art beat

Welcome to the machine

&#8220For my current project, I am photographing training facilities, equipment and personnel involved in the massive government and private sector efforts to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks within the nation's borders. First responders and law enforcement officers train in large-scale simulated environments such as ‘Disaster City' in Texas and ‘Terror Town,' an abandoned mining community in New Mexico purchased with funds from the Department of Homeland Security. This work examines issues of fear, safety and liberty in post-9/11 America.”

So writes photographer Paul Shambroom about his &#8220Security” exhibit now on display at the Weinstein Gallery.

&#8220First responders never looked so much like action heroes as in these images by Paul Shambroom,” wrote a reporter from the New York Times. &#8220The images were inspired by the grand portraiture of the 18th and 19th centuries: subjects painted against stylized landscapes, in light at odds with the setting.”

The Village Voice was similarly impressed: &#8220[Shambroom] presents a series of John Singer Sargent-meets-John Ashcroft portraits of Emergency Workers, SWAT teams, bomb squad members, search-and-rescue professionals, and hazardous-material-response teams … They seem to say ‘Welcome to Donald Rumsfeld's war machine.”

Living the ‘Shelf Life'

The new works of Carolyn Swiszcz are on display in &#8220Shelf Life” at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking through Saturday, Oct. 7.

Swiszcz will present a Highpoint members-exclusive artist talk on Thursday, Sept. 28. (Call Highpoint for details and to register.)

Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S., is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from noon-4 p.m. You can get more information by calling 871-1326 or by going to www.highpointprintmaking.org.

Ecstasy

There are no groupies on this tour, but there are stars to stare at in amazement. It's the first-ever tour of best paintings from the oldest public art museum in the country, now at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.

The paintings are from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. (founded in 1842). The traveling exhibit includes Michelangelo Caravaggio's &#8220Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy,” as well as Francois Boucher's &#8220The Egg Seller,” Salvator Rosa's &#8220Lucrezia as Poetry” and Francisco Goya's &#8220Gossiping Women.”

In all, there are 61 paintings by Old World masters in the &#8220A Passion for Paintings” collection on display opening Sunday, Oct. 8. The collection spans the years 1490-1832, encompassing a variety of styles and eras: landscapes, still lifes, portraits, historical and religious paintings from the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Romantic eras.

Eric Zafran, curator of European paintings at the Wadsworth Museum, will give a free opening day lecture on the exhibit at 2 p.m. at the MIA, 2400 3rd Ave. S.

&#8220A Passion for Paintings” is a ticketed special exhibition. Admission is $8. You can purchase tickets by calling 870-3000. You can get more information online at www.artsmia.org.

Film whirled

The savage ballet that is kung fu unfolds in &#8220Heroic Grace: Chinese Martial Art Films,” a series showcasing the work of the Shaw Brothers Studio in Hong Kong. The series is being shown at the Walker Art Center through Oct. 19.

The Shaw Studio influenced everyone from Quentin Tarentino to Ang Lee; their wuxia pian (swordplay movies) of the 1970s and '80s are the focus of the series.

Chu Yuan's &#8220The Magic Blade” will be shown Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Chung Chang-wha's &#8220King Boxer” will be screened on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8.

The Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S., can be reached at 375-7600 or at www.walkerart.org.

Michael Metzger can be reached at mmetzger@mnpubs.com and 436-4369.