Photographs with a View of Her Own

For those of us with an interest in Boston’s Gilded Age, the Women’s Suffrage Movement or 19th century female photographers, the name Clover Adams rings a bell. Marian “Clover” Hooper Adams—Gilded Age socialite and portrait photographer, is currently the subject of a small but delightful exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society.  

A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams 1883-1885—traces the privileged life of “a fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin.” Clover began experimenting with photography in the summer of 1883 while her husband Henry Adams—prominent historian, Harvard professor and novelist—was writing Esther, a novel loosely based on the making of Trinity Church in the City of Boston. Adams modeled the heroine of the novel after his wife Clover, whom he characterized in it as a “second rate amateur” painter.

“I’ve gone in for photography and find it very absorbing” wrote Clover on September 7 1883. “My wife does nothing except take photographs…” wrote Henry to Elizabeth Sherman Cameron on July 26 1883. Artistically dismissed by Henry, Clover continued to make compelling photographs that allowed for an intimate look at America’s Gilded Age. 

Clover’s photographs are marked by quotes or any information she recorded of the individual or place she photographed—often providing a glimpse into the personalities of highly respected figures. When photographed, Senator and future Supreme Court Justice Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar of Mississippi refused to have his photo taken until “he had rumpled [his hair] all up,” wrote Clover alongside his photograph on February 23 1884.

(Left) Henry Adams seated at desk in dark coat, writing, Photograph by Marian Hooper Adams, 1883 (Right)Umbrella tree at Smith's Point, Photograph by Marian Hooper Adams. Both Photographs courtesy Massachusetts Historical Society.

Clover’s ability to communicate the personality of her sitters is evident in the arrangement of her albums.  She paired a photograph of Henry Adams in his study room alongside a photograph of a lonely tree perched on a mountain top. One can arrive at numerous conclusions, but we can all assume that this arrangement speaks to the lonely life that Henry led.

Organized by the seasons of the year, the exhibition highlights Clover’s three albums and displays them in the context of letters, loose photographs and ephemera—including her personal sketchbook with a watercolor by John La Farge.

Having lived in the immediate surroundings of Trinity Church before moving to Washington, DC, Henry Adams became close friends with Phillips Brooks, Trinity’s then charismatic preacher; America’s premier architect Henry Hobson Richardson and artist John La Farge. Clover photographed Trinity Church and the people behind one of America’s greatest architectural treasures. These photographs, many of them iconic—also form part of this exhibition.

The photographs of Clover Adams are as heartbreaking as the life she led. On the morning of Sunday December 6, 1885 she wrote “if I had a single point of character, I would stand on that and grow back to life.” That same Sunday morning, Clover committed suicide by drinking potassium cyanide, the chemical she used to develop her own photographs. She was 42.

Henry Adams never spoke of her or mentions her in his masterpiece “The Education of Henry Adams,” but he honored Clover’s memory with the bronze seated statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens–placed over her grave at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC.  

 A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life: The Photographs of Clover Adams 1883-1885 is accompanied by a biography of the same title by exhibition curator Natalie Dystra. The exhibition is on view until June 02, 2012.

Nancy Holt on Nancy Holt

A pioneer in the Land Art movement (and art world hero of mine), Nancy Holt is the subject of a retrospective at the Tufts University Art Gallery which opened on January 19th. A Worcester, Massachusetts native and Tufts graduate (Class of 1960), for the past forty-five years, Holt has created land and site-specific sculptures that explore the summer and winter solstices and sun and moonlight patterns–transforming sculpture into “live experiential instruments.”

On Tuesday January 24, 2012, Nancy Holt talked about her inspiring career as an artist, her process and challenges behind her work. I share some of her thoughts:

Sun Tunnels (1973-1976), Lucin, Utah. Photo by Sean Baron, The University of Utah - College of Architecture and Planning

On collaboration:

I work with a lot of artisans and crafts people and is very important to me the relationship that I have with those people—and is an opportunity for them to have their work appreciated in and of itself.

In reference to Star-Crossed (1979–81) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio:

Star Crossed, Miami University, Oxford, OH. Photo: The Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory

I’d like to say I think the moon looks better in the pool, so I would say that art improves on nature.

On the passage of time and her work:

I now know more about what happens to my works now through the internet. I get the news items about what’s going on—of people who were at Sun Tunnels…

In reference to Solar Rotary (1995) at University of South Florida, Tampa Campus:

I love seeing my work in different seasons, with snow on them and in this case—I love seeing it with the rain.

On her process:

I didn’t know what process was. All I can say is that certain things inspire me and they live within me and they lead to action later on. It leads to fruition. You never know how it’s going to manifest.

Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art at the Peabody Essex Museum

Rebecca Belmore (born 1960), Anishinaabe; Fringe, 2008; Inkjet print on paper; 21 x 63 inches (53.3 x 160 cm); Collection of Catherine Sullivan-Kropa and William Kropa; © Rebecca Belmore, image courtesy Rebecca Belmore, photograph by Henri Robideau.

A terrific dialogue is currently unfolding in the galleries of the Peabody Essex Museum, with an exhibition that explores links between historic and contemporary Native American art. Featuring works drawn from worldwide collections, Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art, takes us on an unforgettable, celebratory journey that transcends boundaries and erases stereotypes along its path.

A concept in Native cultures, shapeshifting refers to the ability of humans changing into animals or supernatural beings and vice versa. In essence, it refers to the idea that creativity has always been part of Native cultures.

“…Native American art has always taken cultural knowledge and metaphors and refreshed them with new ideas and forms[1]” writes Curator Karen Kramer Russell in the exhibition catalog. In the past, “…museum exhibitions have focused largely on either historical or contemporary Native American art, but with very little mixing of the two.” Shapeshifting shatters the notion that all art created by Native Americans is either ethnographic or crafty in appearance.

Kent Monkman (born 1965), Cree; Théâtre de Cristal, 2007; Chandelier, plastic beads, acrylic string, cabouchons, simulated buffalo hide, and Super-8 film: Group of Seven Inches, 2005 (7:34 minutes), edition 1/3; 168 x 240 inches (diam. approx.) (426.7 x 609.6 cm); The Glenbow Museum, Alberta, Canada, purchased with funds from Historic Resource Fund, 2008, 2008.099.001; Courtesy Kent Monkman and Bruce Bailey Art Projects; © Kent Monkman, image courtesy MacKenzie Art Gallery, photograph by Don Hall.

