Archive for May, 2011

Olmsted Historic Site reopens tomorrow

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts, reopens for tours tomorrow after being closed for more than six years of renovations. The first public tour is schedule for 11 a.m., according to supervisory park ranger Alan Banks.

Olmsted (1822-1903) was 62 when he moved from New York to Brookline in 1883. He was already the celebrated designer of New York’s Central Park, and many other public parks across the U.S. He’d recently begun work on what would become Boston’s Back Bay Fens, which would lead to his work on the city’s Emerald Necklace park system. The Brookline home, studio and Olmsted-designed grounds are where Olmsted worked on his final projects of his career, and where his sons John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. continued the landscape design business after his retirement.

The Olmsted historic site opens tomorrow on a “limited reopening schedule,” with guided tours of the Olmsted studio (blue printing department, drafting rooms, documents vault) and grounds on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (To make reservations for a tour call 617.566.1689 ext. 221.) But renovations, which began in January 2005, continue. Workers are still fixing up and installing exhibits in the Olmsted house, which is not expected to reopen until this fall or early winter, Banks says. A grand reopening will probably take place next spring around Olmsted’s birthday in April.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, 99 Warren St., Brookline, Massachusetts, free.
Above: The Olmsted elm on the property about 1900. This tree was removed this March due to disease and old age. (All photos courtesy of the National Park Service.)

Amy Sillman speaks at Montserrat

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

New York painter Amy Sillman (pictured above) gave the commencement address at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, on Friday, May 27, 2011. Here are some of her remarks:

“All graduation speeches boil down to two points … do not live for money and try to change the world now while you still have the energy.”

“I moved to New York City in the mid ‘70s. … The most sophisticated people I knew said painting was dead. … But I had just arrived, and I loved to draw.”
“My friends and I actively embraced forms of nerdiness.”

“I hand an old gray-haired art teacher who I asked if I should go to art school. And he told me I would fail. … So, of course, I went to art school.”

“I was about being honest. I was basically against people who were for making pretty pictures.”

“You have to remember that art can change the world. It’s not only a philosophical thing, it’s a social and ethical one.”

“Your actions [while painting] form an outward model of what you inwardly think.”

“Art has to be conducted the way you conduct the rest of your life.”

“Really, honestly, I think about everything I ever learned in life, I learned through painting.”
Pictured above: Sillman’s 2009 painting “Fatso” and a selection of drawings that were on view at Montserrat from May 3 to 27, 2011.

Disclosure: New England Journal of Aesthetic Research custodian Greg Cook teaches at Montserrat.

Poor Yokelist’s Almanack: Upcoming Events

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Saturday, June 4, noon to 6 p.m.
Cambridge River Festival along the Charles River on Memorial Drive, between JFK Street and Western Avenue, Cambridge. Multiple stages of live music, dance, theater, family-friendly performances, arts activities and demonstrations, an arts and crafts bazaar, international food market.

Sunday, June 5, 11:30 a.m.
Kids book author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka speaks at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Sunday, June 5, 1 p.m.
Photographer Phyllis Galembo speaks at Fitchburg Art Museum, 25 Merriam Parkway, Fitchburg Massachusetts. $7. (Pictured above: Galembo’s “Agot Dance Group, Etikpe Village, Cross River, Nigeria,” 2004, on loan from Phyllis Galembo/Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.)

Monday, June 6 5 p.m.
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts presents a professional artists development workshop on “Legal tools of the trade: Copyrights, licensing and creative property law” at the Department of Administration Building, 1 Capital Hill, Providence. Free, but advance registration required.

Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m.
Scott Indermaur, New England chapter president of the American Society of Media Photographers, talks about his work and professional practices at AS220, 131 Washington St., Providence. Free.

Wednesday, June 8, 6 p.m.
Dianne Debicella, fiscal sponsorship program director for Fractured Atlas, gives a talk on “Fiscal sponsorship: A Fundraising Tool for Artists” at Boston Center for the Arts’ Calderwood Pavilion, 539 Tremont St., Boston. Suggested donation $5 to 10. Sign up at http:// Organized by ArtMorpheus, the BCA and Fractured Atlas.

Zombie March

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The annual Boston Zombie March lurched from South Station to Boston Common this afternoon. Hundreds of undead took part.

Photos copyright by The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.

Tape Art at Worcester Art Museum

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Tape Art folks led by Michael Townsend of Providence were busy at the Worcester Art Museum this week using blue tape to draw a house being invaded by zombies on the museum’s Lancaster Street facade. It’s the fifth year Tape Art has created a mural on the museum’s exterior. The tape mural is expected to be taken down tomorrow.

