Friday, November 13, 2009

"Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!", Holly Ewald at AS220

From my review of two now closed exhibits: "Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!" plus Holly Ewald of Pawtuxet Village at Providence’s AS220:
It's not quite right to call "Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!" the AS220 biennial. This fizzy hodgepodge of art by AS220 staff, residents, volunteers, and fellow travelers is not as serious the term "biennial" implies. This is more like a hootenanny, lots of different voices, not all singing in key.

Among the highlights of the show, which is on view in AS220's main gallery (115 Empire Street), is AS220 program director Meredith Stern's "Cast Your Spell," a collage of relief prints. The title floats over two squirrels juggling leaves over a pot on a campfire, with rodents perched on their backs. Several more critters flank them. Stern expertly makes her scratchy gouging to suggest fur and motion. It gives the print a buzzing woodsy energy.
Read the rest here.

"Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!" and Holly Ewald, AS220, Empire Street and Mathewson Street, Providence, Oct. 4 to 24, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Rebecca Zub “Seaweed/Rock Jumble”; Holly Ewald, “Languages of the Land, A Dialogue with the Downs”; Denny Moers, "Gloucester 1" (for forthcoming book on Charles Olsen); and Scott Lapham's “My Entire Life in Birds.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MA gives $177K to cultural facilities

The state of Massachusetts’s Cultural Facilities Fund has awarded feasibility and technical assistance grants totaling $177,375 to nine organizations. The program, which is jointly administered by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the state economic and development authority MassDevelopment, funds the building, repair, and expansion of cultural facilities across the commonwealth.

The recipients are:
Berkshire Carousel (pictured above), Pittsfield, $16,875
Center for Arts at the Armory, Somerville, $12,950
Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Yarmouth, $7,875
EcoTarium, Worcester, $18,750
Lynn Memorial Auditorium, Lynn, $26,250
Massachusetts High School Drama Guild, Chelmsford, $25,300
New England Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin, $18,750
Provincetown International Film Festival, Provincetown, $13,125
Wellfleet Preservation Hall, Wellfleet, $37,500
Including these new grants, the program will have funded 224 projects totaling more than $37 million since it was created by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006. The Legislature continued to fund the program through the last fiscal year, but no new grant applications are being accepted now because additional funding was not included in the current fiscal year’s budget.

Anthony Greaney moving

Anthony Greaney Gallery, which opened at 460 Harrison Ave. in Boston in December 2008, is moving to 450 Harrison Ave. Greaney says he plans to open in a front corner space formerly occupied by Bernie Toale’s project space by early January – if not sooner – with a show of Liz Glynn.

“I like the history of Bernie. That’s some real space there,” Greaney says. “That’s the very beginning of the South End [gallery district] as we now know it.”

The move will increase the gallery’s size from 600 square feet to 640, plus additional storage space, which he didn’t have in the old location. And the rent will be less, Greaney says, though he notes that the move requires the added cost of doing his second build-out of a gallery in about a year.

“I really love my space and I’d love to be able to stay there. … I love the slight remove in a way,” Greaney tells me. But his location at 460 Harrison offered frustrations, most stemming from being hidden within the building behind Howard Yezerski’s Gallery. “I was so tucked away back here. I felt I put on some pretty good shows that got totally missed.”

The old gallery was supposed to be accessible via a hallway inside the building, but the outside door leading to that hall was often kept locked by the management of the building, Developer Mario Nicosia’s GTI Properties. GTI also was lax about installing a door intercom and signs to alert visitors to the presence of businesses within the building.

“I just got an intercom the other day,” Greaney says. “They wouldn’t give us signage or let us put up signage until a week ago.”

Pope.L named finalist for $100,000 prize

Maine artist William Pope.L has been named one of three artist finalists for the $100,000 Ordway Prize, which is administered by New York’s New Museum and Creative Link for the Arts. The juried prize, which is expected to be announced early next year, celebrates a midcareer artist – ages 40 to 65 – “whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who has yet to receive broad public recognition.”

