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Mar 2, 2015
Second Selves
  by Celina Colby

Walking down the street, three people scroll through their Facebook feeds. One of them is stalking her ex’s new girlfriend, and another is uploading a picture of the party he went to last night. On the train two friends tweet at each other from seats across the aisle and a teenage girl cries while reading a breakup text. Our technology has gone beyond being useful to being a part of us—a curated reflection of who we are. In the exhibit Second Selves at the Distillery Gallery, curator Alexis Avedisian brings together six artists who are trying to reconcile their public and private selves.

The first thing that greets the viewer in the clean, white space is a bed. This is Avedisian’s own piece. The mattress is covered with white sheets and a lace blanket. It’s rumpled in an intimate way as though the owner just rolled out. On the bed there’s an iPhone. Avedisian encourages visitors to lie down on the bed and scroll through the phone. On it is a lengthy...

Feb 23, 2015
Nepal 1975-2011: Kevin Bubriski Photographs
 

by Bret Chenkin

One could argue that the age of ethnographic photography is over. That putative golden age when European explorers and adventurers went forth to unknown regions—risking life and limb in deserts, ice fields or jungles—seeking the strange and undiscovered peoples of these lands, and collecting their artifacts and images for both research and to share with a curious public back home. That is not to say that such adventurers do not still forge on into remote sectors of our ever shrinking planet and photograph elusive native groups, but this is a trickle compared to what happened a century or more ago. The death knell was not only political sensitivity, but the fact that many folk are now aware of and empowered with technology. Often, when they are snapped at, they snap back. However, as long as there are skilled photographers such as Kevin Bubriski,...

Feb 20, 2015
Yun-Fei Ji: Migrants, Ghosts and the Dam

by Jenny Miller Sechler

Chinese artist Yun-Fei Ji is at once traditional and transgressive. At first glance, his intimate, detailed paintings and scrolls are soft and peaceful, in the style of Chinese landscape paintings. However, the images in his work include monsters, starving animals, skeletons and flooded landscapes full of upturned cars and uprooted trees. The subjects challenge the viewer. Ji’s use of traditional art forms challenges his native country’s policies, which discarded its artistic traditions after the rise of Communism. “I was drawn to using this abandoned art form and working on the ruin as a subject,” says Ji. “They fit together somehow.”

Through March 8, the University of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, at Amherst, presents “Yun-Fei Ji: Migrants, Ghosts, and the Dam,” a small but satisfying...

Feb 5, 2015
Color & Brevity: Tracey Helgeson
 

by Anthony Merino

Brevity breeds meaning. In austere images, what details are included become significant. American landscape painters like William Merritt Chase, Edward Hopper and Richard Diebenkorn evoked complex emotional narratives with minimal details. Tracey Helgeson continues this tradition through her economic landscapes, displayed at Harrison Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

The artist exhibited two groups of landscapes; those with buildings and those without. Both trigger a sense of melancholia in the audience. An aura of isolation permeates the works with buildings. In a few pieces like Flat Road with Farm and Flash of Pink, the artist uses scale and placement to create a narrative of separation. Both works depict a small house on the periphery of the picture, which are overwhelmed by the vast landscapes that surround them....

Jan 30, 2015
Felix Lembersky: Soviet Form, Jewish Context
 

by Jenny Miller Sechler

On view now at the Yiddish Book Center, in Amherst, MA, is an exhibit Felix Lembersky: Soviet Form, Jewish Context, featuring paintings and drawings by the important but long-overlooked Soviet-era artist Felix Lembersky. The exhibit will be up through March 2015.

The Russian painter Felix Lembersky is an artist of survival. Born in 1913, his work documents war, genocide and repression, as well as an artistic vision that refused to follow the dictates of Soviet Russia. His work speaks to his direct experience: Lembersky was wounded in defensive operations outside Leningrad, presented his thesis during the Siege of Leningrad in 1941, and lost both parents to the Holocaust. The current exhibit of Lembersky’s work at the Yiddish Book Center in Hadley—Felix Lembersky: Soviet Form, Jewish Context—present...

Jan 28, 2015
Song of the Sea
 

by Celina Colby

The sea has been an inspiration to artists for hundreds of years, from early Egyptian paintings of water as a source of life to JMW Turner’s tumultuous depictions of the stormy ocean. But Lisa Knox of the 249 A Street Artists Cooperative in the Fort Point area of Boston is celebrating the sea in a whole new way. On January 11 at FP3 Gallery, Knox collaborated with singer/songwriter Carrie Erving on an afternoon of music and art focusing on the beauty, power and mystery of the sea.

Knox works from preparatory photographs of the ocean to create her intimate portraits of the water. Using a variety of shades of blue she layers light and dark expertly with each crashing wave. The works vary from very close-up of a particular wave to a more...

Jan 26, 2015
Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol
 

by Frances J. Folsom

The American History Textile Museum in Lowell is the ideal setting for Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol (on view through March 29). The museum is housed in a 19th century building that was the Kitson Machine Shop, a textile mill that prepped cotton.

