Route 66 remains a touchstone in pop culture because it simultaneously represents freedom and nostalgia, and because in this post-post modern era, we recognize that both of those sensations were based more on a myth of America than on any truth. So why not let a fiction experience the myth? Jeffrey Sass has long photographed and painted scenes of Americana with a blocky, 1950s-style toy robot inserted in the shot as the ultimate tourist. For Past/Passed: New Work by Robot, Sass and fellow artist Keith A. Buchholz sent the robot back down the Mother Road to experience the jejune pleasures of the American road trip. The robot's travelogue is told through paintings, collage, sculpture and book arts, refracting through its plastic photoreceptors the artificiality of the journey through the fictional past. More info on this event and more after the jump.
Past/Passed: New Work by Robot: New work by Jeffrey Sass and Keith A. Buchholz illustrating the journey of a toy robot down Route 66. Opening reception at 7 p.m. Friday, August 5. Aug. 5-27, free. Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th St., St. Louis, 314-771-8230, www.madart.com.
Black + White: Group show features work by Lore Bert, Peter Charlap, Katy Stone and others, all working in black and white. Opening "summer sangria" reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 5. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 11, free. Atrium Gallery, 4728 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, 314-367-1076, www.atriumgallery.net.
Black & White Photography: Group show of traditional and experimental photography. Opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 5. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 16, free. Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main Ctr, St. Charles, 636-255-0270, www.foundryartcentre.org.
Critical Mass Creative Stimulus 2011: New work by Emily Hemeyer, Sarah Paulsen, Alex Petrowsky and Lyndsey Scott, who each won a Critical Mass Award to further their art in 2010. Opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 5. Aug. 5-Sept. 4, free. Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314-863-5811, www.art-stl.com.
DaVinci Machines Exhibition: More than 60 hand-crafted inventions built by Florentine artists from Leonardo DaVinci's designs. Through Oct. 31, free, www.davinciexhibitstl.com. Bank of America Building, 800 Market Street, St. Louis.
New Paintings by Robert Treece & Myles Keough: Opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 5. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 3, free. The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson Ave., St. Louis, 314-932-5665, www.thevinogallery.com.