Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dava Newman speaks Tuesday at MIT

Dava Newman, an MIT professor of aeronautics, astronautics and engineering systems whose “BioSuit,” a form-fitting next generation spacesuit prototype was exhibited at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008, gives a free talk (with refreshments) at the MIT Museum on Tuesday. She will speak about “new technologies, companies, and policies that are leading people back into space, above low Earth orbit. Discuss the issues around space flight from national pride and scientific discovery to wealth distribution and the meaning of being human.”

Dava Newman, “Soap Box: Humans in Space,” MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 6 p.m. Dec. 8, 2009.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Andrew Buck

From our review of Andrew Buck in "An Exhibition of Photography" at the Moses Brown School's Krause Gallery in Providence:
In his his black-and-white "Ohio Horizon" photos, Andrew Buck of Farmington, Connecticut, adopts a short, wide format — like two or three old photo booth photos arranged end to end — that seems especially attuned to the resolutely flat, horizontal landscape of these farms in northwest Ohio, where his in-laws reside.

Buck documents landscapes reshaped by people. A semi truck stands outside a farmhouse in the snow. A mass of windbreak trees rests like a great dark cloud that has landed in the middle of a vast sea of low planted fields. Silvery silos, white barns, windbreak trees, and power lines rise out of a shimmering field of what looks like corn.
Read the rest here.

If you're fascinated by this stuff be sure to check out the panoramas that the late Illinois photographer Art Sinsabaugh shot in the Midwest in the 1960s, an inspiration Buck has acknowledged.

Andrew Buck in "An Exhibition of Photography," Krause Gallery at Moses Brown School, 250 Lloyd Avenue, Providence, Nov. 3 to Dec. 4, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Andrew Buck, "Wood County #8," "Wood County #2," "Wood County #3," and "Along I-75, Bowling Green."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Eve Aschheim

From our review of Eve Aschheim's just closed show at Rhode Island College's Bannister Gallery:
New York painter Eve Aschheim has said that she uses geometry in her abstractions "to 'think about' the intersection of nature and cityscape. My works might suggest the chaotic geometry of the city, the expectant stillness of air, the tenuous balance of a wire line against a building."

Aschheim's drawings and paintings on view at Rhode Island College's Bannister Gallery are filled with dashed lines and hard edges that look cut up and scattered about and at the same time recall the taped lines of a house painting job. Her drawings in blue, black, and violet gesso, and ink and pencil on frosty mylar, have lots of visible erasing and rubbing out, as if revealing her rethinking and redrawing as she looks for the right balance.
Read the rest here.

Eve Aschheim, Rhode Island College's Bannister Gallery, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, Nov. 5 to Dec. 2, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Eve Aschheim, "Convergence" and "Floe," both 2008 and oil and graphite on canvasboard.

Yokelism update: Coverage of our living artists

Sebastian Smee responds

Two weeks ago, I criticized the lack of coverage of living Boston artists by our local mainsteam media – and in particular by Boston Globe critic Sebastian Smee (pictured here). Before I posted the piece, I e-mailed Smee, but he was away traveling and didn’t respond until this week.

“They're totally fair points, though obviously I have a different perspective on it,” Smee writes. “I am excited about being in New England, but also excited - and curious - about being in America.”

Below are his responses to my questions, including: Could you talk about your coverage priorities? What is the right balance between covering locally-made art and art from elsewhere? Does coming from Australia, which is not usually seen as a major art center, help shape your priorities for covering art made in New England, which is also not usually seen as a major art center?
Sebastian Smee: “I am always on the look-out for interesting art by New England artists, but it's not at the forefront of my mind. What is at the forefront is looking for shows that might be interesting for New England audiences to see (or to read about). This makes me dependent, as any newspaper critic is, on what shows New England museums choose to put on.”

“Some - though not many - of the shows I write about might be outside New England, since my understanding is that New Englanders regularly travel to see art, and are interested in what is happening outside New England.”

“My priorities at this stage are New England museums, while my colleague Cate McQuaid focuses on New England's commercial galleries. The boundary is porous, and Cate and I are both hoping that it will become more porous over time.”

“I'm not sure I follow the logic of the connection you suggest between reviewing in Australia and reviewing in New England, but I would say that my experience working as a critic whose jurisdiction was the whole country rather than just a city or region, made me alert to the dangers of provincialism. I have been particularly excited to discover how many high quality museums there are all over New England, and I take great pleasure in visiting them every week.”

