Friday, March 28, 2008

Berwick announces resident artists

Berwick Research Institute has announced that its 2008 “Artists in Research” are Boston conceptual artist Laura Torres, Boston sculptor Jesse Kaminski and Brookline sculptor Nathalie Miebach.

The Roxbury nonprofit says “Artists in Research” is a “residency program that provides emerging artists essential time, space, community, financial assistance, and critical feedback to develop and present their work. The artists have two public events that offer a venue to test their ideas in a dialog with other artists, curators, and the general public. The AIR program is run by two co-curators, Bonnie Bastien and Rosie Branson Gill who devote all their free time for the love of it.”

“Street Level” and Ranjani Shettar at ICA

Plus David Claerbout at MIT

From my review of the exhibits “Street Level” and “Momentum 10: Ranjani Shettar” at the ICA and “David Claerbout” at MIT's List Visual Arts Center:
“People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.” That according to infamous British graffiti artist Banksy — probably our most popular living artist after QVC huckster Thomas Kinkade.

In a world that seems ever more synthetic and controlling, street art poses as a guerrilla force pushing back. Its rascally, outlaw, bad-boy cool feels free, real. Our postmodern (or maybe early post-postmodern) art world suffers from its own artificiality complex. So it mines urban style for authenticity, for energy, for street cred. Which brings us to “Street Level,” the fun, hip new exhibit organized by Duke University’s Nasher Museum and now up at the Institute of Contemporary Art, with work by Mark Bradford, William Cordova, and Robin Rhode.
Read the rest here.

“Street Level: Mark Bradford, William Cordova and Robin Rhode,” and “Momentum 10: Ranjani Shettar,” Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Blvd., Boston, March 19 to July 13, 2008.
“David Claerbout,” MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Cambridge, Feb. 8 to April 6, 2008.

Pictured from top to bottom: William Cordova, “Oradores, Oradores, Oradores (p’a Audrea Jones, Ana Maria Rodriguez y Betsy Tregar),” (2007-08); Robin Rhode, “Untitled Dream Houses; and Ranjani Shettar, “Sun-sneezers blow light bubbles.” 2007-08. Photos of Cordova and Shettar works by John Kennard. And David Claerbout, "The Stack," 2002.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz, a New York photographer who often summers in Provincetown, is presenting photos of divers and blue blue swimming pools in his exhibition “The Elements: Air/Water Part 1” at New York’s Houk Gallery.

When I first saw them (I’ve only seen them in reproduction), they struck me as sweet nothings. But over time they’ve begun to charm me a little bit. Maybe it’s just that seductive ultramarine blue.

“The genesis of ‘The Elements: Air/Water, Part 1’ was sparked in July 2007, when Joel Meyerowitz was directing a video of Olympic divers from an underwater viewing room at a Florida pool,” according to a press release from his Tokyo gallery. “The repetition of dives had one thing in common; with every entry into the pool, an enormous plume of bubbles encased the diver. As each diver swam away, the bubbles coalesced into a cloud that rose to the surface and returned to the atmosphere. This small observation, about one element's transition into another, led him to think about the individual qualities of the four elements and their physical relationships. Meyerowitz responded immediately by beginning a study of the elements and making a commitment to observe what these essential facts of life would look like in video and photographs.”

The photos I’ve seen don’t live up to all this elemental talk. The video clip of somersaulting divers feels derivative of Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 film “Olympia,” Kon Ichikawa’s 1965 “Tokyo Olympiad,” and all the Olympic highlight reels they’ve inspired. With some Bill Viola thrown in. Though that first soaring image of the diver, and the way the somersaulting fellow just seems to hang in the air is, uh, sort of cool.

My review of Meyerotiz’s book “Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive,” featuring photos of the wreckage at and cleanup of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Joel Meyerowitz "The Elements: Air/Water Part 1,” Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Ave., suite 407, Feb. 21 to April 12, 2008.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

“Styrofoam” at RISD

From my review of “Styrofoam” at the RISD Museum:
There is something about foamed polystyrene — better known by its trademark name, Styrofoam — that seems to embody the space-age future. This, and the fact that it’s light, cheap, and easily worked draws some artists to use it. But for many artists, the attraction to Styrofoam is that it is crap — usually nonbiodegradable, difficult to recycle, and ugly.

“It’s not to celebrate this material that I used it,” Richard Tuttle has written. “It is one of the worst materials used by man.”

It’s the crap aspect of the material that rises to the surface of the RISD Museum’s “Styrofoam,” a small, smartly organized show of irritating art. Judith Tannenbaum, the museum’s contemporary art curator, has rounded up a number of artists who use Styrofoam and, in doing so, corrals a trend burbling up in art today that begins with the material and runs toward an idea. But most of the art here is offputting — and purposely so.
Read the rest here.

“Styrofoam,” RISD Museum, 224 Benefit St., Providence, March 14 to July 20, 2008.

Pictured from top to bottom: Heide Fasnacht, “Exploding Airplane,” 2000, and Richard Tuttle, “Lonesome Cowboy Styrofoam #7,” 1988.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Boston gallery shake-up

From my report in this week’s Boston Phoenix:
Three of Boston's most important galleries are about to make major changes, and rumors are rampant that several others may soon move or close —signaling a major upheaval in the city's art scene.

The ALLSTON SKIRT GALLERY at 450 Harrison Avenue in the South End, which just had two of its artists named among the four finalists for the Institute of Contemporary Art's 2008 Foster Prize, will close after its April 4 through May 17 show. "It wasn't financial," says Randi Hopkins (a frequent Phoenix contributor), who owns and operates the gallery with Beth Kantrowitz. "Our lease is up [in November]. It's been nine years working together. Our two visions want to go in different ways."

BERNARD TOALE, whose gallery anchors the front corner of the building at 450 Harrison Avenue and has run a gallery in town since 1992, is hashing out a new lease that would have him divide his space over the summer. Plans are for gallery director, Joseph Carroll, to take over much of the space and open an independent gallery there in September. Carroll's new venue would continue to feature several of Toale's major local artists — including Laura McPhee, Ambreen Butt and Abelardo Morell, who've all shown at the Museum in Fine Arts in recent years. Toale plans to run an art consulting business out of a corner of the space.

HOWARD YEZERSKI, who has run a Boston gallery for nearly 20 years, is working out a lease to move...
Read the rest here.