If you recently heard a giant "whooshing" sound in Charlotte, like an email flying from an iPhone, that was the sound of the avant-garde departing the city.
The fact that Joie Lassiter of the eponymous art gallery, late of Charlotte's South End, has left our city is a crying shame. This talented Englishwoman brought some great shows to the city. She provided Charlotte's art watchers with plenty of stimulation about the contemporary scene. Let's hope her departure doesn't mean Charlotte loses art that challenges perceptions and focuses instead on "blue-chip" art - the kind that people buy as investments.
But we still have our local talent, so let's put on our party faces and strike out for tonight's gallery crawl.
Remember: The scene depends on you. If you don't support the artists, we'll experience more art gallery brain-drain.
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What's on view?
South End is where the energy is at the moment. Opening tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 is "Transfusion: New artists, new work, new exhibit" at Gaines Brown Design, 1520 S. Tryon St., featuring recent work by Charlotte ARTery artists Julie Benda, Janet Lasher, Ashley Lathe, Bev Nagy, Sharon Dowell, Teresa Hollmeyer, Paul Keysar and Jon Tarleton, along with guests Cher Cosper, Allison Luce, Isaac Payne and Terry Shipley. Jon Tarleton will give an artist talk at 7 p.m.
Ciel Gallery & Mosaic Studio, 1519 Camden Road, presents a second reception for "Fire, Water, Earth, Air," a celebration of the Four Elements in mosaic art on view through May 20. Tonight's reception runs from 6 to 9. www.cielcharlotte.com .
Next door, at 1517 Camden Road, the Charlotte Art League is also open tonight. www.charlotteartleague.org
At Studio 21 Gallery, 118 E. Kingston Ave., visit the opening reception for Miriam Durkin's exhibit, "Fresh," and meet the artist. Exhibit continues through May 27. www.studio21gallery.com.
Experience the new concept of "pop-up" art at Pantone 278, temporarily housed at Charlotte NC Tours, 128 E. Park Ave. next to Lark and Key Gallery. Pop-up art shows - more common in places like Houston, London and New York - allow artists to bring life to spaces usually not designated for art, showcasing the artists' work without the restrictions of a routine gallery space. This show features Ashley Lathe. 704-724-0440; gallerypantone 278 .blogspot .com .
Uptown, enjoy music by the Ziad Jazz Quartet 6-8 tonight in the lobby at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St. These first-Friday concerts are free with museum admission. $8. Cash bar. Call 704-353-9200 to order.