Fine Art

Blackbird Studios’ final show honors Wes Anderson

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Gina Quaranto is standing in The Royal Tenenbaums’ pink living room, its shelves lined with Wes Anderson-esque curios. “These are the things that look like they’d be in that Brooklyn brownstone,” she says, pointing to board games, trophies, a tennis racket, antlers, an Indian chief figurine and bird-shaped bookends. On a desk are texts the prolific fictional brood has penned: Family of Geniuses, Three Plays, Dudley’s World. And on the walls are works by more than 30 artists, some of whom have

never shown publicly, a trademark of Quaranto’s Blackbird Studios, which will close permanently in January.

A Life Artistic: A Tribute to Wes Anderson at Blackbird Studios

Quaranto says she has wanted to pay tribute to the filmmaker for years, and decided to make it the final show at her 6-year-old Commerce Street gallery. “I’m such a fan,” she says of Anderson. “He’s such a brilliant artist and inspiration.”

A Life Artistic: A Tribute to Wes Anderson is organized loosely by movie, with rooms decorated to recall sets from specific films. Visitors start in the eclectic home of the Tenenbaums and move into an underwater lair from The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (complete with oceanic reference books and taxidermied sea birds), then into The Grand Budapest Hotel (with Mendl’s sweets) and summer-camp scenes from Moonrise Kingdom. Homages to Fantastic Mr. Fox, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore are sprinkled throughout, and paper versions of Chas Tenenbaum’s Dalmatian mice, created by Quaranto, peek from unexpected corners. (She considered real mice, but opted for goldfish in the Zissou room on opening night.)

For the show, Nancy Brown created an elaborate Mr. Fox sculpture, Ashley Popplewell drew trio of mixed-media works and Das Frank painted of Richie Tenenbaum shaving. A pencil drawing of Bill Murray embodies elements of all his Anderson characters, and Annie Wildbear used the quirky aesthetic to portray an angry candy-stand owner from her youth.

Quaranto will host a Bye Bye Blackbird party January 15 before closing its doors. “It will be bittersweet, but I truly hope to see all the faces that were such a huge part of this place along its journey,” she says.

A Life Artistic: A Tribute to Wes Anderson Through January 15, call for hours. 1551 S. Commerce Street A, 702-782-0319.

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