Kent Monkman (born 1965), Cree; Théâtre de Cristal, 2007; Chandelier, plastic beads, acrylic string, cabouchons, simulated buffalo hide, and Super-8 film: Group of Seven Inches, 2005 (7:34 minutes), edition 1/3; 168 x 240 inches (diam. approx.) (426.7 x 609.6 cm); The Glenbow Museum, Alberta, Canada, purchased with funds from Historic Resource Fund, 2008, 2008.099.001; Courtesy Kent Monkman and Bruce Bailey Art Projects; © Kent Monkman, image courtesy MacKenzie Art Gallery, photograph by Don Hall.

Kent Monkman’s electrifying video installation Théâtre de Cristal opens the exhibition and sets the tone for the rest of the show. Referencing a tipi made of clear plastic beads lit by an elaborate chandelier, Monkman critiques and challenges “the dominant Euro-American ethnocentric construction of Native North America embedded in a global consciousness.[2]” Paul Chaat Smith, Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian considers Théâtre de Cristal “a work from the future about people who aren’t supposed to have one.[3]The installation is brilliant and the accompanying text should not be missed (even if you are a White European male, and you’ll know what I mean by this if you see this exhibit).

Kent Monkman (born 1965), Cree; Théâtre de Cristal, 2007; Chandelier, plastic beads, acrylic string, cabouchons, simulated buffalo hide, and Super-8 film: Group of Seven Inches, 2005 (7:34 minutes), edition 1/3; 168 x 240 inches (diam. approx.) (426.7 x 609.6 cm); The Glenbow Museum, Alberta, Canada, purchased with funds from Historic Resource Fund, 2008, 2008.099.001; Courtesy Kent Monkman and Bruce Bailey Art Projects; © Kent Monkman, image courtesy MacKenzie Art Gallery, photograph by Don Hall.

Organized thematically, many works in Shapeshifting rely on politics to convey a concept, while others explore identity, place, and cultural heritage.

Marie Watt’s Column Blanket Stories, evoke the blankets infested with smallpox and other diseases brought by Europeans and distributed to Natives across the Americas. Independent scholar Kara English notes that today, blankets are associated with beauty, honor and respect and that “these [blankets] prized items weave together an intergenerational continuum and are gifted at births, comings-of-age, graduations, marriages, naming and honoring.[4]

Marie Watt (born 1967), Seneca; Column (Blanket Stories), 2003; Wool blankets and cedar; 144 x 20 x 20 inches (365.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm); Collection of Deborah Green; © Marie Watt, image courtesy Marie Watt and PDX Contemporary Art.

Rebecca Belmore’s Fringe, a powerful and haunting photograph of a female figure references the abuse of Native women and of the land. Bob Haouzous’ Wheel of Fortune is a deliciously superb work featuring the face of Geronimo surrounded by descriptive words. This wonderful work is a call to Native people to stop hiding behind general stereotypes. And yes, the Wheel of Fortune spins just as it does in the television game.

Bob Haozous (born 1943), Chiricahua Apache; Wheel of Fortune, 2005; Steel and paint; 96 inches (diam.) (243.8 cm); Courtesy the artist; © Bob Haozous.

Shapeshifting is a provocative exhibition filled with complex ideas. It opened my eyes to a world of Native American art making not frequently discussed or exhibited outside non-Native art or anthropological museums. As far as the implications of an exhibition with many politically charged artworks, Karen Kramer Russell says “the intention is that people will have a broader and deeper understanding of Native art and culture.”

Shapeshifting captures the creative spirit and resilience of cultures that have long been repressed.  It’s a remarkable and fascinating exhibition that changed my perception of contemporary Native American art and its transformations through time. The works in this exhibition foster an enriching dialogue that should be nurtured and savored over multiple visits to the Peabody Essex Museum.

Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art is on view through April 29, 2012 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.


[1] Page 15, [2] Page 24, [3] Page 220, [4] Page 180

Anonymous Boston

Photo Courtesy of Joanna Marinova Jones

The last time I saw an exhibition that literally made me tremble was at the Institute of Contemporary Art during the Mark Bradford show (November 19, 2010 – March 13, 2011). This time around, it wasn’t Bradford that almost moved me to tears, but rather an exhibition at Fourth Wall Project on social justice and gun violence in Boston. Words could not even begin to describe the emotions I felt as I read every wall text, looked at every photograph and listened to the desperate pleas of families (a haunting audio piece was part of the show) in Anonymous Boston a multimedia exhibit that focused on life, rather than the devastating effects of gun violence.

Organized by media producer and human rights activist Joanna Marinova Jones, Anonymous Boston directly and indirectly brought to light many issues that have long been ignored by public officials, and people not directly affected by gun violence. Anonymous Boston aimed at empowering those families who have experienced devastating losses—by giving them a voice with which to tear down the derogatory comments left behind by anonymous bloggers on online news articles.

Newspaper clippings with stories on the victims made this exhibition not only interesting, but relevant on so many levels. The headlines are nothing short of sensational, they nurture the anonymous monsters that leave tactless comments that hurt victim’s families.

Fueled by the insensitive, inaccurate and superficial media coverage of violence in Boston, these anonymous bloggers further exacerbate the situation by relentlessly attacking not only grieving families, but an entire race. Their comments, some of which I have quoted above, are difficult to stomach.

It’s much easier to ignore the issue or point fingers and blame the victim’s family, rather than to take a stand to stop gun violence. It is also much easier to say “if it is not happening to me, then it’s not my problem— why should I care about all the violence that is destroying your community?”

Photo Courtesy of Joanna Marinova Jones

What happens in Boston is everyone’s responsibility. I could not help but feel mentally drained and spiritually devastated, but always remaining hopeful—as I was confronted with blatantly racist and ignorant comments left by these bloggers next to a victim’s photograph. It’s easy to hide behind a veil rather than to discuss the real underlying issues as to why these things are happening in our city.