Why Lowell? In 1821 Boston businessmen Nathan Appleton, Patrick Jackson and Amos and Abbott Lawrence founded the Merrimac Manufacturing Company building mills to produce textiles, warehouses for storing them and a railroad for shipping and receiving. They brought in engineers to build canals for harnessing the power of the Merrimac and Concord Rivers and Pawtucket Falls.

Their call for workers went out to the surrounding farmlands and as far away as Europe. Hundreds of workers, mostly immigrants, signed up to work in the mills. The Merrimac Manufacturing Company built houses, churches,...

Jan 23, 2015
And the Gold Star Goes to…

by Celina Colby

The staff here at Art New England doesn’t just report on the arts, we’re deeply involved in them as well. We’re happy to announce that Merli V Guerra, our magazine’s production manager, has been recognized for her astounding artistic contribution to the town of Arlington, MA.

Together Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman founded Luminarium Dance Company as a new outlet for performing arts. The pair envisioned innovative performers using music, dance and light to create completely unique presentations. This past fall Guerra decided to bring their work from the stage to the street.

With the help of a Massachusetts LCC grant and a gift from the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust, Luminarium turned Arlington’s Grecian-style...

Jan 16, 2015
Boston Globe Revamps Living/Arts Section

by Celina Colby

The Boston Globe has given their Living/Arts section a makeover. Each day will now have a completely new design in a bigger, bolder daily broadsheet format with a host of new stories. The sections revolve around daily themes including MondayFamily, TuesdayStories, WednesdayFood, ThursdayScene, Weekend, and SaturdayLife.

A strong interest in the lifestyle and arts content of the newspaper spurred the Globe to make these changes around those subjects. Deputy Managing Editor for Features Janice Page said, “Readers of the Globe have a great appreciation for arts and culture and a keen interest in the many stories that this region has to tell. With the latest redesign of the Living/Arts section we have an even broader canvas on which to display those stories, engage people in new ways,...

Jan 14, 2015
2015 Artist Residencies
   

Compiled by Celina Colby.

Residencies provide opportunities to every kind of artist, enabling them to escape their usual routines to reinvigorate and re-inspire their work. Whether they’re looking for isolated settings for introspection or collaborative, critical settings for fresh input and new perspectives, residencies and workshops can help artists take their work to a new level. No two residencies are alike. New England is dotted throughout with artist enclaves – from Maine’s shoreline to the hills of Vermont. Each residency offers its own unique accommodations, working environment and fields of study. Adventure-seeking artists can explore residencies across the country or even across the globe. With so many options, any artist seeking a creative, concentrated art experience this summer will surely find one that matches their needs.

Art New England has put together a dynamic list of local, national and international residencies for artists...

Jan 12, 2015
One Step Closer to Over the River
 

By Debbie Hagan

In following up on our January/February story, Christo: Rapt in Public, we’ve just learned that a federal district court judge has ruled in Christo’s favor, pushing his project Over the River one step closer to reality. The judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management did not act inappropriately in granting Christo and Jeanne-Claude (now deceased) permission to install their project along the Arkansas River.

Over the River has been on the artists’ drawing table for more 24 years. In 1992, Christo and Jeanne-Claude walked along 89 rivers in the Rocky Mountains looking for just the right spot that would be accessible and have steep enough banks so they could install cables that would hold 1,000 sheets of pulverized...

Jan 9, 2015
Four Prolific Artists, One Creative Family

Although Mirana Comstock is a photographer, musician and writer, she never felt there was a spot for her in her artistic family. “When I was young I had trouble fitting into the visual arts side of the family because there wasn’t any wall space,” she says. Comstock isn’t just referring to metaphorical space but to the actual limited hanging room in their home. With an artist mother, grandmother, and brother, wall space was expensive real estate.

Recently closed at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, MA, is an exhibit that’s not just about art, but about family. Generations features four artists from the Bercovici clan, the family of the late Konrad Bercovici. Konrad was a Hollywood writer, and he and his wife, Naomi, lived like creative royalty, dividing their time between New York and Los Angeles. Their circle of friends included notables like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Brancusi,...

Dec 15, 2014
A Dark Trip Into the Woods
 

by Debra Cash

A child can easily get lost in the woods: Hollywood in Los Angeles, Bollywood in Mumbai and Nollywood in Lagos. These international centers of the commercial film industry are places of enchantment and aspiration. For the young people who enter these realms in pursuit of fame, they can turn into ominous settings that impose a constricted range of “authentic” childhood behavior and identity.

Video artist Candice Breitz is concerned with the social distortions of international consumer media culture and the way it plays out in visual imagination. Born in Johannesburg, trained in the United States, and based in Berlin since 2002, she is a global citizen. Trevor Smith, the Peabody Essex Museum's first contemporary art curator, tapped Breitz as the eighth artist to participate in its ambitious FreePort contemporary art initiative. Smith...

