Friday, August 07, 2009

“And the fair Moon rejoices” at BCA

From my review of “And the fair Moon rejoices” at the Boston Center for the Arts Mills Gallery:
Nature is mysterious and mystical in "And the fair Moon rejoices," as foreign as the wilds of New England probably seemed to its first English settlers. And maybe there are witches about.

This lyrical show was organized by Emily Isenberg, formerly director of LaMontagne Gallery, and Randi Hopkins, who co-ran Allston Skirt Gallery and wrote for the Phoenix before becoming a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The title comes courtesy of William Blake, the result of the curators' thinking that these six artists are "contemporary visionaries" in Blake's wake.

In New Yorker Justine Kurland's staged photos, folks frolic nude outdoors, as if in some flower-child community-theater follies. Hunters shows three naked ladies with flower-garland crowns walking in tall grass like muses or fates or witches. The mythological symbolism and playacting may be New Age cheese, but the odd doings intrigue.

Arlington artist Tory Fair's Walking is a rough-cast-rubber sculpture of an upside-down woman (cast from the artist's own body) with a chandelier-like structure of flowers sprouting from her torso to hold her off the floor. The effect is reminiscent of Kiki Smith — a beautiful, magical transformation, with a creepy aftertaste. The sculpture's glossy yellow surface is like a slimy cocoon; the flowers are an infestation.
Read the rest here.

“And the fair Moon rejoices,” Boston Center for the Arts Mills Gallery, 539 Tremont St., Boston, June 26 to Aug. 16, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Justine Kurland, "Hunters," 2004, and Tory Fair ”Walking," 2008.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Artadia announces seven grant winners

Artadia, the New York-based nonprofit, today announced the seven winners for this year's round of Boston-area grants. Amie Siegel and Joe Zane each receive $15,000. Five others each get $3,000: Claire Beckett, Ambreen Butt, Caleb Cole, Raul Gonzalez, and Eric Gottesman.

Artadia announces 15 grant finalists.

O. Winston Link

From my review of photos by the late O. Winston Link in “Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era” at Providence’s Bert Gallery:
It wasn't until the 1970s that O. Winston Link got noticed by the art world. The New Yorker had been a professional photographer since the 1930s, shooting publicity shots for an advertising firm before World War II and doing freelance commercial photography afterward. It was a decent living, but it was anonymous work.

At Bert Gallery, you can see the photos that finally grabbed people's attention. "Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era" features a handful of Link's astonishing 1950s nighttime shots of the last steam trains on the Norfolk and Western Railway across Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. He spent hours arranging people and (usually moving) trains in each shot, and then elaborately lighting the scene. He composed with his flash bulbs, illuminating just the elements he wished to include and leaving the rest in darkness as he fashioned seductive nighttime dramas.
Read the rest here.

“Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era: O. Winston Link: Louisiana, 1937; Carmel Vitullo: Rhode Island, 1950-1960” Bert Gallery, 540 South Water St., Providence, July 14 to Aug. 28, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: O. Winston Link, “Hot shot eastbound,” copyright O. Winston Link Trust; “Luncheon with Long Gloves and Menu” “The Long Walk”; “Group Portrait”; “Gentleman Start Your Engines”; “Columns and Hats”; “Catch of the Day”; “Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet, Bayou Little Caillou, Houma, Louisiana, August 3, 1937”; and “Old Maude Bows to the Virginia Creeper, Green Cove, Virginia, October 1956,” copyright O. Winston Link Trust. O. Winston Link’s Louisiana images are from the Louisiana Link project (Louisiana Link L.L.C, and copyright of Winston Conway Link.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Carmel Vitullo

From my review of photos by Carmel Vitullo of Warwick, Rhode Island, in “Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era” at Providence’s Bert Gallery:
To some eyes, Carmel Vitullo's big moment came in the '50s when New York's Museum of Modern Art bought a few of her photos and included her shot of European refugees waiting at New York's Grand Central Station in its landmark 1955 post-war exhibition "The Family of Man." The wary, tired men, women, and children sit on benches, with their suitcases lined up before them, under a grid of shadows cast by the building's skylights. You can see why it was selected for the show — it's a dramatic moment dramatically composed.