To say that what happens in Roxbury, Dorchester or Mattapan isn’t my problem— is to be part of the problem, as a family member of one of the victims in Anonymous Boston was quoted saying.

Anonymous Boston communicated a powerful message and I sincerely hope that those who experienced it listened. Gun violence is the product of complex cultural issues. We as a culture are obsessed with guns and yet we wonder why there is so much senseless violence in this country. My only regret was not being able to experience this exhibition more than once, as I went on the second to last day before closing. 

All other uncredited images are by Anulfo Baez.

The Hermaphrodite – Aphrodite and the Gods of Love

Statuette of Aphrodite untying a sandal (Sandalbinder) Greek, East Greek, Late Hellenistic Period, 1st century B.C. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Catharine Page Perkins Fund.

The Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating the Greek goddess of love and beauty in “the first museum exhibition devoted to Aphrodite.” Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (October 26, 2011 through February 20, 2012) features approximately 160 classical works drawn primarily from the museum’s extensive (and one of the finest in the country, second only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art) collection of Greek and Roman art. The museum’s proactiveness in returning looted works to Italy has resulted in an outstanding collaboration with the Italian government noticeable in 13 important loans in the exhibition, nine of which are from Rome and Naples. The exhibition also features a Sleeping Hermaphrodite which is among these nine loans (more on this work later).

It is only natural for this exhibition to open with the birth of Aphrodite, her rising from the sea out of a shell. According to myth, the Titan Kronos castrated his father Ouranos and flung the genitals into the sea where a mixture of white foam was created, giving birth to Aphrodite.  The goddess’ ancestors, cults, beauty, marriage, and myth are also explored in depth with objects that range from perfume bottles to mirrors. Her place in the history of the female nude in Western art was the subject (for the most part) of a symposium held on November 5th, 2011 (I live tweeted the first half of the symposium, but finding those tweet may be somewhat difficult as I tweet quite often).

Not only is Aphrodite associated with beauty, love and marriage, but also with war and male potency. Aphrodite had many children, including Priapos (the well endowed god of fertility and protector of livestock) and Hermaphroditos, the two-sexed son, portrayed as a beautiful female figure with male genitals. This Sleeping Hermaphrodite is the biggest and most talked about surprise in the show. How could one not discuss its beauty?

I was somewhat surprised at people’s reactions upon seeing the other side of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite. This isn’t the first and only hermaphrodite in art history, but if you go and experience this show, you’ll understand the thrill (for lack of better word) this wonderful work ignites. Here are some examples of other hermaphrodites in art history. You decide for yourself how the hermaphrodite in the exhibition compares to these ones here, but there are many more than the three I have posted here:

Love how the light delicately shines on this hermaphrodite; the material also helps.

Hermaphrodite, Giovanni Francesco Susini (died 1646), Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Claus von Bülow, 1977. Metropolitan Museum of Art

(Reverse) Hermaphrodite, Giovanni Francesco Susini (died 1646), Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Claus von Bülow, 1977. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Possibly the most famous hermaphrodite (at the Louvre) in the history of art:

Borghese Hermaphroditus, Roman copy of Greek statue C2nd BC Altered by Bernini. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

And of course, there are also standing hermaphrodites:

Statue of Hermaphroditus, Marble, Pergamum, Hellenistic style, 3rt ct. BC. Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Photo: User Sandstein on Wikimedia Commons

The most recent out of the hermaphrodites I present here, proving that Aphrodite is a force to be reckon with.

Sleeping Hermaphrodite, 2008 – 2010, Barry X. Ball, after the Hermaphrodite Endormi (Ermafrodito Borghese). Belgian Black Marble

Sleeping Hermaphrodite, 2008 – 2010, Barry X. Ball, after the Hermaphrodite Endormi (Ermafrodito Borghese). Belgian Black Marble

Ten Thousand Waves

 

Isaac Julien, "Red Chamber Room (Ten Thousand Waves)," 2010. Endora Ultra photographs, diptych, 70.9 x 90.6 in. each. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London

Brace yourselves Bostonians, Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves is now showing at the Institute of Contemporary Art! This breathtaking video installation had its US premiere in December 2010 at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, now it’s our turn to stimulate our senses with beautiful imagery and sound. Viewers are immerse in a new form of storytelling – three narratives unfolding simultaneously on nine screens. Shot mostly in China’s incredibly diverse landscape, Ten Thousand Waves features images of lush bamboo jungles, daily life in Shanghai and panoramic views of the coast of England.

Isaac Julien, "Blue Goddess (Ten Thousand Waves)," 2010. Endura Ultra photograph, diptych, 70.87 x 94.49 in. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, New York, and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

 

Isaac Julien, "Mazu, Turning (Ten Thousand Waves)," 2010. Endura Ultra photograph. 70.87 x 94.49 in. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, New York, and Victoria Miro Gallery, London

 

Isaac Julien, "Yishan Island, Dreaming (Ten Thousand Waves)," 2010. Endura Ultra photograph, 70.87 x 94.49 in. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, New York, and Victoria Miro Gallery, London

 

Ten Thousand Waves is gorgeous to look at, mesmerizing and oh, so stylized that it reminded me of the films of Wong Kar Wai in particular In the Mood for Love as well as the films of Terrence Malick. Julien takes his viewers on a magical journey, one made even more entrancing by the appearance of Maggie Cheung as lead actress. Seriously, wasn’t she great in In the Mood for Love? Examples of stills from In the Mood for Love and The Thin Red Line:

In the Mood for Love, (2000) Wong Kar Wai

The Thin Red Line, Ben Chaplin, 1998, Terrence Malick, Director. TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Courtesy: Everett Collection

Issac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves in on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art until March 04, 2012. You’ll be mad if you miss this installation!

An Evening with Patti Smith | Patti Smith: Camera Solo

It wasn’t long ago that I was introduced to the work of Patti Smith, not as musician, but as visual artist. Using narrative form and content in song lyrics, Patti Smith pioneered the Art Rock movement in New York City. Her debut album “Horses” became an instant classic that defined a generation. It also rocked my world to say the least. Apart from her music, Patti Smith has been exploring photography since she was a teenager, but it was alongside Robert Mapplethorpe that she began to explore the medium in depth. Her most recent photographs are the subject of an exhibition at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, CT.

