At this particular moment, Bob Lockhart is the most-celebrated artist in town. His retrospective, “The Untold Tale of Bob Lockhart,” is so large and detailed that it’s three separate exhibitions: “Bobzilla! The Legacy of Bob Lockhart” (through Dec. 13 at Bellarmine University’s McGrath Gallery), “The Sardonic Eye: Bob Lockhart in Context” (through Dec. 21 at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts) and “All of Lockhart” (through Dec. 31 at PUBLIC Gallery). After five decades of art, it’s only fitting that Lockhart be the inaugural artist interviewed for LEO Weekly’s new website.
LEO: I don’t know anyone who has had three exhibitions at the same time. How did your retrospective expand to three galleries?
Bob Lockhart: It came about through a first-time ever coalition of the Louisville Visual Art Association and Bellarmine’s art department and the Cressman Center entering into an agreement to hold my retrospective together. This has never happened in the arts community before.
LEO: Who started the ball rolling?
BL: It came from Shannon Westerman (LVAA executive director). Beverly Glascock (LVAA board member and exhibition committee co-chair) and he took it from there. I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t think it’s ever happened before for folks to form a coalition like this. It didn’t happen for Barney (Bright) or Paul Fields, two great talents. And this is my first catalog ever. Things fall together the way they fall together; I’ve been very, very fortunate.
LEO: The retrospective covers both your personal art and your teaching. You’ve been prolific in both. When did you start teaching? (“Bobzilla! The Legacy of Bob Lockhart” at Bellarmine University features art by Bob’s former students).
BL: I’m not good with years but I started teaching at Bellarmine in my twenties; I’m 73 now. Started in ’67 at U of L, the Louisville School of Art and Ursuline College. That was a college for women and Bellarmine was for men. When Bellarmine merged with Ursuline, I proposed the art program to the new president.
LEO: You’ve had over 100 solo exhibitions, which rounds out to about two a year. Plus almost as many group shows. How did you find the time?
BL: My agreement from the start was to teach two days a week and I did that my entire time there (Lockhart retired from Bellarmine in 2010). That was important because as an artist I couldn’t do without the studio. I set about to become a great artist; I realized I was a decent teacher.
LEO: What’s next for you?
BL: I’ve got a drawing show at Revelry (Boutique Gallery) in June and July of next year, then 120 works at the Texas Art Center in Rockport, Texas. I’ve also got another one coming up at Arrowmont (School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee).
LEO: You’re still a member of PYRO (a local artist-run gallery), aren’t you?
BL: Yes. I love being with artists my age and new artists. I’ve had a wonderful charmed life.
5 Art Exhibitions and Events That You Shouldn’t Miss
“The Untold Tale of Bob Lockhart: A Retrospective” at Bellarmine University’s McGrath Gallery through Dec. 13, at the Cressman Center through Dec. 21 and at PUBLIC through Dec. 31
“Esthesia” at PYRO Gallery through Dec. 27
“A Pause in the Pasture” at the Gallery at the Brown, Dec. 13-Feb. 28. The opening reception is Dec. 13 from 6-8 p.m.
Umpteenth Annual “$20 Art Show” at Copper & Kings Distillery on Dec. 13 at 6-9 p.m.
“A Cold 40” art sale at Seidenfaden’s on Dec. 14 from 4-10 p.m.