Dec 12, 2014
ARTcetera Reception at Art Basel

Last Friday guests gathered at the Ritz Carlton in Miami Beach for the reception of one of the most anticipated art events of the year: Art Basel. The reception was hosted by ARTcetera, AIDS Action’s biennial art auction, and featured a performance by Autumn Ahn. Staged in the Ritz Carlton pool, the performance, called Untitled (Chamber), was inspired by the artists who founded ARTcetera thirty years ago. As a proud sponsor of ARTcetera, Art New England is excited to present photos from the event and to thank ARTcetera for a wonderful night. Stay tuned for more photos and Basel coverage on the ANE blog.

Nov 25, 2014
Purrrformance Piece

by Donna Fleischer

Rhonda Lieberman is breaking down barriers between art and humanitarianism with her Cats-in-Residence Program at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. Originally part of the greater exhibit The Cat Show at White Columns Gallery in New York, the Cats-in-Residence Program is part performance piece, part interactive exhibit and part cat adoption program.

For the latest iteration of the exhibit, rescue cats were carefully chosen from Connecticut Cat Connection and placed in a kitty playground, a large netted circle filled with food, toys and obstacle courses. Architects Gia Wolff, John Hartmann and Lauren Crahan designed the habitat. Other artists contributed sculptures on which the cats can play. The netting surrounding the structure is double bound to make climbing easier for the cats, and a variety of structures allow for additional exploration.

Viewers can stand...

Nov 21, 2014
A.B. Miner: Bring to Light

by Robert Moeller

There is a specific kind of uncertainty on display in A.B. Miner’s paintings and drawings. In part, they stem from the exploration of a physical geography that is both fully mapped and stubbornly unknown. The work unfolds in curated episodes of confessional gestures that are meant to unveil what remains hidden or private. Where Miner starts is with the portrait of a small girl. He ends up is with a remarkable depiction of a diverse assortment of butterfly penises.

In between, and likely the most important here, is not only what Miner chooses to expose, but the ways in which the viewer might decide to approach the work. The artist’s main subject here is the irascibility of gender, issues of turmoil and confusion, and ultimately contentment.

A distinctive narrative tracks through the exhibition, and it is a fraught with hard-won truths. Even in the case of the renderings of the butterfly genitalia, which Miner used to explore the varied...

Nov 19, 2014
Illuminus
   

by Celina Colby

Bright lights and big ideas transformed the West End Street Railway Central Power Station and other buildings in the South End on a late October Saturday night. Boston’s first Nuit Blanche festival, put on by the Dorchester-based production company Materials & Methods, was a rousing success with thousands of viewers coming out to the SOWA area. Projections, light installations, emersion environments and performances by almost 40 artists were on view.

The event was truly a community collaboration. Although Jeff Grantz, the founder of Materials & Methods, did much of the heavy lifting, the artistic undertaking would have been impossible without the help of others. Monetarily Grantz had almost 20 sponsors donating money, time and equipment to the project. Local curators recommended artists to be featured to help build the number of exhibits available. Even GTI Properties, which owns several of the Harrison Avenue buildings used...

Nov 10, 2014
Sin-ying Ho
 

 By Anthony Merino

Sin-ying Ho dissects the complexity of human identity in two semi-monumental vases: Temptation: Life of Goods No.1 and One World, Many Peoples No. 2 exhibited at Independent Art Projects, North Adams, MA. Across the surfaces of the two vases are human forms in silhouette floating amidst a field of flowers, mimicking traditional blue and white floral patterns found in traditional Chinese porcelain imports. Ho uses the silhouette device to suggest that humans are vessels and within them are their identities. Renaissance painter Titian’s Fall of Man serves as the template for the figures on Ho’s Temptation. Titian’s painting depicts the moment Eve plucks the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Within the silhouettes are designs inspired by Chinese coins: a circle with a square hole cut in its center. Each circle includes a corporate logo. In the end, Ho asserts that humans largely identify themselves by what they...

Nov 3, 2014
Ellis Boston
by Celina Colby

Stepping into the Cyclorama last weekend felt like stepping into a luxurious old home. Forty booths were decorated with an astounding quantity of ornate antiquities. Chandeliers sparkled from the ceiling and bookcases hugged the walls, filled with rare artifacts and old volumes. Friends and collectors sat in high-backed chairs discussing vintage Chanel bags and porcelain figurines. You might well have seen the same scene in any of the sophisticated historic homes on Beacon Hill.

For 49 years the Ellis Antiques show was held at the Castle at Park Plaza. In 2008 it closed due to budgeting problems and a great Boston tradition was lost. Tony Fusco of Fusco and Four, who was working on the Boston Antiques show at the time, suggested that Ellis merge with Boston Antiques, thus combining the best of both. A new tradition was born.