Patti Smith, Self-Portrait, NYC, 2003. © Patti Smith. Courtesy the artist and Robert Miller Gallery

Billed as the first large scale museum exhibit in the United States in nearly ten years, Patti Smith: Camera Solo isn’t a show of epic proportions, but rather a show of intimate moments. The exhibition highlights the relationship between Smith’s photography and her interest in poetry and literature. Approximately 60 new black-and-white silver gelatin photographs and multimedia installations created between 2002 and 2011 are exhibited.

Many of the works are small and require the viewer to make more of an effort in developing a personal relationship with these. As a whole, the exhibition is much larger than I envisioned it, as I personally think of Patti Smith as having contributed more to our culture as a musician and performer than as a visual artist. Yet, since 2002, Smith has had countless solo exhibitions in museums and galleries across the country.

Patti Smith, Robert's Slippers, 2002. © Patti Smith. Courtesy the artist and Robert Miller Gallery

Camera Solo is a deeply personal exhibition, an aspect I experienced firsthand listening to Patti Smith talk about her work at the Wadsworth. The photographs suddenly became meaningful as she discussed objects that belonged to Robert Mapplethorpe, or when she poked fun at her lack of technical skills while talking about her cameras. Those cameras are a Polaroid Land 100 and a 250 which she candidly referred to as having been “made for someone who is technically a moron.”

Gallery Talk by Patti Smith on Friday October 21st at the Wadsworth Atheneaum. Image by Diana Guay Dixon.

Smith doesn’t photograph her own things because she doesn’t have the “right camera,” she says, instead she photographs other people’s stuff. Patti Smith feels her photographs don’t need any explanation; they’re just her “sharing stuff.” That “stuff” is what curator Susan Talbott has termed “symbolic portraits” of things and people close to her heart, like Robert Mapplethorpe’s slippers which Smith says “taking a photo of Robert’s slippers is like taking a photo of Robert to me.” Her photographs are “similar to nineteenth-century amateur photographers.” Yes, some of Patti Smith’s works do come off as amateurish in technique (I’ve taken both a university level studio photography course as well as a survey course), but she obviously doesn’t have a problem with it and neither did I.

The exhibition Patti Smith: Camera Solo is on view until February 19, 2012 at the Wadsworth Athenaeum. For more information, visit: http://www.thewadsworth.org/

REVIEW: Disponible: A Kind of Mexican Show at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Hector Zamora, White Noise – Shed 6 Installation (detail), 2011. Installation originally developed for the Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand. Courtesy of the artist and XXXXX

This Fall there are two exhibitions in Boston that originated in San Francisco: Shahzia Sikander: The Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions and Disponible: A Kind of Mexican Show, both curated and co-curated respectively by Hou Hanru for the Walter and McBean Galleries in San Francisco.

Hanru is director of exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute and an internationally known writer and curator with a “reputation for staging thematic exhibitions.” The more exhibitions curated by Hanru I experience, the more I fall in love with his curatorial approach.

Disponible: A Kind of Mexican Show is a group show of eight contemporary Mexican artists that “frame two major tendencies in the current creative scene – social critique and witty design solutions – as entangled and reinforcing strategies to face the complex reality of life in modern Mexico. ” The message, although delivered with humor and irony in most of the works, lingers on with intensity and a sense of “urgency and importance.”

Manuel Rocha Iturbide, I Play The Drums With Frequency (detail), 2007–11. Drum set, sound installation. Courtesy of the artist.

With a focus on the effects of globalization on the Mexican economy, politics and society, “Disponible” is a universal kind of show. Any dense urban setting with empty billboard advertisements with the words “disponible” (“available”) printed on them, is a setting that “allows contemporary art and other experimental and creative practices such as architecture, design and music to flourish, forming one of the most original and intriguing art scenes in the global landscape.” The works in this show are poignant and reinforce the current conversations we’re having on environmental sustainability, social justice and alternative design solutions that foster a safer, healthier and better world.

Among some of my favorite works in the exhibition include Teresa Margolles’ Las Llaves de La Ciudad (The Keys to the City), a performance based installation conceived in collaboration with Antonio Hernandez Camacho, a former small business owner from Ciudad Juarez. On opening night, both Ms. Margolles and Mr. Camacho interacted with those in attendance while Mr. Camacho carved messages of hope into keys. Today, what’s left behind are Mr. Camacho’s carving tools, his desk, metal shavings on the floor and carved keys hanging on a cord. Acting as a metaphor for Ciudad Juarez, this installation also speaks to the violence that plagues the city. Today, an audio recording of the performance played throughout the installation allows for a haunting experience.

Teresa Margolles, Las Llaves de la Ciudad (detail), 2011. Installation performance. Photograph by Rafael Burillo. Courtesy of the artist.

Teresa Margolles, Las Llaves de la Ciudad (performance with Mr. Camacho), 2011. Installation performance. (iPhone) Photograph by Anulfo Baez.

Teresa Margolles, Las Llaves de la Ciudad (performance with Mr. Camacho), 2011. Installation performance. (iPhone) Photograph by Anulfo Baez.

Teresa Margolles, Las Llaves de la Ciudad (Key I had made while I interacted with Mr. Camacho), 2011. Installation performance. (iPhone) Photograph by Anulfo Baez. The message (in Spanish) I chose to be engraved into the key was "compasion" because we all need a little more compassion to save the world.

Other works rely heavily on sound and noise to emphasize the human condition. Hector Zamora’s White Noise (Part 2) an installation in its own separate gallery comments on the freedoms available in public and private spaces, while Mauricio Limon’s video Bizco Merolico Chorus examines the subcultures of Mexico City’s street vendors by asking them to repeat their sales pitches, in the process creating a universal chorus often ignored in societies all over. Disponible: A Kind of Mexican Show leaves little to be desired. It reminds us that there is much to be done in the world.

Hector Zamora, White Noise (detail). Photo Courtesy of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Hector Zamora, White Noise (detail), 2011. Photo Courtesy of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Mauricio Limón, Bizco Merolico Chorus, 2006. Video still, duration: 2 minutes, 22 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Galería Hilario Galguera, Mexico City, Mexico.