Tape Art might be considered a family-friendly cousin of the Trummerkind folks — also lead by Townsend though the other players aren’t quite the same — who created an amazing secret apartment in the Providence Place Mall, which was discovered by authorities in 2007.

In progress photos by the Worcester Art Museum.

Globe’s Smee launches blog

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Sebastian Smee, The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize winning art critic, launched a blog at the Globe today: “Sebastian Smee: Surveying the art scene in Boston and beyond.”

“New England is one of the best places in the world to be if you love art,” he blogs. “…In this blog I hope to write about some of these [museum] changes and about the exhibitions and works of art I see in New England’s museums and, occasionally, its commercial art galleries. I hope to touch on art world news, and to throw in unusual, provoking, or simply diverting items as they arise.”

Senate seeks 7.7% cut for MA Cultural Council

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously yesterday for a $8.4 million budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1, according to the state arts and cultural funding agency. This would mean a cut of $700,000 or 7.7 percent from the agency’s current $9.1 million budget, and a cut of $4.25 million or 33.6 percent from three years earlier.

The budget must still be approved by Governor Deval Patrick, but since the Senate version of the budget now matches proposals by the governor and the state House of Representatives, it seems like a done deal.

MCC Executive Director Anita Walker noted this budget reduces state cultural funding by more than 50 percent from levels of a decade ago. “These cuts are hurting our nonprofit cultural organizations especially hard, coming as they are on the heels of the worst recession of our lifetime,” she said in a prepared statement. “The MCC and its allies will do all we can to work to restore this support in the months and years ahead.”

Previously: Gov proposes 7.7% cut for MA Cultural Council.

Mass. Cultural Council grants announced

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The Massachusetts Cultural Council announced the winners of its artist fellowship grants in crafts, photography, and film and video today.

Photography: Stephen DiRado of Worcester, Lisa Kessler of Boston, Sarah Malakoff of Roslindale, Rania Matar of Brookline, Tara Sellios of Somerville, Sarah Skwira of Southampton, Stephen Tourlentes of Somerville, Frank Ward of Williamsburg receive $7,500 grants. George Awde of Westwood, Edie Bresler of Somerville, Caleb Cole of Somerville, Matthew Gamber of Boston, Asia Kepka of Arlington, Sejal Patel of Cambridge, Toni Pepe of Winthrop, and Deb Todd Wheeler of Newton receive $500 grants.

Film and video: Karen Aqua of Cambridge, Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor of Chestnut Hill, David Binder of Boston, Alice Bouvrie of Arlington, Erik Levine of South Boston, Carolyn Shadid Lewis of Jamaica Plain, Nicky Tavares of Jamaica Plain receive $7,500 grants. Julie Akeret of Leeds, Melissa Davenport of Boston, Mary Jane Doherty of Boston, Jesse Kreitzer of Brighton, Susan Rivo of Arlington, and James Rutenbeck of Waban receive $500 grants.

Crafts: John Cameron of Gloucester, Timothy Coleman of Shelburne Falls, Mark Cooper of Somerville, Carrie Gustafson of Arlington, and Mariko Kusumoto of Lexington receive $7,500 grants. Angela Cunningham of Somerville, Julia Groos of Boston, Warren E. Mather of Weston, Elin M. Noble of New Bedford, and Jay Stanger of South Easton receive $500 grants.

The judges were Vaughn Sills, George Slade and Paula Tognarelli for photo; Michael Giaquinto, Robbie Heidinger and Perry Price for crafts; and Claire Andrade-Watkins, Carter Long, Jake Mahaffy, David Dinnell, Rebecca Meyers, Marlo Poras and Jonathan Schwartz for film and video. The state agency says it received 152 applications in crafts, 128 in film and ideo, and 339 in photography.

Cliff diving off ICA

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

International divers will leap from the roof of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art into Boston Harbor, 80 feet below, when the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series comes to Boston on Aug. 20. The beverage company reports that the harbor is 20 feet deep where the divers will jump in.

“We are very excited to host the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at the ICA,” Paul Bessire, ICA deputy director for external relations, said in a prepared statement. “The ICA’s innovative architecture and exhibitions and its location on Boston’s stunning waterfront make it the perfect spot for this international event.”

The 2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

From our review of “2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition”:

Walking into the “2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition” at the Rhode Island Convention Center, you can’t miss Laura Swanson’s “Homemade Bull” (pictured above). It’s a giant, horned bull made with gray moving blankets, like a humongous stuffed animal. Peer in the critter’s nostrils and you find a tiny, dim apartment with a bed, poster, a faux goat head mounted on the wall, and books on a shelf. It seems like a mod-ly furnished Trojan horse, both cozy and perhaps a threat.