Oct 29, 2014
Franklin Evans: juddrules

by Robert Moeller

Any combining, mixing, adding, diluting, exploiting, vulgarizing or popularizing of abstract art deprives art of its essence and depraves the artist's artistic consciousness. Art is free, but it is not a free-for-all. The one struggle in art is the struggle of artists against artists, of artist against artist, of the artist-as-artist within and against the artist-as-man, -animal or -vegetable. Artists who claim their artwork comes from nature, life, reality, earth or heaven, as “mirrors of the soul” or “reflections of conditions” or “instruments of the universe,” who cook up “new images of man”—figures and “nature-in-abstraction”—pictures, are subjectively and objectively, rascals or rustics. - Donald Judd, American Dialog, Vol. 1-5

Donald Judd was an exquisite contrarian. Call him a minimalist and he’d say, no, he wasn’t. To be fair, the term itself was widely rejected by artists working at this...

Oct 8, 2014
Reverb: New Art From Greece
   

The Alzheimer-stricken Greek woman stares down from a large screen on the wall. Her personal narration is interspersed with flashed images: Mickey Mouse, Soviet Nazis, gunfire. Over the grandmother’s muted words runs the sound of a newsreel, spewing information from a 1970s broadcast on Greek National Television. You can’t follow both storylines. Loukia Alavanou’s striking piece begs the question, which will you listen to?

Alavanou is one of nine Greek artists featured in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts show Reverb: New Art From Greece. The exhibit’s goal is not to be an overview of contemporary Greek art but to reveal alternate perspectives of the many changes in the country. A new sense of urgency has infused into the artwork as a result of the social and political turmoil the Mediterranean country has experienced...

Sep 24, 2014
Canvas Fine Arts Opens Two New Exhibits

Boston City Hall has long had artwork spicing up its dreary walls, but on Wednesday, September 17, the first curated exhibit to grace the city council president’s office opened. Suzanne Schultz of Canvas Fine Arts and Keith Whitmore of Masterpiece Fine Art Gallery curated the show to represent both Bill Linehan and Boston in a subtle yet relevant way.

Linehan represents the SoWa District, where many artists and galleries are located, including Canvas Fine Arts.

The orderly offices behind the brutalist façade of City Hall make for an unlikely oasis for the art in the exhibit. But there is something poetic about the way the pieces reflect the city council’s mission.

Robert Hickox’s piece Maelstrom is featured prominently in one of the seating...

Aug 19, 2014
Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston, MA icaboston.org

Through November 2, 2014

 

"There are stars exploding...and there is nothing you can do." So goes one of the lines from Ragnar Kjartansson's video installation The Visitors, currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Sung over and over, this verse is a perfect expression of the urgent undercurrent that runs through this evocative work. The Visitors is simultaneously a sorrowful lament over the loss of time and place, and an ambitious endeavor to momentarily suspend the viewer’s experience of either. In considering physical displacement and the search for community, the work explores concepts of geography and identity that increasingly characterize 21st-century...

Jul 1, 2014
Ann Chernow: Noir

Ann Chernow: Noir Albert Merola Gallery Provincetown, MA Albertmerolagallery.com

June 6-24, 2014

From the darkness a beam of light falls on the mane of blond hair, setting it ablaze. Then it glances off a profile, picks up the tip of a cigarette, an aquiline profile. This is Ann Chernow's latest work and it is all inspired by film noir, the post-WWII Hollywood genre in which the action often takes place in darkness, in shadows, and where the themes of mystery, illicit rendezvous, and subterfuge play out.

Chernow's painting always has been woman-centered and often tinged with nostalgia, its images taken from old family photographs and magazines. Her latest work evinces a desire to go deeper into women's psyche to explore the private, darker side, the danger zones of passion, heartbreak, physical beauty and intrigue. She investigates above all the part that fate plays in the lives of both men and women. 

Jun 23, 2014
Energy Necklace at the Jackson Homestead

Energy Necklace at the Jackson Homestead

Historic Newton, 527 Washington Street, Newton, MA

April 3–July 18, 2014

Susan Israel, curator

www.EnergyNecklace.com; www.historicnewton.org  

Milan Klic; Acquisitions of Light, aluminum alloy, resin, steel, 9’ x 12’ x 4’; photo credit, Susan Israel

The debut of Energy Necklace at the Jackson Homestead and Museum is also the debut of a public sculpture exhibition for the distinctive institution itself. Cindy Stone, Jackson Homestead museum director, explains: “Once a stop on the Underground Railway, the Jackson Homestead sought to stop the exploitation of people just as the Energy Necklace seeks to curtail exploitation of the earth. They seemed like complementary...

Jun 10, 2014
Chaos Controlled: A Constructivist’s Memoir

Chaos Controlled: A Constructivist’s Memoir

Iva Gueorguieva Samsøn Projects www.samsonprojects.com/ April 18 – May 31, 2014

The Owl’s Failure 2014, acrylic, hand painted collage, oil on canvas, 100 x 80 inches

Samsøn director and curator Camilø Alvårez first met Bulgaria-born painter Iva Gueorguieva back in 2005 after presenting a lecture at the Skowhegan School in Maine. One of the things that must have drawn him to her work is the fact that Gueorguieva is a collector of images: not technically, perhaps, but rather in the way her work resonates with, and riffs upon, the very distinct visual narratives offered up by artists like Picasso, Dubuffet, and the arid landscapes of Pollock’s drip paintings. Formally speaking, the strongest historical connections date back to Constructivism and a host of Russian painters and sculptors. Yet direct links to the past,...