Disponible: A Kind of a Mexican Show is on view through November 19, 2011 and was co-curated by Hou Hanru and Guillermo Santamarina. On October 18, 2011 there will be a screening of Natalia Almada’s film El General at the Museum of Fine Arts.

*unless linked to a direct source of reference, quotes were taken from the exhibition brochure.

Shahzia Sikander: The Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions

The Last Post, 2010 (still); HD video animation; 10 min. Courtesy of the Artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Source: ArtPractical.com

A fantastic exhibition curated by Hou Hanru for the Walter and McBean Galleries at the San Francisco Art Institute is currently up at MassArt. Shahzia Sikander: The Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions (September 19 – November 26) gathers five of Sikander’s most recent animated videos along with paintings and drawings to create an explosion of sumptuous imagery, color and sound. I loved this exhibition so much I cannot wait to return to the gallery and see each video again and again.

With a BFA from the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Shahzia Sikander explores the British colonialism of the subcontinent, the British opium trade with China, military rhetoric, news media, identity and other contemporary issues through an aesthetics that draws primarily from Indo-Persian miniature paintings.  This exhibition is a feast for the senses and is not to be missed. This show has received glowing reviews all across the board; won’t you go see it for yourself? It’s TERRIFIC!

There will be an artist talk on Monday October 3, 5:30PM in the tower auditorium and an opening reception at 6:30PM in the Bakalar Gallery. A musical performance by Du Yun (her collaboration with Sikander can be seen in “Gossamer” also in the exhibition) is scheduled for 7:00PM.

In Retrospect…

I do not write about every show I see, but I do tweet about them (@evolvingcritic). This summer I have seen some outstanding and some not so outstanding shows, here I go:

Cocktail Culture: Ritual and Invention in American Culture, 1920-1980 at the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. I briefly drooled over this show earlier this summer, but I loved it so much I went to see it again with a friend. I thought it was well researched and the exhibition design by Nader Terahni was truly an artwork in it of itself. If you missed this show, you missed out on some amazing gowns, jewelry, shoes, barware and so much more. RISD published an exhibition catalog which is on my list of books to get.

MassArt had a really great show titled Flourish: Alumni Works on Paper. Sorry, I can’t remember any names, but I did tweet about those works that were interesting.

I thought The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl at the ICA was good. There were some standout pieces by Xaviera Simmons, Carrie Mae Weems, Christian Marclay and David McConnell, but not everything in it was really outstanding.

Catherine Opie: Empty and Full is just that, empty and full. For the most part, I felt like I was in a Roni Horn exhibition with Catherine Opie in the center portion of the gallery. There’s a disconnection between Opie’s landscape images and her images of community and politics. I loved her images depicting sunsets and sunrises, but other than this, the exhibition is empty.

I was extremely disappointed and sad when I saw Eva Hesse: Studioworks at the ICA. Four large cases and a table surrounded by mostly empty white walls display “experiments” by Hesse. Hesse was an amazing and influential artist, but this show doesn’t really do much. It’s sad and It’s boring. This show had been traveling for a long time, and it finally made it to Boston. Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe sums it up nicely.

Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass. It only took me less than 10 minutes to walk through the entire exhibition. Dale has definitely carved out a name for himself in the glass world, but this stuff isn’t fine art. And for the record, I think craft is underappreciated and frowned upon in the art world, but there are museums out there dedicated to works like these. He’s a crowd pleaser and those who went to see this show at the MFA loved it. The MFA is asking people to donate money to purchase the giant lime-green icicle tower for their permanent collection. That was one excellent move on behalf of the MFA, in my honest opinion.

The one exhibition that truly stole my heart this summer was Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I waited an hour just to get in line and another 3 hours in line to see the exhibition. The gallery was so crowded it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk through it. All that said and done, it was one of the most thrilling, moving and memorable exhibitions I have seen this year. McQueen’s designs are breathtaking and the Metropolitan Museum elevated his craft through heart pounding displays, haunting musical scores, seductive lighting and special effects like a hologram of Kate Moss. It was as dramatic as McQueen’s runway shows were known to be. I couldn’t forgive myself, ever, had I missed this exhibition in person but I WILL NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO SEE AN EXHIBITION EVER AGAIN.

I also caught Vienna 1900: Style and Identity at Neue Galerie. I thought it was a very fascinating exhibition and had I also seen it when it first opened, I would have gone back to see it again and again. Otto Wagner’s furniture, Egon Schiele’s drawings and Klimt’s portraits stole the show for me.

Summer is almost over, but I have yet to see the Man Ray/Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism as well as Painting the American Vision both at the Peabody Essex Museum. I’m looking forward to Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture, Degas and the Nude both at the MFA this Fall. I need to head to the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford to check out the Matrix 162 Shaun Gladwell as well as their outstanding collection of American Art. The Portsmouth Museum of Art has an exhibition of street murals which has been driving those who live in Portsmouth crazy, this show is calling my name.

Any must see shows before the summer ends?

Image: Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010). Dress, autumn/winter 2010–11. Courtesy of Alexander McQueen. Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

Review: Close Distance

Raul Gonzalez, Wake up Call (On My Last Nerve), 2011 | Ink and Bic pen, 45 by 65 inches acrylic. Courtesy the artist and Carroll & Sons Gallery, Boston.

I may be too young to remember when was the last time Boston experienced an exhibition that featured the work of Latino artists living in this city or its surrounding towns. I may also be too young to remember Grupo Ñ, an experimental but now dissolved Latino art collective from the 1980’s that became an instrumental force in Boston’s underground art scene.

“Close Distance,” at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery is the first exhibition in nearly thirty years featuring the works of six emerging Boston area Latino artists “practicing across diverse media and national borders.” Curated by Liz Munsell, a local curator with DiscordiaFilms and a Curatorial Research Associate at the Museum of Fine Arts, “Close Distance” is engaging, provoking and riveting.

The exhibition is as culturally diverse and distinct as are the artistic vocabularies presented. From the site specific work of Daniela Rivera, a 2010 Foster Prize finalist to Raul Gonzalez III and others; religion, identity, pop culture, politics, and institutional oppression are all explored, commented upon and richly juxtaposed throughout the gallery and within individual works.

