I took in several art shows that I recommend, for various reasons, this past weekend.
At designsmithgallery (1342 Main St., Over-the-Rhine), a selection of gorgeous vintage platinum and oil-pigment prints from Doris Ulmann, the early-20th-century photographer who moved from more formal and traditionalist pictorialism toward a newer documentary style, are on display. These once belonged to the Folk singer and Folk-song collector John Jacob Niles, a friend of hers, and are from his estate. The show will be up through Nov. 22 and, while small, is well worth a visit. (www.designsmithgallery.com.)
On Saturday night, I attended the opening of the strange — and, in its way, quite fun — I Will Never Recover From This Macaroon by artist/CityBeat contributor Matt Morris at Semantics Gallery (1107 Harrison Ave., Brighton). The space inside and out is filled with installations and interventions — olfactory as well as visual — that connote the debris of a very conceptual house party where smart people put a lot of thought into how they break and discard things. It's up through Oct. 25 and is well worth a visit. And Morris' tissue drawings are extremely intriguing. At 7 p.m. this Saturday, there will be a reading of experimental texts.
Finally, while some of The Carnegie Galleries' The Bold, The Beautiful and The Bizarre show of work by five artists left me admiring the craftsmanship but not feeling anything about the inspiration, Brenda Tarbell's amazingly beautiful ceramics need to be seen. They seem as shimmeringly alive as underseas crustacians in their organic shapes and textures. It takes considerable willpower to resist handling them; they have the alluring power of a visit to the sea. The exhibition only runs until this Friday, so stop by at 1028 Scott Blvd. in Covington (www.the carnegie.com).