Local artists challenged to reinterpret the ‘Frankenstein’ creation story for modern times

Scottsdale Public Art presents a juried exhibition inspired by the bicentennial anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s waking dream that formed the iconic gothic novel “Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus.”

When Ms. Shelley was challenged to come up with a horror story while vacationing in Switzerland in 1816, she had a frightening dream about a scientist who created life. This vision eventually became the groundbreaking novel “Frankenstein.” However, the novel was more than simple horror story.

CRISPER (DNA Sequencing Acronym) by Lee Davis. Acrylic on panel, 24 x 24 inches. (photo by Scottsdale Arts)

“Frankenstein” continues to engage people across multiple generations by capturing the joy and terror of creation, and serving as a reflection of the human condition, according to a press release.

Scottsdale Public Art Exhibitions Curator Wendy Raisanen and guest curator and artist Frank Gonzales challenged local artists to consider both the “Frankenstein” origin story and narrative to create artwork for this exhibit, and respond to this question: What is the “Frankenstein” story of our time?

Each artist has responded in a different way resulting a variety of 2-D and 3-D artworks. Twenty artists of different disciplines from across Arizona were selected: Yuko Yabuki, Dain Gore, Lee Davis, Constance McBride, Joe Willie Smith, Ashley Macias, Yai Vila, Turner Davis, David Dauncey, Tom Deadstuff, Luster Kaboom (Dave Quan), Matt Dickson, Joshua Rhodes, Preston Graves, Molten Brothers (Mike Goodwin and Ken Richardson), Katherine Leigh Simpson, Josh Brizuela, Becky Frehse and Jane Kelsey-Mapel.

In celebration of both the bicentennial anniversary of the “Frankenstein” novel and this exhibit, Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Public Library have scheduled a series of free events and workshops at the Gallery @ The Library, Scottsdale Civic Center, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.:

6-8 p.m. Sept. 21 – Opening Reception

Join Scottsdale Public Art and the Frankenstein in the 21st Century: The Waking Dream, 200 Years Later exhibit artists for a free opening reception celebration. Complimentary snacks and refreshments will be provided.

10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 14 – Frankenstein Film Marathon

Scottsdale Public Library will host an afternoon showing of early Frankenstein films:

  • 10:30 a.m. – Frankenstein, 1931
  • 12:30 p.m. – The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
  • 2:30 p.m. – The Ghost of Frankenstein, 1942

6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 24 – Anthropologist Sharonah Fredrick: Frankenstein–The Centuries and the Alchemy, Before the Legend Lecture

Sharonah Fredrick discusses the legends of a mysterious 16the century alchemist in Western Europe and the 17th century Czech and Judeo-Spanish golem, and their possible influence on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein.

4-6 p.m. Nov. 9 – Collage Workshop with Cut + Paste PHX

A Frankenstein-themed collage workshop with Cut + Paste PHX: a local collage group that aims to promote community through creative, tactile experiences for people of all ages and skill levels.

4-6 p.m. Dec. 14 – Make-and-Take Exquisite Corpse Puppets Workshop

Local artist and puppeteer Dain Q. Gore shows guests on how to create a mix-and-match puppet based on the concept of the Surrealist parlor game, “Exquisite Corpse.”

For more information about “Frankenstein in the 21st Century: The Waking Dream, 200 Years Later” at the Gallery @ The Library, Scottsdale Civic Center, the opening reception and details for the free events and workshops, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org.

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