Vela Phelan, Witch Doctor Wrestlers, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.

Vela Phelan’s site specific performance-installation Deviant Idols in the Black Divine, a work  modeled after a temple and composed of “spiritual idols for a modern world” struck a chord with me. A performance artist, Mr. Phelan’s installation opened up a world of memories growing up in the Dominican Republic. Having experienced the mysticism and the commodization of Santeria and Voodoo practices on a personal level, this installation moved me in ways only the pulsating beats of African drums at a palo ceremony have.

Because of the spiritual relationship that evolves between the viewer and the artist, Mr. Phelan has decided to carry out a 5-part performance that will take place almost every Thursday at Mills Gallery. “What will happen is a bit unknown to me (and to him),” says curator Liz Munsell “but it will be a journey that takes us outside the gallery walls – physically and metaphysically.”

Referencing minimalism and the literal collapse of institutional spaces, Daniela Rivera’s Fatiga material allows for an exhilirating experience as juxtaposed with the dexterous, signature “self-taught” style drawings of Raul Gonzalez.

Anabel Vazquez Rodriguez, Visión Doble, Super 8. 2011. Film. Courtesy of the artist.

In the film Visión Doble (Double Vision), multimedia artist Anabel Vazquez Rodriguez juxtaposes paradise-like images of Puerto Rico with political demonstrations held in and around Boston’s Copley Square. The film is an autobiographical journey that transcends borders and cultural boundaries.

While Boston may not have a tightly knit Latino arts collective like New York, Los Angeles and Miami do, “Close Distance” gathers together local Boston artists who for the most part had known each other prior to this exhibition at Mills Gallery. “Because these artists are all floating in the same “alternative” spaces or artist institutions as other Bostonians,” says Ms. Munsell, “I would say that they have much common, including language and culture, that brings them together.”

With “Close Distance, I hoped to bring them together a bit more” says Ms. Munsell, whose approach to curating is not solely interesting on a formal or aesthetic level – but has social context or a theoretical framework as its backdrop. “I can already see that has happened in a major way, but the show has just begun!” she added. “Close Distance” is rich in talent and abundant in excellent work.

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Artist and Curator Talk Wednesday, August 3 | 6 – 9pm
Performance with Artists Yassy Goldie and Bru Jø Wednesday, August 17 | 6 – 8pm
These artists’ work touches on the construction of cultural identity. Their guerrilla tactics have been known to simultaneously intrigue and disorient audiences.

Vela Phelan explores the duality “ego/spirituality” through objects and actions found in his performance-installation Deviant Idols of The Black Devine. In his words “a Quest to expand the Shadow my EGO CASTS,” this five-part performance will take place at Mills Gallery Thursdays July 21 & 28, August 11 & 25 at 7pm, and as part of the Artist/Curator talk on Wednesday, Aug 3rd.

Review: Grace and Glamour: 1930’s Fashion at the American Textile History Museum

Courtesy of the American Textile History Museum.

Grace and Glamour: 1930’s Fashion at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, tells the story of the tumultuous Thirties through an exhibition of thirty-five dresses, accessories and sample fabric pattern books. The dresses are primarily drawn from the Peggy Cone Collection at the museum with a few loans from Lasell College.

Three dresses from the Twenties set the stage for the spectacle that was to become the Thirties. Their boxy outlines embody the masculine-like fashion tendencies of the times. These dresses obscured female curves and fashion details that defined the 1930’s.

The Thirties were economically scarred by the stock market crash of 1929, but as the exhibition hints at, the decade was also marked by architectural and technological innovations. The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and the 1939 New York World’s Fair brought with them new ideas and cross-cultural exchanges that changed the era. The spirit and aspirations of the times are reflected in the art, architecture and industrial design produced.

The Art Deco and Streamline Moderne gave America masterpieces such as the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center in New York City. Popular in cities like Miami, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma, Art Deco embraced the machine, and gave birth to bold geometric patterns and linear symmetry in art, architecture, fashion and industrial design. Adrian Adolph Greenberg, Nina Ricci, Elsa Schiaparelli and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel became influential fashion designers of the time. Schiaparelli commissioned artists such as Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometti, and Jean Cocteau to design fabric and accessories that promoted broad shoulders and accentuated small waistlines.

Courtesy of the American Textile History Museum.

The unflattering boyish look of the Twenties was abandoned for a more form fitting and feminine silhouette.  The introduction of man-made fabrics like rayon, acetate and tricot allowed designers and manufacturers to produce inexpensive garments that felt and appeared luxurious.

While the objects in the exhibition provide enough context to understand the times, many references to architecture and film are made throughout, but seldom acted upon. Connecting architectural ideas with fashion and film produced in the Thirties would have allowed for a jazzier thrilling experience.

Grace and Glamour: 1930’s Fashion is best experienced clockwise as the dresses are organized chronologically, tracing the development of fashion in the Thirties and hinting at challenges that were to plague the following decade. The exhibition closes on October 16, 2011.

Review: Laila Rahman: New Paintings and Etchings

Laila Rahman: New Paintings and Etchings at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts’ BAG Gallery is the culmination of artist’s residency at the school. Rahman, born in Lahore, Pakistan is the first visiting Fulbright scholar at SMFA and explores religion and myth within contemporary society through gut-wrenching imagery and symbolism.

The exhibition features 22 works which investigate “manipulation, through the exercise of power of strength, of evil [and] of temptation.” The story of Creation, our idea of Heaven and Hell, and the down fall of Pride are re-imagined into provocative and at times unbearable images.

The anguish projected though No Words Written, 2010, Fallen Angel, 2011, Was it Knowledge, Apples or Even Pears?, 2010 is in-escapable. Our imagination of what Heaven and Hell would feel and look like is challenged through the inclusion of mutilated bodies juxtaposed with the light and at times seductive colors on the canvas.

The works completed by Rahman during her residency are all about triggering the viewer’s emotions. The hallway where these works are shown limit the viewer from experiencing the same “journey from within” the artist describes in her statement. These new paintings and etchings are powerful, but the constant walking back and forth by school’s employees and students detract from the works’ potential impact on the viewer.