Swanson’s work frequently addresses pressures to appear normal as well as desires to escape from these pressures. Last year, she constructed a child’s clubhouse in the shape of a cat as a hideout from the demands of life. She has hand-painted reproductions of drawings children made in therapy for psychological trauma and stitched together dolls depicting herself and her partner to keep her cat company when they’re away.

Read the rest here.

“2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition,” Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence, May 20 to June 4, 2011.

Photos by The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.

View up the nose of Laura Swanson’s “Homemade Bull.”

Audrey Barnes “Lil’ Rhody Native.”

Curtis Singmaster “Leaners with Luxury.”

Benjamin Peterson “Ceranema: The Float.”


Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

From our review of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative’s exhibition at AS220 in Providence:

The political printmaking group JustSeeds was begun by Josh MacPhee in Portland, Oregon, in 1998 as a way to distribute art and posters. Over the years it’s grown into a worker-owned coop of 26 artists from the United States, Canada, and Mexico who do printmaking and design “that reflects a radical social and political stance.” Their causes range from anti-war to workers’ rights to prison reform. In their 2010 group portfolio “Resourced!,” on view at AS220′s Main Gallery, they turn to ecology.

The sharpest image is MacPhee’s screenprinted drawing of a seemingly endless field of tree stumps (think Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax). There are no words and the design is simple but hypnotic and horrifying in its repetition. Pittsburgh artist Shaun Slifer’s stark poster features the slogan “Coal will never be clean” in big, bold lettering between little decorations depicting three small smokestacks and a skull.

Read the rest here.

AS220′s Main Gallery, 115 Empire Street, Providence, May 1 to 28, 2011.
Meredith Stern

Chris Stain

Shaun Slifer

Erik Ruin

Poor Yokelist’s Almanack: Upcoming Events

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m.
Dietmar Offenhuber, a media artist and research fellow in the Senseable City Lab at MIT’s Department for Urban Studies and Planning, speaks about “diagrammatic reasoning” as part of the “Upgrade! Boston” series at the MIT Media Lab, sixth floor, room 633, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge, Mass.

Wednesday, May 25, 4:30 p.m.
Dedication ceremony of Douglas Kornfeld’s public sculpture “Reach” (pictured above) in Mozart Park, Centre Street near Hyde Square, Boston. Kornfeld writes: “the abstracted steel uprights form an up-reaching hand, symbolizing the immigrant experience. The artist’s many interactions with the Hyde/Jackson Square community helped inspire the design of the sculpture.”

Thursday, May 26, 5 p.m.
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts presents a professional artists development workshop on how to “Increase Your Web Presence” at the Rhode Island Department of Administration Building, 1 Capital Hill, Providence. Free, but advance registration required.

Saturday, May 28, 2 p.m.
Artist and historian Mary Rhinelander McCarl speaks about “Early Art Colonies of Cape Ann: Magnolia, Annisquam, Pigeon Cove and Gloucester (Mass.) from the 1870s to 1890s” at the North Shore Arts Association, 11 Pirates Lane, Gloucester, Mass.

Saturday, May 28, 3:30 p.m.
Zombie March beginning at South Station in Boston.

“New Mythologies” at Candita Clayton

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

From our review of “New Mythologies,” a group show featuring Xander Marro, Andrew Moon Bain, David Allyn and Corey Grayhorse at Candita Clayton Studio:

Two years ago I wrote that someone needs to put together a big local survey of Xander Marro’s art. As far as I can tell it still hasn’t happened. So while we continue waiting, check out what she’s been up to lately in the “New Mythologies,” a show of (mostly) candy-colored but prickly pop art at Candita Clayton Studio.

Needless to say, her girly Victorian psychedelic puppet dioramas (pictured above) are some of the best art being made in Providence today. If you don’t believe me, check out the Dirt Palace co-founder’s appearance in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Modern Women,” a giant 2010 catalogue of all the great women artists of the past century (or something). Or believe your eyes.

Read the rest here.

New Mythologies,” Candita Clayton Studio, 999 Main St., unit 105, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, April 22 to May 27, 2011.

Xander Marro, interior detail of “Snake Digestion.”

Corey Grayhorse “Eskimo Sisters.”

Corey Grayhorse “Wolfie Twins.”

Andrew Moon Bain “Home Sweet Home.”

David Allyn from his “Capco” series.

Miller Block becomes Miller Gallery

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Miller Block Gallery in Boston announced today that it has changed its name to Ellen Miller Gallery. The switch has been planned for at least the last three years, during which time Ellen Miller has run the commercial gallery’s day to day operations. As we reported when the gallery moved in 2008: “Miller’s longtime business partner Katie Block is expected to adopt a smaller role. Miller Block will retain its current name for roughly six months to a year, Miller said, but may then be renamed Ellen Miller Gallery.” The gallery, which first opened in 1990, remains at 38 Newbury St.