The Joan De Arc

All the fits that's news to print

Phoenix, Arizona / Friday, December 25, 2020

Founded AD 1968 / $10.00

©  2020 by JPB Publishing Ltd.

Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 66 / Low 46

On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Barbara Bueker Stewart A3 / Nostalgia on the Avenue A4 / Crossword A5




Crusader Foundation snags notable Bueker canvas

(BP) – Mother with Child, one of the major works by iconic 1960s Joan De Arc artist Barbara Bueker, was recently acquired by the Crusader Foundation for an undisclosed sum.
     Painted circa 1967 when Bueker was but a humble art student attending Glendale Community College, Mother with Child presents an enigmatic cubist-style image of a female figure executed in copper and rust tones punctuated by touches of pink and white. The canvas signaled a distinct turning point in Bueker’s work, as the artist moved beyond conventional still life arrangements to a more experimental abstract style. Mother with Child has long been admired as a skillful early example of the artist’s work.
     Originally untitled, the painting received its name from a casual comment by Barbara’s sister-in-law Sandra Swaggerty, who discerned in the image the shape of a child being held in its mother’s arms. Others have speculated that the composition was intended as a self-portrait of the artist. The work is expected to be on display at the Crusader Foundation annex alongside several other Barbara Bueker paintings already residing in the collection.
     After graduating from Glendale Community College and then Arizona State University in the 1970s, Barbara Bueker went on to become an accomplished painter and art teacher in the Phoenix area for many years. She passed away in May after a brief illness at the age of 87.


The Avenue bids Metrocenter a fond adieu

by J. Bueker

       Well they tried to save her, but no one really wanted to go there anymore.
     Metrocenter, the glorious megamall that opened to prodigious fanfare in 1973, just two miles south of Joan De Arc Avenue, finally closed its doors for good earlier this year.
     Who ever dreamed we would be saying goodbye to this thing? Metrocenter was the mall to end all malls, the first two-story mall ever to appear in Arizona, comprising no less than 1.4 million square feet of space. There were five major anchors situated around its expansive periphery: Sears, Rhodes, Diamonds, Goldwater’s and The Broadway. Metro also featured a full-sized Ice Capades Chalet skating rink, multiple movie theatres and restaurants, countless specialty shops, a marvelously eccentric backwater concourse dubbed The Alley, and a sleek drinking establishment called Metro Port Lounge, which overlooked the skating rink and was cleverly designed inside and out to resemble a jet airliner. This place should have lasted forever.
     Metrocenter’s zenith would come in the 1980s, when attendance peaked and the long-standing Phoenix teen tradition of cruising Central relocated to the mall. But then came the years of slow decline: most startlingly, the skating rink and lounge, arguably the two signature features of the mall, were inexplicably closed in a 1986 renovation after only a dozen years of existence. It was pretty much downhill from there.
     The mall’s final coffin nail was assuredly the rise of online shopping, which has significantly depleted the vitality of shopping centers generally. After a developer bought Metrocenter in 2012 and brought in a Walmart store, ambitious mall redevelopment plans were drawn up but never realized because no other investors could be found to finance the enterprise. In the end, Metro declined into a sparsely attended ghost mall whose fate was a foregone conclusion.
     One-time Joan De Arc resident Sue Bueker Nolan was among a handful of current and former Avenue folk who braved the crowds for the June 30 Metrocenter good-bye cruise. “I went to the bank at six o’clock, drove around the parkway, and it took 20 minutes to get out,” she reported. “There was tons of traffic and people beaucoup!”
     An estimated throng of 15,000 nostalgic fans showed up at the mall that night for the sad and fond farewell. One cannot help but wonder whether Metrocenter might have survived if some of those people had simply continued shopping there.


On the INSIDE: Editorials A2 / Barbara Bueker Stewart A3 / Nostalgia on the Avenue A4 / Crossword A5


Moon Phases:       Full: December 29    Last Quarter: January 6   New: January 13   First Quarter: January 20 

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