May 8, 2014
Flatmansquared, new stainless steel and bronze sculpture by Ernesto Montenegro

Flatmansquared, new stainless steel and bronze sculpture Ernesto Montenegro May 3–May 31, 2014 R. Michelson Galleries Northampton, MA www.rmichelson.com

 

When first seen Ernesto Montenegro’s new sculptures suggest cruel contraptions that contain disassembled but living humans. His arrangements of sectioned bodies in stainless steel boxes at once reveal and remove their subjects. Some of the open boxes contain voids of body sections as though figures are equally present and disappearing.

A ‘figure in repose’ (Montenegro does not title his pieces), seems at ease in a somewhat angular way, but it is an ease suggestive of vital reduction—a slightly living figure, existing between life and after-life. An arm rests on the top of a box that contains the chest adjacent to the arm of a ‘normal’ figure. Bent at the elbow, it angles down to the floor, three finger...

Mar 21, 2014
Solar Power: Little Sun

Olafur. Eliasson, Din Blinde Passenger,2010

by Robert Moeller

The Council for the Arts at MIT announced last October that Olafur Eliasson had won the Eugene McDermott Award. The award includes a cash prize ($100,000.) and campus residency for the artist and a gala held in his honor. The Berlin-based Eliasson, mainly know for his large spectacular installations—notably The New York City Waterfalls and the weather project at the Tate Modern—is at heart a collaborator. Whether it is with scientists, engineers or architects, he seems most comfortable out in the world of ideas, picking someone’s brain while at the same time formulating a way to insert his artistic practice into the contemporary mix. The results are hard to codify as they veer out across so many disciplines and engage a host of issues. One is reminded of Leonardo’s wandering mind, visible in his notebooks, when considering Eliasson’s work.

Recently, in March, Eliasson was at MIT’s...

Mar 11, 2014
Accumulation 2: The Lightning Speed of the Present

 

Márcio Carvalho and Shannon Cochrane

by Shawn Hill

Accumulation 2 The Lightning Speed of the Present 808 Gallery, Boston University Through March 30, 2014

As part of the challenging and experimental Lightning Speed of the Present exhibition at Boston University's 808 Gallery, local performance artist Sandrine Schaefer has staged a multi-week performance series called Accumulation. The concept is simple and open-ended: each week a new artist performs on Wednesday. Whatever they bring or use must be left behind for the next performance.

Effectively (as my friend and fellow habitual attendee Maggie Cavallo said at Week Three) it's like having a season pass to a concert series, only it's free and you have no idea what to expect from week to week. A clue to the goings-on...

Feb 5, 2014
Wendy Seller: Visual Metaphors, New Paintings
Wendy Seller, Fictitious Portal, 2013

by Alicia Faxon

WENDY SELLER:  VISUAL METAPHORS, NEW PAINTINGS

Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College . Providence, RI ric.edu/bannister

January 23-February 19, 2014

 

Wendy Seller is a painter of fragments, digitally realized.  Her reconstituted landscapes and imaginary portraits draw on paintings and photographs as well as her own paintings, combined in evocative and mysterious ways.

Originally a neo-surrealist painter, she connects new techniques to capture an invented world, unsettling and imaginative in nature.  Her landscapes are taken from different areas in Ireland, a landscape she has documented in recent years. Her portraits echo mainly Renaissance...

Jan 24, 2014
Some Thoughts About Deborah Grant: Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy!!

by Monroe Denton

Editor’s Note: There are several national celebrations upcoming related to the content of this blog. African-American History Month is February 1-28; Women’s History Month is March 1-31, and Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, falls on April 27-28. Various Gay Pride rallies occur nationwide every spring.

Deborah Grant: Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy!! January 25 – February 28, 2014                                                                                          Drawing Room, The Drawing Center, NY Opening Reception: Friday, January 24, 6–8pm  

Curated by Claire Gilman                                   ...

Jan 7, 2014
Daisy Rockwell: The Topless Jihadi and Other Curious Birds

New Works by Daisy Rockwell Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT Closed December 30, 2013

By Bret Chenkin

Daisy Rockwell is primarily known as a scholar in East Asian studies, especially India. She has translated various works from the Hindi, composed reviews, and is currently at work on a novel. However, based on the prolific and quite colorful output exhibited at the Bennington Museum (although the voluminous amount of notes accompanying the show may indicate otherwise), one would have to argue that her real passion lies in painting. The show encompassed the entire hallway of the Regional Artists Gallery, with seven different subject groupings—all of which touch on feminist-socio-political themes, with no gloves on.

