernon Thornsberry, who smiles warmly from outside the Jittery Joe’s Roaster. There are the places, like the silhouette of the Chase Street industrial buildings backlit by a setting sun, painted by Jacob Wenzka. There are the legends, like the demise of infamous 1970s whorehouse Effie’s, relayed through Amanda Knisely-Medina’s short story, “Lucy’s Last Day.” And there are the myths, like Lawson Grice’s mystical explanation for the origins of the red tub that stars in DeVore & Johnson’s showroom.

Local artist and educator Hope Hilton will lead a kids’ workshop, “Topophilia + Creative Cartography,” on Sunday, June 14 from 2:30–4:30 p.m. “Detour Thru Your Mind” will close Sunday, June 21.

FRESH FACES: ATHICA’s next full-gallery exhibition, “Emerges VIII,” is part of an annual series dedicated to displaying up-and-coming local artists who are in the budding stage of their careers. Guest-curated by Linnea West, who graduated from UGA with an MA in art history last month, the show will feature the works of Winnie Gier, Cameron Lyden, Jess Machacek, Saegan Moran, Ben Rouse and Michael Ross. “Emerges VIII” will open with a reception on Saturday, July 11 and run through Sunday, Aug. 23. 

ART STILL ROCKS ATHENS: Athens is well-known as a music town, but what’s less understood is what led musicians to congregate here in the first place. The big bang’s short explanation is that a significant pool of artists—many of whom moved into town to attend the Lamar Dodd School of Art—eventually extended their creative endeavors into music. Seeking to preserve and promote the crossroads of art and music during the pivotal years of 1970–85, nonprofit Art Rocks Athens launched last year with an ambitious series of exhibitions spread out across every major art venue in town. 

Kicking off between Aug. 27–30, the upcoming installment will shift away from the launch’s focus on paintings, drawings and graphic arts to a concentration on photography, video and film. 

Organizers are asking community members to dust off any Athens-centric photos and videos for a free event on Thursday, June 11 from 9–11 p.m. at Little Kings Shuffle Club, where a sample of what’s in store for late summer will be shared. Scanners will be on hand for anyone wishing to upload their images to the curatorial database from which exhibition pieces will be drawn. Check for future events and involvement opportunities.

BRAINSTORMING ABREWING: The Athens Area Arts Council has announced a call for local artists, arts organizations and arts-related projects to apply for its $500 quarterly grant. The recipient will be one who meaningfully aligns with the group’s mission of “connecting the arts to the community,” and weighted consideration will be given to projects with a broad demographic range and the capability of augmenting the AAC’s public relations efforts through social media. The quarterly deadlines to apply are Monday, June 22, Tuesday, Sept. 15 and Tuesday, Dec. 15. To apply, visit Questions can be directed to