Calling All Bill Murray Fans: A Pop-Up Art Show Dedicated to the Actor is Coming to Newport's Artifact Gallery

The man, the myth, the legend

click to enlarge Calling All Bill Murray Fans: A Pop-Up Art Show Dedicated to the Actor is Coming to Newport's Artifact Gallery
Courtesy of Pop-Up Gallery

Actor Bill Murray — a man enshrouded in his own mythos — will soon have a pop-up art show dedicated to his likeness in Cincinnati. 

Dubbed An Ode to Bill Murray, Newport's Artifact Gallery will play host to a free one-night-only art show featuring works entirely inspired The Murricane. (I, too, find this nickname horrendous — Dan Aykroyd, why did you speak this into existence?) Unfolding Feb. 8, the show will be made up of work from 12 local artists, including Sara Cole, Matt Meyung, Brian Beck, Christopher Green, David Estep, Jim Conroy, Kristian Geer, Linnoir Rich, Ryan Hill, Sarah Lalley, Shannon Powell and Tara Heilman. 

The same group — Pop-Up Gallery — has been behind several other shows in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, including a weekend exhibit last summer at Over-the-Rhine's Brick storefront. (They returned to Brick last November to host another.) 

When asked why they chose Murray as their upcoming event's sole subject, Cole told me via email that it's simply because "everyone loves" the guy. 

"I loved it when his son, Luke Murray, worked with Xavier basketball and (Bill) would show up to cheer on the team," Cole says. "Luke has since moved on to be an assistant coach at (the University of Louisville). I do have some somewhat unrealistic hopes that Bill might show up to our event. The Virginia Cavaliers are playing the Louisville Cardinals at (University of Louisville) at 4 p.m. the same day as our event. Maybe we can convince him to wander up to Newport from Louisville."

Unrealistic? Maybe. But he did recently drop by Rupp Arena when the University of Kentucky's basketball team faced off against the Cardinals. And he does have a penchant for randomly making appearances in pretty much every type of scenario you can dream up — from weddings to a 94-year-old's b-day party. He's even been a makeshift bartender for the night at multiple events.

Pop-Up Gallery has also partnered with local nonprofit Brighton Center — which works to create opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency by way of various services and programs — to take donations for clean, packaged socks. 

"Any aspect of this show — the art, the entertainment, food, drinks, local music — it's all an effort made by our artists," Cole said. "We don't rely on sponsors to pay for everything. I felt like we really should use these efforts to give back to someone else. No one should go without warm, dry socks, but too often I feel like this may be forgotten when donating."

Costumes are encouraged and there will even be a contest to decide whose is best. Which version of Murray is Cole going as? She won't say, as it's a surprise, but she does note that other involved artists have theirs ready to wear as well.

"I can't wait to see all the Bill Murrays in one space," she said. "The more elaborate the costume the better, but even a minimal effort will make us smile. Maybe if there is enough of us dressed up, the real Bill Murray (will show up)." 

Each of us can only dream to become one slice of the living myth that is Bill fucking Murray. 

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