Rockwell’s work is mostly intimate in scale and tonally and compositionally appears to pay homage to the Mughal/Rajasthan Schools of court painting from 17th to 18th centuries. This is certainly the case with the preponderance of pastels,...

Dec 18, 2013
Floor van de Velde: Score for a Color Field

By Robert Moeller

My icons do not raise up the blessed savior in elaborate cathedrals. They are constructed concentrations celebrating barren rooms. They bring a limited light. —Dan Flavin

The somewhat awkward formulation put forth by Dan Flavin simultaneously raises and dashes the notion of religiosity in his work. Light, even the fluorescent version, imbues a work of art with a distinct ethereality, whether spreading out from a single candle present within a painting by Rembrandt or through the controlled neon sprawl emitted in any of Flavin’s work.

Floor van de Velde’s exhibition Score for a Color Field at the 17 Cox Street Gallery in Beverly is all about light, and darkness as well. In the small, unlit gallery her simply arranged forms cast an array of disembodied shapes and patterns that produce an upending of the formal space that contains them. Interestingly, too, there is an organizing presence as well that arrives as the viewer begins to process...

Dec 8, 2013
Day 3 Miami/December 6

A remarkable start to this day was visiting the Perez Art Museum on Biscayne Bay. Herzog & de Meuron have produced a beautiful, bountiful museum. Its internal centerpiece is an open auditorium, a series of wooden stairs that function as seats to ascend to the second floor in a manner reminding me of the surprise of the ancient Pergamon Altar. Workmen scrambled to complete mortaring the pavement outside and the road leading to the museum is not yet built but the stupendous auditorium was drama incarnate. It faced a very large screen of projected Ai Weiwei commentary.

Coming upon Chinese art/activist Ai Weiwei's jade handcuffs and floor pieces and videos upstairs, as part of his Ai Weiwei: According to What? special exhibition that had traveled to Miami to help inaugurate the Perez, was a terrific encounter. This exhibition was a perfect choice since this museum is dedicated to 20th and 21st-century international art. In the portion of the lobby that is called...

Dec 6, 2013
Miami Day 2/Report for Dec. 5

A most incredible day at the Miami art fairs began with the Aqua Fair at the intimate Aqua Hotel and culminated at the Art New England/deCordova Museum/Skinner poolside party for New Englanders at the gargantuan Fontainebleau Hotel.

The New England galleries William Baczek Fine Arts (Northampton, MA) and Rice Polak Gallery (Provincetown, MA) had terrific exhibitions amid the 45 exhibitors, each with a hotel room of its own. The riveting monkey-man portraits by Travis Louie were showstoppers at Baczek, as were Rice Polak's offerings of Michael Snodgrass, especially his Art Critic with Blue Pants.

When I visited Tom Shirk, ace hotelier and art curator whose White Porch Gallery is in his beloved Provincetown, he was in the process of opening R House in Miami's Wynwood, preparing for his opening night bash. The paintings of German artist Dietmar Brixy were beautifully installed in his inaugural exhibition in America in the flexible, inspired, retrofitted club-like interior...

Dec 5, 2013
Day 2 in Miami was a busy one for deCordova!

by  Dennis Kois

 

I spent some time previewing the main Basel fair, running around to prep an itinerary for a "walkaround" tour in the afternoon for a few of our patrons who are down this week. I was juggling looking for interesting work, trying to not get lost in the maze that is the exhibit halls (I heard one collector telling her friend that she likes to think of the Basel layout, with it's central layer of blue-chip galleries surrounded by aisles and aisles as the seven levels of hell...), talking to gallerists and chatting with the friends I ran into in the fair (Barbara and Jonathan Lee, Boston area collectors and all-around ecumenical arts supporters, Andrew Witkin from Barbara Krakow, Olga Viso, Director of the Walker Art Center, artist and Rappaport Prizewinner Orly Genger, and others I've forgotten already... it was a blur!).

All that is to say I was not exactly...

Dec 5, 2013
Day 1, December 4, Miami

The Art Basel Miami Fair at the Convention Center, the mother of the multitude of Miami fairs running now, is always an overwhelming event at first. With such a sampling of international blue-chip art, each booth so carefully installed, and the Fair issued floorplan in one’s moist hand, it is an environment exactly like no other. This is true especially early on in the process, when the gallerists retain their complete energy and focus. One’s looking starts and one soon remembers why one loves art—its richness and the many discoveries it never ceases to yield are fundamental to its pleasures. The more one looks the more one knows, and here one wants to interrogate gallerists with questions related to their selections, and talk about the other works one knows to which their sale items may refer. In turn the gallerists have fantastic stories to tell, curatorial and entrepreneurial. They are very engaging and knowledgeable about their artists, what they have selected to show in their...

