Friday, May 01, 2009

Quay Brothers in Boston

I recently phoned the Quay Brothers in London on account that they will be visit ing Brookline's Coolidge Corner Theatre next week to screen and discuss excerpts of their films, and to receive the 2009 Coolidge Award. There's also a month-long exhibit of their animation sets. They told me:
"Having grown up in America, we would not have gone the route of Disney and the cartoon as comedy and entertainment. We [instead] felt [animation] had its roots in fairy tales, blood, Brothers Grimm on a more savage level, psychosis, sexuality. That became territory we felt puppets had not quite charted. And that's something we wanted to do. You know, in a quiet way."
Read a bit more here.

The Quay Brothers visit Boston's Coolidge Corner Theatre on May 6 and 7, 2009. "Dormitorium” a companion exhibit of Quay Brothers animation sets is at The Fourth Wall Project, 132 Brookline Ave., Boston, from April 30 to May 21, 2009.

Mad Dash art sale/fund-raiser at Laconia

Curator James Hull’s illustrious “Mad Dash” art sale/fund-raiser returns this Saturday (preview tonight) at Laconia Gallery, 433 Harrison Ave., Boston, offering “150 works of art for $150 each.” Hull explains:
“Please come to the Friday night preview [5:30 to 9 p.m.] first to get a good look at all the amazing artworks available. The Saturday event is a race for art, and artwork(s) can be purchased by being the first one to grab the tag beside the work of art that you choose - if the tag is gone move on to your NEXT choice! (Artwork can be purchased by cash or check only - sorry, no Credit or Debit cards.) Doors open at noon - be there on time for the best selection. Pick up your newly purchased art on Saturday, May 9, 12 to 6 p.m. All artwork is donated to benefit the exhibition program at the Laconia Gallery, a 501(c)3 non-profit exhibition space.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boston Cyberarts Festival

From my review of the 2009 Boston Cyberarts Festival:
The installation "Children of Arcadia" convinced me that the 2009 Boston Cyberarts Festival isn’t going to suck. I’d been worried because I’ve seen lots of local cyberart (or new-media, or tech art, or whatever you want to call it) since the previous Cyberarts Festival, in 2007, and too much of it had been disappointing.

This work by artists exploring new technologies is one of the distinctive sectors of Boston art. It offers frequent exciting flashes of promise, and yet it often feels stuck in beta mode: full of bugs and half-assed ideas and not ready for full implementation. I should say that the stuff I’m most fascinated by — complex new programming and tinkerer/inventor–type works — is by its very nature slow and labor-intensive to produce. But too often new-media artists get so caught up in developing the new media that they don’t get around to developing the art.

Presented by Mark Skwarek, Arthur Peters, and Joseph Hocking at the Cambridge Arts Council (344 Broadway, Cambridge, through May 15), "Children of Arcadia" is an interactive computer simulation that allows you to roam a pastoral landscape of rolling hills dotted by towering trees, boulders, and classical ruins. (Their locations are pegged to the real-life New York Stock Exchange and other Manhattan landmarks.) The weather gets clear or stormy depending on the fluctuations of the stock market plus tallies of Google searches for “America + good” versus “America + evil.” There’s lots of lightning and thunder these days.
Read the rest here.

Boston Cyberarts Festival, numerous locations across Greater Boston, April 24 to May 10, 2009.

What to see at 2009 Cyberarts Fest.

Pictured from top to bottom: Jeffu Warmouth's "JFC" and "Jeffu Burger" installation at the Art Institute of Boston; Ellen Wetmore's installation at AIB, and the delicious menu from "Jeffu Burger."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Douglas Weathersby, Andrew Witkin

And Boston conceptual art

From The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research archives: Our January (see note at bottom) review of “Douglas Weathersby's "The ES Inaugural Retrospective and Storage Loft” (pictured above) at Judi Rotenberg Gallery and Andrew Witkin "Others Among Others" (pictured below) at LaMontagne Gallery:
Over the summer, José Luis Blondet, curator at the Boston Center for the Arts, invited Boston artist Andrew Witkin to do an unspecified project in a hidden corridor at the BCA's Mills Gallery. The hall is a narrow, staff-only space behind one of the gallery walls. Staff used it to store ladders and supplies. The rest of the gallery was booked up, but Blondet thought the odd space might suit Witkin's practice of thoughtfully arranging furniture, rocks, papers, and other stuff.

Witkin enlisted the help of Douglas Weathersby, a local conceptual artist whose business, Environmental Services, doubles as a cleaning and an artmaking service. Weathersby, who won the ICA's Foster Prize for hot local artist in 2003, is best known for "shadow drawings," in which he sweeps dirt in a room into the shape of shadows of furniture placed there.

With input from Witkin and help from BCA interns, Weathersby cleaned out the Mills Gallery corridor, pried off panels that were blocking out windows, and built shelves. He painted the whole space matte white, except for the ceiling, which he painted a glossy white, so that light from the newly revealed windows would bounce off the ceiling and into the gallery over the gallery wall, which doesn't quite reach the ceiling. That light is the only public evidence of the piece, since the room itself is still closed to the public. "It's very subtle," Blondet acknowledges.