“You count the number of New England artists I have written about, but it's important to remember that my brief is not just to review artists but to assess shows (of Egyptian art, of video art, of Renaissance art, of installations, etc) as well as to write about art-related issues that come up in New England: Shepard Fairey, the Rose, the Gardner museum's expansion, Hyman Bloom, etc etc.”
Yokelist Manifesto Number 1: Boston lacks alternative spaces?
Yokelism at the 2008 Boston Art Awards.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 2: Montreal case study.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 3: Hire locally.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 4: We need coverage of our living artists.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 5: We need local retrospectives.

2009 New England Art Awards are coming

Later this month The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research will begin soliciting nominations for our 2009 New England Art Awards. The awards are a contest to honor the best art made here and exhibits organized here in 2009. And nominating and voting is open to all. So start getting your list together. And stay tuned for announcements. We want to hear from you.

(If you don’t know what the New England Art Awards are, check out this introduction to last year’s awards or this page of links.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Iris Apfel, Mary McFadden

From our review of “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel” at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum and “Mary McFadden: Goddess” at MassArt in Boston:
If you were going to recount the evolution of hippie guy fashion, you might say that what began with psychedelic ruffled shirts and corduroy pants in 1968 has in late middle age split into two streams: collarless white button-down shirts, usually buttoned right up to the neck and worn with a black vest, and Hawaiian shirts. Both still signal rebellion — the collarless shirt announces: "I'll dress up, man, but I won't be constrained by your collar" — but it's rebellion softened into something a guy can be comfortable wearing day in and day out.

Guy fashion isn't renowned for its invention, but this narrow range clarifies the corresponding ideas in women's couture that are illustrated in "Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel" at Salem's Peabody Essex Museum and "Mary McFadden: Goddess" at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. To put it simply (and somewhat simplistically): McFadden's refined designs parallel those collarless shirts, whereas Apfel's flamboyant wardrobe (she's pictured at left) mirrors those guys sporting Hawaiians.
Read the rest here.

“Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, Salem, Oct. 17, 2009, to February 7, 2010.
“Mary McFadden: Goddess,” MassArt, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, Sept. 22 to Dec. 5, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Iris Apfel ensembles photographed by © C.J. Walker; portrait of Iris Apfel by © Bruce Weber; three selections of Mary McFadden’s work at the Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery, MassArt, courtesy of Mary McFadden, photos by Johanna Warrick; Iris Apfel ensembles photographed by © David Gehosky, tunic, Tunisian wedding garment, early 20th century, necklaces, Givenchy, 1970s, necklaces and bracelet, Monies, c. 2003, jacket, Oscar de la Renta, circa 2000, necklaces, Angela Caputi Giugiù, circa 2001, boots, Kenzo, circa 1990; Iris Apfel ensemble photographed by © David Gehosky, jacket, Nina Ricci haute couture by Gerard Pipart, late 1970’s, trousers, Moschino, 1997, bangles, Indian, circa 2003, shoes, Anne Klein, circa 1989.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Yokelist Manifesto 5: We need local retrospectives

We hereby announce two new Yokelist rules of thumb. If a local museum exhibits a local artist older than 50 that show should probably be a retrospective. And if that museum has shown that artist before, that show should definitely be a retrospective.

What prompted these helpful guidelines is the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art’s current exhibitions of 44-year-old Mexican artist Damian Ortega and 66-year-old Krzysztof Wodiczko, who splits his time between Cambridge, New York, and Warsaw. The ICA has presented the work of both artists before.

Hurray to the ICA for giving major play to local guy Wodiczko – and Wodiczko does something amazing with it. But look at the play he gets. Ortega gets half the museum for a full-scale retrospective. Wodiczko gets one room for a video installation and a short hall to display three videos on televisions.

If Boston aspires to be a major art center, our museums need to support not just our local hungry young up-and-comers, but also our grayhairs. We need to give our emerging artists small shows that help them emerge and our established artists retrospectives that showcase what they can do.

The ICA does declare itself a major international player by putting on “the first-ever survey exhibition of Ortega's work.” But what else does the ICA signal by how it plays Wodiczko and Ortega?

Imagine what Wodiczko could have done with the space Ortega got. And it would have been a declaration – locally and internationally – about the caliber of art created here and the ambitions we have for Boston.