Dec 4, 2013
Dennis Kois: Art Basel Miami Beach 2013
Left Boston this morning on the early AA flight down, which as always was packed to the gills with Boston collectors, museum folk, and artists, and we compared notes and itineraries as we waited to board. Saw Magda Campos-Pons buying coffee, and became jealous of the ability of Paul Ha, the Director of MIT's List, to sleep sitting up. He was still snoozing a few rows ahead of me as we touched down. That's a skill I need!   After adjusting to the glaring Miami sunshine (ahhhh! I'm melting!) I dropped off bags at the Fontainebleau, and snapped a quick pic of the pool terrace where deCordova's party (sponsored by Art New England and Skinner, thank you!) for all us New Englanders will be held Thursday night. Beautiful as ever- very Miami Beach! While sitting on the terrace catching up on emails, saw Susan Talbott, the Director...
Dec 3, 2013
Body and Soul: New International Ceramics

by Mary Bucci McCoy

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

New York, NY

Through March 2, 2014

Independent curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan has had a dedicated career in the fine arts in Boston, with positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, the former Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, as curator for the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, and the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis. In the case of her latest curated exhibition, she has brought together diverse ceramic work from 24 artists in an international exhibition in New York. She examines contemporary figurative clay sculpture as a vehicle for social commentary, with topics including violence, identity, sexuality, and oppression. Nearly half of the artists are French; the remainder are from the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

As a sculptural material clay is versatile: its possibilities include hand building, molds, fashioning on the potter’s wheel; carving; and extrusion. Some...

Nov 29, 2013
Outside of Philadelphia
I write on Black Friday. Art is apparently dead today and Walmart is alive. We need Wearable Art! and our March/April issue will be dedicated to that.   Judith
Oct 24, 2013
Just Happy to Be Here!

by Robert Moeller

  All images by Pat Falco are Untitled, 2013. Above: Photograph of installation, C Street, South Boston, MA.

Pat Falco is an artist from Boston, the self-proclaimed “Master of Light and Shadow” and regarded by many of today’s finest art critics as “Who?” On a more serious note, Pat was selected for the 2013 deCordova Biennial, which runs through April 13, 2014; he was part of the 2013 Fountain Art Fair in New York; and was one of six artists nominated for the best artist category by The Phoenix. The title of this column is borrowed from Falco’s late-summer exhibition at Montserrat College of Art. We spoke recently. —RM

Robert Moeller: In talking about your work, a familiar jumping-off point might include an artist like Barry McGee. Is that an apt comparison?

Pat Falco: Definitely. Barry, [the late] Margaret Kilgallen and many more of those...

Oct 22, 2013
LOCALLY MADE
by Anya Ventura Jane Masters, Control Freak, 2005.  Museum purchase: Gift of the Artists’ Development Fund of the Rhode Island Foundation. RISD Museum of Art Through November 3, 2013 I was greeted by a man in pancake makeup and told to grab a goodie bag filled with a comb, a pencil, and a piece of bubblegum. Inside the packed gallery, several performance art pieces were being enacted at once. I watched as a man in drag swayed softly alone, encircled by a talismanic array of potato chip bags. Bubblegum wrappers were piled on the floor like a Gonzalez-Torres installation. This was “After School Special,” an event part of the RISD Museum’s exhibition, Locally Made, in which different local artists are given free reign in the museum’s experimental installation space, School House Long House. Such creative chaos appears to be the charter...
Oct 8, 2013
Seeing It Loud in New York

 by Henry McMahon

The National Academy Museum, on Fifth Avenue, is now hosting See it Loud, an exhibition of paintings by seven painters—Leland Bell, Paul Georges, Peter Heinemann, Albert Kresch, Stanley Lewis, Paul Resika, and Neil Welliver. Their deep influence on the sensibilities of at least two generations of painters in this city is reflected—some will think this perverse—in inverse proportion to their standing in the art market.

It’s a well-known story that the big budget galleries’ domination of New York’s artistic landscape has transferred influence away from teaching institutions and museums. Insofar as the Academy’s traditional role of disseminating the ideas of important artists has become the purview of the commercial gallery, Chelsea, more than any place, reflects the true academic art of our time. In this context, See it Loud is best characterized as an anti-academic show.

 
Sep 26, 2013
1,000 pianos/ 37 cities/ 1 Boston

by Demelza Durston

The article that follows is based on an interview with the visual artist Luke Jerram on September 20, 2013. It took place in his offices on Park Street, Bristol, UK.

Courtesy of the author: "Luke Jerram With Sphere" 

It really creates a visual and acoustic sense of community. It gives focus to a street.—Luke Jerram, artist-producer of Play Me, I’m Yours [installation in Boston September 27th- October 18th, 2013]

Boston, with its Berklee College of Music and historically thriving music scene, shouldn’t be surprised when it awakes on Friday morning to find hand-painted pianos have been scattered across familiar urban streets and landmarks. For the past 16 years since his graduation from the University of Wales, Cardiff (1997), Luke Jerram, an internationally active visual artist based in Britain, has long been...

