T-Rex tiny gallery, a new addition to the burgeoning Crestwood arts scene located at 4911 5th Ave. S., will have its grand opening on the evening of Friday, May 30. As the final installment of Burgin Mathews’ ongoing Sun Ra series noted earlier in this week’s issue, the gallery’s first show will be a series of works inspired by Birmingham’s most magical citizen.
Born Herman “Sonny” Blount in May of 1914, the cosmic jazz musician Sun Ra claimed to hail from Saturn, and his relationship with hometown of Birmingham was complicated at best, as Mathews’ magisterial series has so deftly illustrated. While in the middle of intensifying his new persona, the “alien” Sun Ra left Birmingham – a very real reminder of humanity and its frailties – in 1946.
Sun Ra returned to the Magic City after his induction to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, and he played a show with his Arkestra at the Nick in August of that year. It was the far-out bandleader’s first show in Birmingham in three decades.
Local artist and autodidact Craig Legg was at that show, and he’s based a series of 20 works – painting, collage and assemblage – on the photographs he took there. Sun Ra is considered by most to be a trailblazer in the afro-futurist movement, making the sci-fi-infused grooves of acts like Parliament-Funkadelic possible. Legg seems to be deeply influenced by that forward-looking strand of Sun Ra’s career, since his paintings are simultaneously primitivist and iconic, representing the immediacy of the show and the outsized personalities on display.
In addition to Legg’s show, the grand opening of T-Rex is a community-oriented event, with attendees encouraged to walk around the 4900 block and learn about the other new businesses and studios in the area. Ferocious Dogs, the vegetarian-friendly hot dog truck, will be on hand to provide food.
T-Rex tiny gallery will have its grand opening at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30. Craig Legg’s show will run through August 15. For more information, call (561) 758-2562.