Laila Rahman: New Paintings and Etchings at the BAG Gallery, 230 The Fenway, Boston is on view until June 30, 2011.

IMAGE: Laila Rahman, Armoured Memories, 2011. Oil and graphite on canvas. 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Review: Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens

Photograph courtesy of the artist / David Zwirner, New York. Paradox of Praxis, still from Paradox of Praxis 1, 1997, video, 5

Expecting to encounter sculpture in an exhibition titled Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens, is expecting to be disappointed. When hearing the word sculpture, it is safe to assume that most of us immediately become concern with the technical and aesthetic qualities that are traditionally associated with sculpture. We question whether the sculpture is additive or subtractive, or whether it forms part of a building or it’s a relief panel. In the Francis Alÿs exhibition at the Davis Museum, a viewer’s notion of what sculpture is or should be, is challenged by both the artist and curator.

Born in 1959 in Antwerp, Belgium and having studied architecture and urbanism in Europe before settling in Mexico City’s historic quarters, Francis Alÿs’ work deal with the surrounding physical and social tensions of this dense Latin American city. There are no sculptures to be found in this exhibition at the Davis Museum or in the artist’s body of work, instead a viewer finds works consisting of performances and their video documentation, works; that capture the “moment” where the beginnings of sculpture are articulated.

In the video Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Doing Something Leads to Nothing), 1997 documents over eight hours edited to five minutes of Alÿs pushing an enormous block of ice around Mexico City, leaving only a small puddle at the end of the day. Paradox of Praxis 1 creates a three dimensional, sculpture like experience by documenting the action of pushing a block of ice. Throughout the performance, Alÿs casts shadows in his path and “pushes sculpture to transparent limits, finally consummated in the imagination.”[1]

Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens features videos, slide projections, drawings and the recently acquired The Sign Painters Series Cityscape, a triptych depicting an urban scene stripped away from any recognizable landmarks. The exhibition primarily takes place in one small gallery with videos and slides projected on three walls. In addition to these, 15 drawings on vellum and 2 color transparencies of the historic quarters are displayed on a light table.

The exhibition at the Davis Museum marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in the New England region and anticipates a major career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City this May. Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens is on view at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College until June 5th, 2011.


[1] Lorna Scott Fox, “Where Sculpture Happens” in Francis Alys: A Story of Deception (London, Tate Modern) 196.

Untitled for Ai Weiwei

Installed on the grounds of the Northwest Labs at Harvard University, Ai Weiwei’s Untitled is an extremely powerful, bone chilling reminder of life’s most excruciating moments. As one of China’s best known contemporary artists, the story of Ai Weiwei appears to have been excerpted from a novel. Having spent 20 years of his life in internal exile with his family, is only part of the Ai’s inspiring story. A story that continues to unfold to this day.

Ai Weiwei is one of three artists featured in the exhibition The Divine Comedy, curated by Sanford Kwinter of the Graduate School of Design. The exhibition seeks to explore the “emerging domain of experimental spatial practice where the concerns of art, design, and activism are powerfully converging today.”

The work Untitled comprises of 5,335 children backpacks, each symbolizing a child killed in the May 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake. Ai Weiwei organized a “Citizen’s Investigation” to cover 150 “tofu construction” schools in 74 towns and gathered the names of those children killed, names that were covered up by Chinese government authorities. Untitled becomes incredibly more profound with the accompanying sound piece Remembrance, a work that recites the names of the 5,335 children killed. It’s an overwhelmingly emotional piece, too emotional to even begin to comprehend the number of children’s lives taken away by the earthquake. Those who have an opportunity to experience Untitled are free to do so while the artist behind the work has suddenly disappeared. “I have to always to ask myself, ‘How long can I last?’ if I’m in extreme conditions such as jail” said Ai Weiwei in an interview with Dan Rather.

On April 3rd, Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing Airport and his papers and computer were seized from his studio. He is believed to be in government detention camp.

Please join me, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other institutions and people who have already signed the petition to release Ai Weiwei.


Three Exhibitions Not to Be Missed in Boston

William Kentridge, Rumours & Impossibilities, 2010, Screenprint. Image: Boston University Art Gallery

There are three exhibitions I’d love for you to see and if you miss them, then you’re missing out on life.  The first one is at the Boston University Stone Art Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Avenue. Three Artists from The Caversham Press: Deborah Bell, Robert Hodgins, and William Kentridge ( February 8 – March 27, 2011). It features the works of three world renowned South African artists and their impact at The Caversham Press.

The second one is in conjunction with the wonderful Bell, Hodgins and Kentridge exhibit, and is at the 808 Art Gallery. The massive gallery is entirely devoted to South Africa: Artists, Prints, Community, Twenty Five Years at The Caversham Press, an expansive printmaking exhibition that traces the development of the Caversham Press through the incredibly diverse prints produced by the artists in residence at Caversham. If you go see both exhibits in one day (they are practically across the street from one another), allow sufficient time to see the works in the 808 Gallery, there are many, many prints on display.

If you MUST absolutely miss the other two exhibitions and only have time to see one, I would definitely recommend that you see Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection (February 26 – June 19, 2011) at the Peabody Essex Museum. I personally think this exhibition is very well done, refreshing, and so much fun! Bring a magnifying glass so that you can see all the breathtaking details in the paintings (the museum provides magnifying glasses, but there aren’t enough to go around).

Still Life with Glasses and Tobacco, 1633 Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680), Oil on panel, 20 x 29 ¾ inches (50.8 x 75.6 cm), The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection, Image courtesy Peabody Essex Museum.

Jennifer Steinkamp will make you smile

Have you ever gone to a museum or gallery and seen a work that just made you smile? I recently went to see a show that did just that, in fact, I was even smiling at strangers on the subway….in Boston (this never happens, EVER)!

Astatic|February 1 – March 05, 2011| Bakalar and Paine Gallery|MassArt highlights the role of animation in contemporary art practice. Lately, I’ve been falling in love with many things and artists, this time, I’ve fallen for Jennifer Steinkamp. Steinakamp’s works explore ideas about architectural space, motion, and perception. Dance Hall Girl 5-Daisy at MassArt is way cool! Check this show out if you’re in Boston!