Aug 27, 2013
Found Redux

by Bansie Vasvani

The current exhibition continuing through August 23rd at the Talwar Gallery, New York, entitled Found, features the work of Indian and Sri Lankan artists Aishya Abraham, Muhanned Cader, and Srinivas Prasad. Grouped together for the first time for their use of found materials, these artists communicate in a language that speaks beyond the context of their immediate surroundings. Their visions converge in presentations appealing to universal feelings for time and history, and they stir a strong sense of nostalgia.

Ayisha Abraham’s grainy, amateur videos En Route or Of a Thousand Moons, 2011, gathered from discarded family archives, offer little in terms of actual documentation of time, place or history. Segments from various videos are presented in a seamless trajectory deliberately without reference to any specific tale or narrative. What emerges from these disparate montages of found footage is reference to irretrievable moments of bygone years—simple...

Aug 19, 2013
Reading the Ruins

Holy Land: Photographs by Joy Bush Through September 8, 2013

Mattatuck Museum Waterbury, CT 203-753-0381 www.mattatuckmuseum.org

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by Stephen Vincent Kobasa

Joy Bush, Holy, 1997. Image courtesy of the artist.

A Holy Land laid waste seems closer to the truth somehow, if one thinks only of the present day in which the square outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been filled with tear gas, and a thirty-foot wall marks the western border of Jerusalem. But the inaccurate model of that landscape spread across nearly twenty acres of a hillside in Waterbury, CT, was not intended—by John Greco, a Waterbury attorney who began its construction in 1955—to be a lesson in current events. Neither did he imagine it becoming a long, continuing history of decay after its closing thirty years ago.

Aug 13, 2013
Play Me, I'm Yours: Luke Jerram's Street Piano Extravaganza Comes to Boston

By Debra Cash

Sound links its listeners in a net of attention; it is an orientation device and an opportunity.

Since 1997, sound has been British artist Luke Jerram's raw material for his sculptures, installations, and public art works. The Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Fine Print Research at the University of West of England, Jerram has created a giant, stainless steel aeolian harp whose metal tubes vibrate in the wind; rigged tiny, hypersensitive microphones to plants growing in a botanical garden to amplify their barely perceptible acoustic emissions; designed a talking silver ring etched with a twenty second loop of his voice proposing marriage to his girlfriend Shelina (she said yes); and launched a "sky orchestra" of seven hot air balloons that wafted music into people's bedrooms at dawn to infiltrate their dreams.

Aeolus installed at Lyme Park Estate,...
Jul 31, 2013
Bedlam…

Raul Gonzalez III Los Nuevos Guerreros July 17- August 31, 2013

Carroll and Sons 450 Harrison Avenue Boston carrollandsons.net

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By Robert Moeller

The Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez is a killing ground. In the five years leading up to 2011 roughly 9,000 people were murdered there. This includes the unsolved slayings of several hundred women, many of whom came to Juarez to work in the maquiladoras, which are large assembly plants situated near the border with the United States. The products made in these factories are not the only things exported from Juarez, as it is also a center of the Mexican drug trade and a vital transit hub for people seeking to enter the United States illegally. At times, raging gun battles between rival drug cartels have crippled the city and troops have been called in to restore a semblance of order. Over the last several years, things have improved and the violence has decreased, but Juarez, by any standard, remains...

Jul 29, 2013
Thoughts on encountering paintings by Jim Peters, Figurative Revisionist

By Susan Rand Brown

For a painter like Jim Peters, “on the scene” in galleries and museums since the late 1970s, to have his art ignored—that is, seen but not seriously considered—would be cruel punishment. No need to worry. His paintings have never been wallflowers. Peters’ figures are hard to ignore, even as acolytes, questioning or straddling the fence. They are women and men, positioned in the dingiest of (bed)rooms, windows darkened and seemingly blocked, where they read and lounge pre- and post-coitus—the aureole around which Peters’ coal-dark scenarios revolve.

Given the postcard-like work that flourishes in summer galleries like so many Cape Cod cottages in July, the two Jim Peters exhibitions in Provincetown’s East End right now, the retrospective curated by John Wronoski at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (through August 11) and the other at the artSTRAND Gallery (through August 7) speak highly for the future of serious painting,...

Jul 3, 2013
Some thoughts on Ana Flores’s Earth History, Selected Sculptures 1997-2013

By Patricia Rosoff

Some thoughts on Ana Flores’s Earth History, Selected Sculptures 1997-2013 [Part of Poetry of the Wild recently installed on the Sculpture Walk at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, UConn at Avery Point, Groton CT]

Ana Flores, Enlightenment, 2010, wood, cement, metal. 8' x 36" x 16"

Two currents move through the work of Ana Flores as encountered, recently installed both at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery and along the windswept Sculpture Walk by the Sea. One is private and figurative, expressed in lyric attentiveness to details of relation, to color and to material. The other is public, site-specific and multi-disciplinary (literary and narrative), inviting viewer exploration and interaction. Both engage the viewer in three dimensions, in works that spring from forms “found” in nature that are then formally “staged” in architectural or natural...



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