Plug Projects gets Younger, Front/Space looks to the future, and shows at Haw and Leedy-Voulkos begin to wind down

Third Friday’s main event is in the West Bottoms at Plug Projects (1613 Genessee), which opens two exhibitions from 6 to 9 p.m. December 16.

One of the shows brings to mind that awkward scene in The Graduate when an intoxicated Mr. Robinson comes home and surprises Ben, who has just scrambled downstairs to act nonchalant after Mrs. Robinson has made her sexual availability to him 100 percent clear. Mr. Robinson forces a drink on Ben, who is so full of angst that he has left his own college-graduation party. Answering the older man’s question, Ben says he’s about to be 21. Mr. Robinson says, “That’s a hell of an age to be. Ben — you’ll never be young again.” (The graduate replies: “I know.”)

The artists in You Will Never Be Younger Than You Are Today are generally past their early 20s (all have master’s degrees) but are united here (under a rubric that’s either melancholy or optimistic) because they are “deeply entrenched in contextualizing the space of the narrative and posing questions about societal structures,” according to the gallery’s description. The entrenched are Frank Abruzzese, Jonathan Apgar, Lyndon Barrois Jr., Matt Bollinger, Kathy Liao and Vera Iliatova.

In 2007, Jessica Kincaid won a Charlotte Street Foundation visual-arts award. Today, she works at Johnson County Community College’s language resource center, and as a beadwork instructor at Nicole Emanuel’s InterUrban ArtHouse in Overland Park. Her bead practice stretches back to the 1990s, when she worked on a local production of The Phantom of the Opera, but through much of the 2000s she worked in Kansas public schools as a paraprofessional. In short, she paints with tiny beads, producing both figurative works and abstract creations. Her latest show is based on her public-school experience and is called Teaching and Learning.

In some school systems, a student who is late paying into her school-lunch account ends up being served a grilled cheese sandwich. Kincaid uses this and other school-lunch touchstones (recall that ketchup was considered a vegetable by the Reagan administration) in her art; here, a warm comfort food doubles as a red flag, a sign of negligent parenting or poverty. From the gallery description: “Kincaid’s work functions both as a critique of the system and opens a dialogue about food, educational standards and life in Middle America.”

Thursday, December 15

“State of the Space” address for Front/Space

The Drugstore (3948 Main)

This 7-9 p.m. public session, with Front/Space’s curators, looks back to the gallery’s founding in 2010 — and forward, by asking for input to help answer the question “What is Front/Space?” The gallery is at 217 West 18th Street, but the gathering is in midtown. RSVP to by December 14. Warm drinks provided.

Friday, December 16

Mod Gallery Charlie Brown Christmas Charity Art Event

Mod Gallery (1809 McGee)

A benefit for Harvesters and the Salvation Army, featuring Craig Mildrexler’s black-light paintings, pop-up artists Luis Garcia, Cynthia Hiles, Vaia Soto and Jesus Vasquez, and additional works by more than eight other artists. Also: music and refreshments. The event goes from 5 to 10 p.m. Donations of blankets (think Linus), coats, cleaning products, canned food, toys, winter wear and cash welcome.

Saturday, December 17

Holiday Print & Art Market

Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery (919 West 17th Street) Noon to 6 p.m., with café y pan dulce served.

Through December 30

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore)

Look Again: Marshall Maude’s ceramic sculptures

Hand-Rubbed: Josie Mai’s torn-paper collages

Contingencies: works by Robert Woodworth and Elizabeth Derstine, in the KCAI Undergrads Underground gallery. Open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday–Saturday.

Through December 31

Haw Contemporary (1600 Liberty, West Bottoms)

The Nelson: photographs by Mike Sinclair

Exquisite Solitude: Lisa Grossman’s paintings

Regeneration: Dylan Mortimer, sculptures and installation

Society for Contemporary Photography: Current Works. Open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Friday, noon–5 p.m. Saturday.

Through January 7

La Esquina (1000 West 25th Street)

¿Qué Pasa, USA?, a group exhibition curated by Lynnette Miranda, curator-in-residence. Open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Through January 12

Kiosk Gallery (916 East Fifth Street)

Deviations, photographic works by Gary Pycior. Open noon–6 p.m. Friday, noon–4 p.m. Saturday (closed December 23-31).

Though January 21

Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery (919 West 17th Street)

A California Winter, a group exhibition of works by 11 Latinx/Chicanx and Central Valley artists from California who have made their home in Kansas City after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute. Open noon–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday.

Through January 28

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimor)

Where the Spirit Meets the Bone: a retrospective of Diane Henk’s sculpture, fiber art and drawings, curated by Elizabeth Hirsch. Open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Thursday–Saturday.

Categories: Art