Witkin and Weathersby both have solo shows in town this month, so I've been thinking again about this collaboration — closed, cerebral, on the border between art and "This Old House" — and the prominence of conceptual art in Boston.
Read the rest here.

“Douglas Weathersby: The ES Inaugural Retrospective and Storage Loft," Judi Rotenberg Gallery, 130 Newbury St, Boston, Jan. 8 to Feb. 1, 2009.

“Andrew Witkin: Others Among Others," LaMontagne Gallery, 555 East Second St, South Boston, January to February 14, 2009.

[Please forgive our tardiness in posting this review. It is The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research's goal to write about exhibits while they're on view. But The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research has been going through some transitions since January, including relocating our world headquarters. We hope this will improve our ability to serve you, Dear Reader. But in the interim, we have fallen behind in some of our posting. We aim to rectify this a bit by posting occasional archived pieces like this one over the coming weeks.]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MFA art 2009 – part 1

We’re always curious about the new crop of MFA students that graduates from local schools each spring. So we’ve begun putting together a sampler of art by this year’s MFA candidates. Pictured from top to bottom:
• Holly Veselka, “Silver, White, Ghost Owl,” oil on canvas, 48 x 56 inches, on view at Boston University’s 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, April 17 to May 3, 2009.
• Ronald Nadarski Jr., “Yellow Pages #04,” 2009, oil on paper, on view at Boston University’s 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, April 17 to May 3, 2009.
• Hugh Millard, “COMM AVE 9/2,” 2008, oil on canvas, 110"x81", on view at Boston University’s 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, April 17 to May 3, 2009.
• Nina Stolz Bellucci, “Uplifted,” 2009, acrylic and cardboard on wall, 98 x 195 in., on view at 808 Gallery at Boston University, 808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, April 17 to May 3, 2009.
• Elizabeth Amento, “Make your next one a good load,” 2008, gouache on paper, 11"x14", The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/ Tufts University, on view at Tufts University Art Gallery at Aidekman Arts Center, Medford, May 7 to 24, 2009.
If you’re getting an MFA this spring and would like to have your work featured on The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, e-mail us one (just one) jpg (800 pixels wide, 72 dpi) with your name, title of work, media, what school you attend, and when and where it might be on view. If you include a link to your website (if you’ve got one), we may be able to include that too. But note that we may not be able to feature everyone.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gardner Museum lays off 12

Boston's Isabella Steward Gardner Museum announced Friday that it was laying off 12 people as part of cost-cutting measures it said it had to take in response to the global financial crisis. Director Anne Hawley said in a prepared statement:
"The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is not immune to the profound effects of the worldwide financial crisis. From July 2008 to February 2009, the museum endowment declined approximately 29% and while we have continued to raise significant funds from our generous donors, income from the endowment accounts for 40% of our operating revenue.

In response to this challenge, and to manage prudently during this difficult period, the museum has reduced its operating budget for FY09 by 7% and we further reduced our FY10 operating budget by an additional 11% to $10.4 million.

To accomplish these changes, the museum has undertaken a strategic review of all operating expenses with reductions made across the board including printing, mailing, staff travel, and other general expenses. In addition, we have implemented a hiring freeze, cut all senior staff salaries by 5%, and frozen the salaries of all other employees at current levels. Unfortunately these cutbacks alone were insufficient to close the entire gap. Ultimately we made the wrenching decision to reduce the museum’s staff of 140 employees by 12 positions (9%). Four areas of the museum have been affected: administration, development, conservation, and curatorial.

As a result of these unfortunate but necessary measures, the current economic conditions will not change the visitor experience. There will be no changes to admission prices, hours of operation, or major programming."

"Origami Stimulus Package" photos

Here are photos from the Institute for Infinitely Small Things' T"Origami Stimulus Package" party at Brandeis yesterday. (Images courtesy of The Institute.)

Joe Johnson

From my review of Joe Johnson at Gallery Kayafas in Boston:
Joe Johnson's large color photos of nocturnal Boston were a sensation when he graduated from MassArt in 2004. They might have been a bit too reminiscent of Edward Hopper, but then, that was part of their appeal — that fix of the lonely noir city at night.

He left Boston to teach at the University of Missouri. Now, Gallery Kayafas is exhibiting his recent large color photos of Midwest mega-churches. One photo shows endless rows of gray stadium seating. Another depicts what looks like a TV anchorman's desk (surrounded by glowing TV screens) plopped down in the middle of a Roman villa. Still other shots show an artificial Eden behind too-white columns, a plaster jail liberally doused with fake blood, a neon outline of a dove in front of balcony seats, the pattern of a vast carpet. There's a chintzy, synthetic, mall style to the churches that seems quintessentially early-21st-century American.
Read the rest here.

Joe Johnson “Mega Churches,” Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Ave., April 2 to May 12, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Joe Johnson, "Stage Set, Munster, IN," 2008; "Stage for Children's Ministry, Loveland, CO," 2007; "Seating, Temperance, MI," 2006; "Plasma Pulpit 2, Munster, IN," 2008; "Neon Dove, Monroe, OH," 2007; "Lobby, Fort Wayne, IN," 2007; and "Amp Cover, Farmington Heights, Wilson, NC," 2006.