Pope L. exhibited his “Corbu Pops” show at Harvard’s Carpenter Center early this year (we said then: “The year's still young, but this one leads the field for Lousiest Show of 2009”) and was commissioned to recreate Allan Kaprow’s 1961 pile of tires “Yard” installation at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery in September. He was born in 1955 in Newark, New Jersey, and currently lives and works in Maine, where he lectures at Bates College.

Urdang Gallery to open in Wellesley

Beth Urdang Gallery, which closed on Boston’s Newbury Street in June 2008, has reappeared in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Urdang says she plans to open at 16 Grove St. with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 20. The opening exhibit, on view through Dec. 31, will feature gallery artists Olga Antonova, Chris Armstrong, Linda Holt, Pat Lasch, Margo Margolis, Charlotte Gibbs, Jean Feinberg, and Colin Brant.

And, Urdang tells me, “My plan is to return to Newbury Street in January, 2010 - more on that later.”

Matthews named director of Boston Athenaeum

Paula Matthews has been named the Stanford Calderwood Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, according to the library. She had been serving as acting director since Richard Wendorf retired last May after 12 years leading the Athenaeum, which was founded in 1807 and is said to be the oldest independent library in the United States.

Matthews joined the Athenaeum in October 2008 to work as its chief librarian and director of operations. Previously, she worked at libraries at Princeton, Oberlin, Iowa City, Boston Public Library, and Bates College in Maine. She’s also worked at the Openbaremuziekbiblioteek in Utrecht, in the Print Room and Rare Book collections of the Yale Center for British Art, Colby College, and Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Somebody in NY is watching?

After all our Yokelist rants trying our damndest to demonize New York, and all that, we were surprised to find that New York gallery Exit Art has been hosting a series of art talks by some so-called Institute for Aesthetic Research. Which ain't us.

We would optimistically like to think that this Institute is a sign of our movement catching on – rather than just a random coincidence. Or, say, New York ripping off another idea from the provinces and pretending it’s their own. (See Boston's "The Big Picture" versus New York's copycat "Lens.")

“The Institute for Aesthetic Research is not a physical place nor an official organization,” Exit spokesperson Lauren Rosati kindly explains, “it was the name given to a series of 5 events at Exit Art that are hosted and organized by David Baumflek and Daniel Lichtman.”

Evidence of our influence? The Institute for Aesthetic Research includes an aesthetic research website. There they explain that “IAR is a program of public events, talks and discussions focused on Art, Economics and Institutional Critique. It attempts to translate the traditional role of the ‘think tank’ into the sphere of cultural production and visual art. As the traditional think tank situates itself between the academy, special interests and government, the IAR will consider how to place itself critically within the circuits of distribution and legitimization of aesthetic objects and ideas. The IAR will itself be an experiment in the dynamics of cultural-political discourse. These five weekly meetings will culminate in a collectively-produced publication that explores the possibilities of cultural production in contestation, or outside the realm of Neoliberalism.”

Unfortunately we don’t understand what all those fancy words mean. So we’re hoping that in fact, they’re a knock off of Mexico’s Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas – also known as the Institute of Aesthetic Research.

Lisa Perez, Peter Owen

From our review of Lisa Perez "Still even now" and and Peter Owen "Collected Stories" at Providence's 5 Traverse gallery:
The elegantly simple shapes of Providence artist Lisa Perez’s shallow wooden wall sculptures take on charming, wobbly, bubbly forms with uneven edges, as if they were worn away by rivers.

"Liken" (2009) is a stack of oval sheets of gray matte board floating above the lower left side of a rectangularish unpainted wood board. The gray ovals suggest a stack of stones. Where a shadow would be between the gray paper ovals and the wood board is a patch of red that flickers out from its hiding place like a flame.
Read the rest here.