Yokelist Manifesto Number 1: Boston lacks alternative spaces?
Yokelism at the 2008 Boston Art Awards.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 2: Montreal case study.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 3: Hire locally.
Yokelist Manifesto Number 4: We need coverage of our living artists.

Maxfield Parrish’s letters

When Maxfield Parrish was 14, the Philadelphia native traveled to Europe with his parents. This was before he became a famed artist and illustrator, and before he moved to Plainfield, New Hampshire, in 1898, following his parents who had moved to Cornish in 1894. But in illustrated letters that Parrish (1870-1966) sent home to his cousin Henry Bancroft between 1884 and 1886, you can clearly see the talent and invention that would later blossom. Pictured here is a selection of these dispatches from Paris and London that is now on view at the Delaware Art Museum, which owns them. Click on the images to see larger versions.

“Maxfield Parrish: Illustrated Letters,” Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, Oct. 17, 2009, to Jan. 17, 2010.

Pictured from top to bottom: Maxfield Parrish letters from Jan. 20, 1885 (detail); July 22, 1884; December 1884; Dec. 15, 1884; Jan. 20, 1885; and Dec. 1, 1885.

Monday, November 30, 2009

NEJAR wins grant(s)

The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research is very happy to announce that it has been awarded a $30,000 grant from Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation’s Arts Writers Grant Program and has received preliminary approval for a $250 grant from the Malden Cultural Council (final approval, depending on state finances, is expected to be announced in April). The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research is one of just three blogs awarded the Arts Writers Grant this year – and notably the only one of these blogs that currently exists.

Our executive director Jasper (pictured here) says that this windfall will allow the team at The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research to heat our headquarters and eat this winter. Many thanks to the grantors and to everyone who has supported our work – especially you, dear reader.

The Arts Writers Grant is a national program but two other winners also hail from New England – and Massachusetts in particular. Boston writer Geeta Dayal won funding to develop a project about “Locative Art and Urban Space: Mapping an Emerging Field” that will be available both online and via handheld mobile devices. Amherst writer Christoph Cox won funding for his article “Conceptual Art and the Sonic Turn” on the development of sound installation.

Malden’s Parade of Holiday Traditions

The Parade of Holiday Traditions marched through Malden, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Nov. 28. The line up included (pictured from top to bottom) Darcy’s Dance Academy in Malden; the Sons of Italy Drum and Bugle Corps from Haverhill; Philadelphie Haitian American Seventh Day Adventist Church Lions Club band from Malden; the Tuney Tornados Marching Band; some Minute Men; Paula Terenzi’s Dance Complex of Malden; the Malden Middle School band; the Malden High School Golden Tornado Band; the middle school band again; Santa; and Rudolph.

Photos by The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.

Krzysztof Wodiczko

From our review of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s “ …Out of Here: The Veterans Project” installation at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art:

For the majority of us Americans, Iraq and Afghanistan are a series of news-data points — number of Americans killed today, number of car bombs, spending tallies, estimates of civilian deaths. We connect these dots to try to form a hazy picture of Iraq, where at least 4276 Americans have died and 30,182 have been wounded and as many as 93,793 Iraqi civilians have been killed since we began our fight there six and a half years ago.

Stories with intimate details can help us to understand. Recent studies have shown that being in pain and watching someone else in pain activate similar areas of the brain. But most of our war reporting is data, not narratives. That’s what makes Krzysztof Wodiczko’s new video installation, “. . . Out of Here: The Veterans Project,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, so powerful, and so necessary.

You stand in a large dark gallery lined with (projections of) grimy factory-style windows 13 feet above the floor that show blue sky and blurry clouds. “Outside” you hear kids playing, giggling. Adults call to them in what must be Arabic. A radio broadcasts Barack Obama telling us that “we need to use diplomacy to resolve our problems wherever possible” and a report that “a senior Hamas official has told Al Jazeera that this is a Martin Luther King moment.”

A man sings in Arabic as a helicopter — seen in silhouette in the windows — whumps down and hovers. The darkness and the height of the windows make you feel cut off, blind, but also safe. Kids kick a soccer ball past a window, then aloft again; it shatters one of the panes.
Read the rest here.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, “. . . Out of Here: The Veterans Project,” Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston, Nov. 4, 2009, to March 28, 2010.

June 2009: Krzysztof Wodiczko in Venice Biennale.

Pictured: Krzysztof Wodiczko, “…Out of Here: The Veterans Project,” 2009, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York. Portrait of Wodiczko by Ewa Harabasz.