See some cool examples of Jennifer Steinkamp’s works posted here. If I haven’t convinced you to see the show or even check out Jennifer’s website, do a Youtube search, tons of Steinkamp’s installation videos there.

This first video is an introduction to Steinkamp’s works, she makes an appearance as well.

Go See this: Women Pop Artists

Dorothy Iannone (American, born 1933) I Love to Beat You, 1969-70. Acrylic on linen mounted on canvas, Courtesy of the Anton Kern Gallery, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris

Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968 | Tufts University Art Gallery |January 27 – April 03, 2010

Rosalyn Drexler (American, born 1926) Love and Violence, 1963, Acryic, oil and paper on canvas, The Pace Gallery, New York

This is a much needed exhibition in the art world. One hears “Pop Art” and Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton and other men come to mind. What some of us may not know is that WOMEN were not only part of this movement, but were also highly influential. In the cannon of art history, women Pop Art artists have been ignored and forgotten until now. New scholarship by some of the nation’s leading art historians has brought the names and works of numerous women Pop Art artists to light. I found this exhibition thought provoking and enlightening because I was exposed to incredible artists of the Pop Art movement that I was not aware of for the most part.

The first part of the exhibition addresses male fantasies about women as sex objects with Marjorie Strider’s Triptych II (Beach Girl), 1963 taking the prize for the most eye catching work.

The second part of the exhibition address imagery of political and sexual violence against women and how women Pop artists depicted and challenged the status quo. Dorothy Iannone’s I Love to Beat You, 1969-70 has been haunting me in my sleep since I saw the exhibition. I can’t get enough of it.

The third part of this exhibition addresses the male stereotypes and images of masculinity. It features among other works, Marisol’s fabulous John Wayne, 1963 and Mara McAfee Marvelous Modern Mechanical Men, 1963.

The next two sections explore Pop Art strategies and new materials and new combinations. I learned a great deal about the women represented in this exhibition and now I’ve fallen in love with Rosalyn Drexler, Chryssa, May Wilson, Idelle Weber, Martha Rosler (LOVE HER!!!), and Yayoi Kusama!

I guess I’ll be busy for the next few months learning more about the lives and works of these amazing women Pop Art artists. In the meantime, go see this show, you’ll love it. I’d love to know what you think of these images or of the show in particular. Go see the show and leave your comment or tweet me.

Martha Rosler (American, born 1943) First Lady (Pat Nixon), 1967-72, photomontage, collection of the artist, courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Get Pissed Off!

Contemporary art is hard to swallow. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve seen many works that have managed to piss me off and I’ve loved it. I loved it because the work was successful in stirring some sort of emotion out of me and for making me think out of the box. Roni Horn’s “Paired Gold Mats, for Ross and Felix,” 1994-95, pissed me off so much I didn’t even want to see the exhibition a second time. The more I read about the work, the more I understood what it meant and how powerful it was for Horn and those who experienced it. The next time you walk into a gallery and see gold sheets you can buy in an art store or a sales receipt from Target or H&M labeled as art, think twice before speaking and calling it a joke. I won’t tell you all the reasons why a sales receipt may be considered art, but it is because the artist has declared it so and because it has been re-contextualized and presented to us with a different meaning.

Gabriel Kuri: Nobody needs to know the price of your Saab (February 02 – July 4, 2011) at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston is a pretty good show. I haven’t been thrilled with the shows in the east gallery, but this one gives us more to talk about than tattoos and objectified women (Dr. Lakra). This is the kind of show that will piss someone off or have people asking the gallery guards “do you get this?” at the sight of plastic grocery bags hanging from the ceiling or grass growing on a stack of newspapers. I LOVE IT!

I laughed many times and I stopped to question what I was looking at. I laughed. And laughed again and again, so much that one of the gallery guards said to me “aren’t they fun?” pointing to “Thank You Clouds” hanging from the ceiling. They are fun and I get this stuff (of course, it took me a while to appreciate most contemporary art)!

The show is organized by Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston and is accompanied by a full exhibition catalog. Go see it and if you are one of those contemporary art skeptics, this may just piss you off, which is great because it will get you talking about it and we all LOVE to talk about art. Don’t we?

Go See This!

Every once in a while, you see an exhibition that sticks with you long after seeing it. In spite of being sick, I ventured out to First Fridays and came across a few shows that are worthy of being seen, including a show by one of my favorite video artists.

First up, this show ends soon, so soon that I didn’t really get to share it with people through the blog or on twitter, but I love Denise Marika’s works. I vividly remember an exhibition of hers at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum a few years back, it just gets better and better and better.

Denise Marika |January 7th – February 8th, 2011| Howard Yezerski Gallery

Effaced 1 2010 Video Still, © Denise Marika (Installation View)

Her work is gorgeous, powerful and breathtaking. I love video art and Denise Marika definitely stands out! Sometimes, I wish I’d become a video artist myself.

Jack Schneider|post|February 4-March 19, 2011|Anthony Greaney

BELIEVE (Board), 2010, Watercolor on paper, enamel, push pins and wood panel, 46 x 16 1/2 inches

I can go 100 times to see this Jack Schneider exhibition at Anthony Greaney Gallery and not get bored! I love it and I wish there were more shows like this in Boston. We’re getting there, slowly, but surely, (I think)! Go see this, you have until March 19th, 2011.

Lastly, the other exhibition I thought was interesting is at Carroll and Sons Gallery.

Sheila Pepe|Common Sense and Other Things|January 5th – February 19th|Carroll and Sons

Common Sense in Boston, 2011, Installation View 2, Rope, shoelaces and crocheted yarn, Interactive: work completed by viewers unraveling and re- using. Photo Carroll and Sons Gallery

Sheila Pepe is an internationally known, self-identified feminist artist whose work is held in a number of private and public collections including The Rose Art Museum, The Harvard University Art Museums, and others. The cool thing about this installation at Carroll and Sons is that you as the viewer get to finish it, so if you are a decent knitter head over to the South End and enjoy this show. Well, you don’t even have to knit to see and participate in this installation.

more to come soon..