Friday, May 16, 2008

Brownell, Cozzens, Paschke, Shattuck and Shattuck

From my review of “Construction Details: Stephen Brownell and Jean Cozzens” at AS220’s Project Space and Allison Paschke, Bill Shattuck and Ben Shattuck at 5 Traverse gallery:
In “Construction Details” at AS220’s Project Space (93 Mathewson Street, Providence, through May 25), artists Stephen Brownell and Jean Cozzens meditate on a subject that has haunted Providence over the past decade — the city’s redevelopment. The lost buildings and razed homes helped politicize Providence art (a good thing) because it made politics personal and immediate — something that threatened the artists’ homes.

“Fight against speculative development: neighborhoods belong to the people who live in them,” one of Cozzens’s screenprints shouts. It also features a drawing of a woman walking past a building that seems to be under construction, while she thinks “more housing for rich people.”
Read the rest here.

Related: My review of Jean Cozzens' show at Stairwell Gallery last year.

“Construction Details: Stephen Brownell and Jean Cozzens,” AS220’s Project Space, 93 Mathewson St., Providence, May 4 to 25, 2008.
Allison Paschke, Bill Shattuck and Ben Shattuck, 5 Traverse, 5 Traverse St., Providence, May 9 to June 14, 2008.

Pictured from top to bottom: Jean Cozzens, “Six Patterns for Everyday Spaces #1-Windows,” and Stephen Brownell, “The Steel Yard #7.”

Thursday, May 15, 2008

MPG Contemporary to close

MPG Contemporary at 450 Harrison Ave. will close after its next show.

“My lease was up,” owner Michael Price says, “rents are up, the economy’s not good.”

He opened the gallery on Newbury Street in 1998 and moved to his current location roughly five years ago. A highlight of the gallery’s programming has been its annual “New Art” show, an exhibit of emerging artists from across the country juried by prominent local museum curators (Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Raphaela Platow, Linda Norden, Ted Stebbins, etc.). The gallery’s final show will be a retrospective exhibit from June 6 to July 12 featuring some two dozen artists who have shown at MPG Gallery over the decade it’s been in business.

Asked about his future plans, Price says, “I’m going to take a little time off and look around.”

The 2008 DeCordova Annual Exhibition

From my review of the 2008 DeCordova Annual Exhibition, the last major show at the museum before its new director Dennis Kois arrives in June:
The aim of the DeCordova Museum’s Annual Exhibition is to round up “some of the most interesting and visually eloquent” New England artists. If that’s what the DeCordova’s Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Nick Capasso, Dina Deitsch, and Kate Dempsey have actually found in the 11 individual artists and one collective they’re featuring in the 2008 edition, the result is a depressing report of the mostly bland state of art here.
Read the rest here.

“The 2008 DeCordova Annual Exhibition,” DeCordova Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, May 10 to Aug. 17, 2008.

Pictured from top to bottom: Matt Brackett, “Distant Waves”; Niho Kozuru, “Liquid Sunshine” (detail); Mitchel K. Ahern, “On the Road Scrolls” (detail).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pepper Gallery closing

Pepper Gallery, after operating for 15 years on the fourth floor of 38 Newbury St., will close at the end of this month.

“I’m leaving the space but I’m continuing in some way,” owner Audrey Pepper said today. “I want to leave my options open and be able to meet a lot of interesting people and see where the business is going to go.”

In February, the New England chapter of the International Association of Art Critics awarded the Boston gallery both first and second place in the “best monographic show in a commercial gallery” category.

But Pepper said that her current five-year lease will expire at the end of May and with the economy struggling it seemed time to consider something new. “The business is very different now [than it was 15 years ago]. Foot traffic is down,” she said.

Pepper, who was a private dealer before opening the gallery, declined to discuss what specific options she was considering for the future, but said she plans to continue working in the field, retain clients and maintain access to artists.

“I’m not disappearing,” she said.

My review of Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick show at Pepper Gallery in May 2007, which won one of the AICA awards.

Miller Block moving

Miller Block Gallery, which opened in Boston in 1990, plans to move from 14 Newbury St. to 38 Newbury St. in June.

Ellen Miller said she has signed a five-year lease for the fourth floor space where Pepper Gallery is now, and plans to reopen there July 1 with an exhibition of campaign buttons that she’s asking Boston-area artists to create.

Miller’s longtime business partner Katie Block is expected to adopt a smaller role. Miller Block will retain its current name for roughly six months to a year, Miller said, but may then be renamed Ellen Miller Gallery.

“I’ll run the space. Things will seem fairly similar,” Miller said. “Change is happening. I don’t know that it’s going to be hugely apparent to people.”

Miller said she plans to continuing showing most of the artists Miller Block does now, but also add some artists, including St. Louis’s Andrew Millner and perhaps some local artists whose galleries have closed in the current art scene shuffle. And she said she plans to do more “community-based” shows, like the campaign button exhibit.

Miller said she and Block will continue to sell artwork at art fairs together, and Block will continue working with clients.

“We’ve worked together for 17 years. It’s time for a change,” Miller added. “The change that made the most sense for us as individuals was for me to take the space and run the gallery. We still have an amicable relationship.”

Miller Block originally was located at 207 Newbury St., then 11 Newbury St., until moving to its current location in 1998. The upcoming move was triggered by the gallery’s lease, which is set to expire at the end of June, with a tough art market lurking in the background.

Robert Rauschenberg has died

"Painting relates to both art and life.... (I try to act in that gap between the two.)” – Robert Rauschenberg
Rauschenberg died Monday night at his home in Captiva, Florida, according to news reports. He was 82. The cause was apparently heart failure, after a short illness.

See: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times.

Monday, May 12, 2008

ICA raises $75 million

Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art announced today that it had raised $75 million in its capital campaign.