Vitullo grew up in the Italian community of Providence's Federal Hill, and most of her photos here depict that neighborhood in the '50s...
Read the rest here (at the end).

“Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era: O. Winston Link: Louisiana, 1937; Carmel Vitullo: Rhode Island, 1950-1960” Bert Gallery, 540 South Water St., Providence, July 14 to Aug. 28, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Carmel Vitullo, “Grand Central Station,” Selected for the Family of Man Exhibition and in the permanent collection of MoMA; “Street Pose”; “Resting”; “Providence Waterfront”; “Narragansett Pier”; “Morning Meeting”; “Grandchildren” and “Street Market.” All copyright Carmel Vitullo.

Monday, August 03, 2009

RISD Museum director resigns

RISD Museum Director Hope Alswang (pictured above, right) has resigned effective today, according to the Providence art school. “Alswang will leave to pursue other opportunities,” the school said in a press release. An attempt to reach Alswang at her home tonight was unsuccessful.

Alswang has lead the museum, which is closed this month as RISD tightens its belt during this time of economic crisis, since Sept. 12, 2005. “We at RISD are grateful for all that Hope accomplished during her tenure here – from increased museum visitation to the restoration of museum buildings and her leadership in the community,” RISD President John Maeda (pictured above, left) said in the release. “We wish her all of the best as she continues her distinguished career.”

Ann Woolsey immediately took over as interim director, the school reported. She worked as a curator in the museum’s painting and sculpture department from 1988 to 1997, returned to the museum in 2004 to help in the planning and construction of the Chace Center, and has been serving as assistant director of planning.

“While the Providence community, museum staff, board of governors and I are very sad to see Hope Alswang leave the RISD Museum, we are thankful that Ann Woolsey has agreed to serve as the museum’s interim director,” Arnold-Peter Weiss, a RISD trustee and chair of the museum’s board of governors, said in the release. “Woolsey has more than a decade of experience at the RISD Museum and will be able to provide continuity to the museum’s mission and focus. We hope to build on the great advances that the museum has enjoyed over the last few years.”

Photo from an Nov. 8, 2008, post at the "Our RISD" blog in which Maeda reported "I had a nice chat yesterday with RISD Museum Director Hope Alswang about the nature of museums."

Typo of the week

This headline, from last Tuesday morning, has long since been corrected.

Official New England Journal of Aesthetic Research humble acknowledgement: We all make mistakes.

Greg Cook

Greg Cook, the editor of The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, has a new comic, “What We So Quietly Saw,” in the documentary comics anthology “Syncopated” edited by Brendan Burford. Here are some reviews:

“Special mention must be made to Greg Cook’s interpretation of FBI reports about treatment of prisoners Guantanamo Bay. Through his use of silhouettes he’s able to avoid ramped-up melodrama or self-righteous indignation and cut right to the quick of the horror of the situation. It’s shoe-in for ‘best short story of 2009.’” – Comic Book Resources.

“The hammer is Greg Cook’s ‘What We So Quietly Saw,’ a stark account of torture at Guantanamo in which the word ‘redacted’ has the power of a scream.” – The Boston Globe.

“Harrowing.” – The Onion’s A.V. Club.

“Greg Cook has taken material from the FBI's oral histories of Guantanamo Bay and created a narrative, illustrated in silhouettes. We see a hapless figure beaten and forced to watch a woman squat over a Koran; then he lies frozen, shivering on the ground. ‘Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there’ – words without the human form would not convey the horror, but realistic images would be a further violation. Shadow figures may be the most dignified way to narrate torture.” – Los Angeles Times.

“Greg Cook’s ‘What We So Quietly Saw’ is anything but traditional, using only silhouettes to tell selected stories from inside Guantánamo Bay.” – Publishers Weekly.

“Merely an illustrated series of quotes from FBI reports about the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.” – Newsarama.