Lisa Perez "Still even now" and Peter Owen "Collected Stories" at 5 Traverse, 5 Traverse St., Providence, Oct. 23 to Nov. 22, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Lisa Perez, "Liken," 2009; "Overcast," 2009; "Listen Up," 2009; "Spring," 2009; "Glacial Erratic," 2009; and Peter Owen, "Untitled (Delft drawing #1)," 2009.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

“The Rose at Brandeis"

From my review of “The Rose at Brandeis: Works from the Collection," an exhibition of works that Brandeis University leaders threatened to sell off in January:
The art remains extraordinary — if you can get past the feeling of being at a wake. The fireworks come mainly from 23 acquisitions the Rose’s first director, Sam Hunter, bought in the early 1960s with a $50,000 gift — art by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Adolph Gottlieb, Morris Louis, Jim Dine, and Larry Rivers. Ellsworth Kelly’s 1962 "Blue White" focuses on the electric tension between a pair of kissing blue curves. Andy Warhol’s 1964 "Saturday Disaster" twice reproduces a newspaper photo of a bloody, fatal car wreck. Alex Katz’s 1962 "The Walk #2" is a portrait of his wife Ada in a violet coat standing against a blue-black background. These works rank among the finest their artists ever made. Additional donations brought a terrific slashing lyrical 1961 Willem de Kooning abstraction inspired by the tangerine sky and blue sea near his East Hampton home. Because of their market value and the apparently limited gift restrictions, these are the pieces that are most at risk of being sold.
Read the rest here.

If you want to learn about the Rose crisis, sample our extensive reporting beginning here.

“The Rose at Brandeis: Works from the Collection,” Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 415 South St., Waltham, Oct. 29, 2009, to May 23, 2010.

Pictured: Gregory Crewdson, untitled, 2001.

Monday, November 09, 2009

“Harry Potter: The Exhibitition” ™

From my review of “Harry Potter: The Exhibitition” at Boston’s Museum of Science:
At “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” at the Museum of Science, when a robed attendant places the sorting hat on a visitor’s head and soon after a door whooshes open to reveal the Hogwarts Express breathing steam and broadcasting train sound effects, you find yourself filled with the kind of giddy expectation you feel when you get your hands on a Potter book on the day it’s released.

It’s the anticipatory thrill of setting off for adventure and, you know, magic. “Harry Potter: The Exhibit,” a wondrous selection of costumes and props from the movies displayed in sets lavishly constructed for the exhibit, delivers Hollywood star wattage, holy Potter relics, and the rush of nostalgia of (re)visiting this place we’ve heard so much about.

After the train, you walk past a witty video portrait of the Fat Lady guarding the Gryffindor dorm at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She tries to sing the right note to shatter a glass, fails, and surreptitiously smashes the glass on a wall. A bedroom displays sacred artifacts: Harry’s Marauder’s Map, his Hogwarts acceptance letter, his signature round glasses. Feel the gravitational pull of standing at the magnetic core of a great new societal myth.
Read the rest here.

“Harry Potter: The Exhibition,” Museum of Science, Science Park, Boston, Oct. 25, 2009, to Feb. 21, 2010.

Pictured from top to bottom: Harry Potter™ and Ron Weasley's dormitory room; Harry Potter's wand, eyeglasses and the Marauder's Map that was given to Harry by Fred and George Weasley in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”; interior of Hagrid's hut, with items as seen throughout the “Harry Potter” films, including a chair, table and chandelier; and kids pulling up Mandrakes in the herbology area of the exhibit. All photos © Chris Hollo, Hollo Photographics, Inc.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NEJAR at “Creative Massachusetts” today

The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research will be speaking about Yokelism and related topics today when we appear on a panel called “Meet the Press and Create Your Own Press” at the Raab Lecture Hall at the Boston Public Library’s Copley Square branch. The talk is part of “Creative Massachusetts: The Artists Congress,” a conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition and the Boston Public Library.

Also speaking today about meeting and creating the press are Pat Williams, founder and publisher of The Word; Christian Holland, executive editor at BigRedandShiny; Mary Bucci McCoy, artist and longtime contributor to Art New England; Noah Joffe-Halpern, musician and author of; Charles Coe, co-president of the Boston Chapter of the National Writer's Union. Maggi Smith-Dalton of Singing String Music will moderate.

If you crave more in-person wisdom from The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, we will also be speaking on the “Impress the Press” panel at the New England Museum Association’s Annual Conference in Nashua, N.H., on Nov. 11.