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Artys 2011: Readers' Choice



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Learning to loveDANCEmore
Ashley Anderson set out to get people thinking about dance through a different lens by staging an ongoing series of events and dialogues created by as many different voices within the local dance community as she could feasibly pull together. One result of such a focused effort is a publication that has already created quite a buzz in the movement world. The first issue focused on the vast and involved history of dance in Utah, while the second used the idea of manifestos to challenge the very fabric of how dance happens—in turn questioning “the way our relationship with dance and its documentation can, and should, evolve.”

I Don’t Want to Kill You
by Dan Wells
The idea of a sociopath as a protagonist may be familiar from the TV series Dexter, but Dan Wells’ mesmerizing trilogy about teenager John Wayne Cleaver took the notion in a wickedly satisfying direction. In the series’ climactic installment, John realizes that calling a demon on the phone and challenging it to a throw-down can have … consequences. Wells continues to craft John into a terrifically complex character, all while building to a resolution that’s not just viscerally effective, but surprisingly emotional. Can a potential killer come to understand the power of love? Maybe, maybe not—but Wells’ readers sure did.


Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War 1857-1858
by David L. Bigler & Will Bagley
The last thing most readers want in a nonfiction work is something that evokes the days of high school history class. Thankfully, Utah historians David L. Bigler and Will Bagley have mined juicy historical nuggets and written engaging prose. Bigler and Bagley have cited long-suppressed sources to portray the Mormon Rebellion, which involved headbutting between Latter-day Saints and the U.S. government over polygamy and other issues. A key point in Utah’s path to statehood, the rebellion—which resulted in the death of some 120 men, women and children—was also one of the most pivotal, misunderstood events in 19th-century Western frontier history.

by Jacqueline Osherow
The King’s English manager Anne Holman most likely voices the opinion of this category’s voters when she says, “When [Jacqueline Osherow] comes out with a new book of poetry, we celebrate. When she reads, we’re transported.” The reader is transported to heavy thoughts about the aftermath of the Holocaust, or what it means to be a modern-day Jew. It’s been five years since Osherow, a distinguished professor of English at the University of Utah, released her last collection, and every word was worth the wait.

Visual Arts

Claire Taylor:
Feather of the Dog, Hair of the Owl (Art Access)
Rather than illustrating some fictive or fanciful story, the works in this exhibit detailed Taylor’s encounters with the animal world, one not so far removed from our own. The intimations she received from creatures of fur and fowl spoke to her, and she in turn communicated them to the viewer in a manner that was engaging and captivating, unfolding a narrative that was powerful beyond words. 230 S. 500 West No. 125, Salt Lake City, 801-328-0703,


Trevor Southey:
Reconciliation (UMFA)
Reconciliation was a career retrospective of Trevor Southey, one of the most brilliant Utah painters, a native of South Africa who, in his life’s sojourns, converted to the LDS Church, founded a local art movement and later realized his homosexuality and was excommunicated from the church. The comprehensive collection drew together all these elements of Southey’s life, showed how they shaped him into the artist and thinker he has become—how he’s lived his life as a search for spiritual beauty, and in different ways, found it in all those experiences. 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-581-7332,

Cat Palmer: The Age of Aesthetics
(The Hive Gallery)
Cat Palmer’s exhibition examined our culture’s obsession with beauty—the kind that’s fascinated with what’s merely skin deep and aligns with other assumptions about femininity. Palmer asked a group of women to be photographed with shaved heads, a courageous act that went beyond the exhibit into their daily lives. Palmer captured the spirit of her subjects with exuberance and a joy for living that let their true beauty shine. Trolley Square, 602 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City,

Sarah de Azevedo, Oni

Sarah de Azevedo worked her way up from shop receptionist before finally tapping the ink. She’s since established a reputation as one of the best tattoo artists in the field. Whether it’s an arrangement of flowers, a naughty pinup nurse or even the LDS Temple, the work de Azevedo has produced over the years for Oni Tattoo Gallery has been nothing shy of masterful, making her one of the most sought-out artists in Utah. 325 E. 900 South, 801-355-1885,


Robert Fontenot:
The Place This Is (Salt Lake Art Center)
The State of Utah rendered in bread dough? This wasn’t just old chestnuts like Temple Square or pushcarts, but the likes of the mythical creature The Bear Lake Monster. That’s the kind of perspective Los Angeles-based sculptor Robert Fontenot brought to the project, as well as depictions of iconic cultural features in needlepoint and watercolor. Sometimes you need someone from elsewhere to show you how wonderful your own home is, and Fontenot somehow captured the essence of this quirky, eccentric place. 20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4201,

Christine Fedor, Punkenstein Jewelry

There’s a unique mix of the antique and the vital in Fedor’s creations: vintage watches, keys and other jewelry components accented by the addition of insects, birds and other critters. Scavenging her raw materials from thrift stores and estate sales, she crafts elegantly funky, steam-punky (hence the name) pieces of soldered gold and brass that look like they wouldn’t be out of place hanging around the neck of a character in an Edward Gorey illustration.



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