Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination

When: Mondays-Sundays. Continues through May 28 2012

In a December issue of New York Magazine, critic Jerry Saltz argued that the trend toward accessibility in art exhibitions was turning museums into playgrounds. “Too many museums now equate happy crowds with quality and experimentation,” he concludes. The overlap between crowd-pleasing and thought-provoking seems slight, but it’s one of the first things that comes to mind when considering Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination, an exhibit that opens today at The Frist. Dealt the heavy burden of being the primary source for exposing Nashvillians to capital-A Art, the Frist identifies its populist function without turning to what Saltz refers to as “arty junk food.” Where else are you going to see contemporary art celebrities like Cindy Sherman and Kiki Smith alongside buzzed-about Allison Schulnik and Patricia Piccinini alongside local printmaker Mark Hosford? The exhibit of 60 paintings, photographs, sculptures and video works was organized by Frist curator Mark Scala, and, like 2009’s Paint Made Flesh (another exhibit Scala curated), it’s an expansive collection of contemporary works — some accessible, others experimental — tethered to a common, universally experienced idea.

Laura Hutson


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