There's an unintentional theme of the peculiar in the Arts to present this week. A play of an unexpected parent-teacher conference for a child who has died is fraught with tension and opens up to the larger conversation around bullying and culpability. An artist's work on view at the ICA gives visitors the immersive experience of burial and his dead mother's favorite perfume. A coatroom in the MFA becomes an alcove for curious collections and the Seattle Symphony leaves many puzzled after a pop song performance.

Gidion's Knot Presented by Bridge Rep, it plays through June 22nd at the Calderwood Pavilion.

An unannounced parent/teacher conference unfolds over the course of a single act, raising questions about everything from the proliferation of school bullying to the nature of creative expression. The drama is fraught suspense as a mother named Corryn Fell and her son’s 5th grade school teacher, Heather Clark, as they examine responsibility. So much food for thought here, and the play is a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Producing Artistic Director Olivia D’Ambrosio discussed what it is about the play that resonates with her. She said, "What it really invites, in my opinion, is a discussion of what it is these days to leave your kid off at school…How do those intersect? How do parents and teachers need to work together?”

Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take On view at the ICA through September 1st.

Spokane, Washington native Jim Hodges typically begins his work with humble, even overlooked materials—silk scarves and flowers, mirrors, light bulbs, glass, clothing, metal chains, decals, and sheet music—that he transforms through simple gestures or actions such as drawing, sewing, folding or unfolding, transferring, cutting, assembling, and unraveling. These acts of poetic reconsideration elevate his pieces to other levels of interpretation and meaning. The exhibit at the ICA is a fun, frothy and also searing summer show. Hodges came of age as an artist in New York City in the late 1980s and 90s, an intense period in American society marked by censorship, political conservatism, and the height of the AIDS crisis. Many of his early works, including A Diary of Flowers (1994), comprised of doodled coffeehouse napkins pinned to the wall, have been discussed and interpreted through the lens of loss and memorial that marked this moment.

Kunstkammer Gallery Now open at the MFA.

Conceived as a microcosm of the world, a Kunstkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” was intended to impress guests with the owner’s command of art and nature—and collecting prowess. Typically containing a combination of man-made and natural wonders, these princely troves featured exquisitely crafted objects made of exotic and precious materials. You'll become enchanted with the display of coconut shell, ostrich egg, coral, mother of pearl, rock crystal, a collection of amber on view for the first time since the 1930s, ivory and nautilus shell, as well as paintings on copper and alabaster, and interesting clocks. Let your curiosity guide you through the details in this coatroom-sized display.

Finally, one of the latest efforts to attract younger audiences comes from the Seattle Symphony, called Sonic Evolution. This new composition you'll see in the video below made headlines this week as a true oddity. The symphony plays a reworked pop standard by Sir-Mix-A-Lot that includes the rapper singing, along with sun glasses-clad cello players and a stage filled with audience members who get to boogie down. Does it work? Send me your thoughts on this kind of stunt on my Facebook page. 

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Although Open Studio: is taking a break, be sure to catch past episodes online!