The Islands’ art scene is hotter than ever this summer. Be sure to check out these five exhibits for a little cultural enlightenment.
1. The Rat & the Octopus: AGGROculture Collective
Hawaii-based AGGROculture Collective artists Sally Lundburg, Keith Tallett, Scott Yoell and Margo Ray explore a well-known Polynesian myth in their exhibit, The Rat & the Octopus. The story describes an octopus who was tricked into helping a rat stranded at sea and is subsequently lured to his death by the anger he still feels towards the rat. On display at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery now through Aug. 4, the collective project uses drawing, photography and multimedia video installation to extrapolate on themes of good and evil; the entrapment of anger and resentment; and the hero’s downfall. Free, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm, One Cameron Way, Kahului, Maui, 242.2787
2. James Rosenquist’s House of Fire: A Masterwork of American Pop Art
In an effort to fill gaps in the museum’s Pop Art collections, Honolulu Museum of Art’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Jay Jensen, and Curator of European and American Art, Theresa Papanikolas, bought James Rosenquist’s incendiary House of Fire. Rosenquist’s lithography/collage masterpiece, made with Tyler Graphics, transforms everyday objects. Groceries, a bucket and tubes of lipstick all reflect the sinister allure of advertising in a graphic and bold tableau. See House of Fire, along with prints from the permanent collection by Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. $10, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4:30pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm, 900 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, 532.8700
3. Hawai‘i: Change & Continuity
This exhibit at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum explores how art defines our changing society and environment. The show is part of the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ 50th anniversary celebration and features selected artworks from the SFCA’s Art in Public Places Collection. See 130 artworks from a broad range of Hawaiian artists, exploring the overlapping influences of nature’s bounty and man’s impact on the environment. Free, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, 250 S. Hotel St., Ewa Gallery, Honolulu
4. Plastic Fantastic?
The contents are on the lid with this exhibit at Spalding House. This multiartist display considers the pros and cons, uses and detriments of the polymer product. Works from Takashi Murakam and Charles and Ray Eames from the museum’s collection, as well as collages by L.A.-based artists Dianna Cohen will be on display through Oct. 2. Sculptures from Aurora Robson and Maika’i Tubbs, textile work from German artist Swaantje Güntzel and photography from Chris Jordan also reflect on plastic and its effect on our society. Stick around for the interactive space where you can make your own plastic-inspired art with debris collected from local O‘ahu beaches. $10, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday noon-4pm, 2411 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu, 526.1322
5. Harry Tsuchidana: A Retrospective Exhibition
The first full retrospective of the work of legendary Japanese-American artist Harry Tsuchidana comes to the Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center. Works present include a large abstract painting that was submitted to the John Hay Whitney Fellowship competition in 1959; and never-before-seen early printmaking and drawings of different mediums from the ‘50s and ‘60s. See both old and new triumphs of color from the artist, running through Oct. 28. Free, Monday-Friday 8am-4pm, 999 Bishop St., Honolulu, 532.8701