Tagged: decordova

Boston area photo roundup

It’s an incredible time for Boston photo fans. I’ll never blog it all properly, but here’s a passel of updates on photography stuff of the recent past, present and near future.

The DeCordova (sculpture park and) Museum has three (three!) photography shows up right now: a solo exhibition by Lalla Essaydi, a wonderful collection of Jules Aarons‘ work, and an array of portfolios curated by ace photographologist Leslie K. Brown.

The Photographic Resource Center just opened an exhibition of the winners of the Leopold Godowsky, Jr. Color Photography Awards, named in honor of a co-inventor of the recently canceled Kodachrome film.

Also at the PRC, the Fall photography lecture series continues next week with Roger Ballen.  Ballen follows Keith Carter, who last week delivered a charming lecture that conveyed and illustrated “seven mantras” for creativity and life.  Carter observed, “The search for beauty is huge in peoples’ lives. Not so large in graduate schools.” It reminded me of both Arno Minkkinen’s bus station and Andrea Robbins and Max Becher’s travel philosophy, both observed at past PRC lectures.

Gallery Kayafas is showing the work of Caleb Charland right now.  Charland makes beautiful prints that play with concepts from physics using elemental substances like water, ice, fire, and oil. The work reminds me a bit of that of John Chervinsky, whom I first met at the PRC satellite gallery at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics.

Continuing a line from Charland through Chervinsky, we can’t help but arrive at the MIT Museum’s new Harold “Doc” Edgerton Digital Collections, opening this weekend.

And lastly for the moment but surely not leastly, next week, the MFA opens an exhibit of Harry Callahan’s photographs.

North Station to North Station in 50 years

I set out last week from North Station, taking the commuter rail with legions of downtown office-workers headed home to the suburbs like Don Draper.  But wasn’t headed for scotch and family, I was taking my first car-free trip to the DeCordova museum for the opening of three new shows.

When I arrived at the museum an hour later, I found myself looking at where I started, fifty years ago.

That’s North Station in the ’40s, photographed by Jules Aarons, part of an exhibition at DeCordova called “In the Jewish Neighborhoods” consisting of pictures of Boston’s North and West ends as well as Paris and New York in the 1940s.  The green line trolley is just about the only thing recognizable in this picture now, even though the tracks have been sunk underground and North Station has been subsumed (literally) in the TD BankNorth Garden.

Grazing and gazing on Newbury street

Last week the Young Members of DeCordova (YMOD) massed on Newbury street for a gallery walk.  Both L and Professor M joined me and up to 75 other YMODers for a tour of nine Newbury street galleries.  Honestly, we managed to visit only eight of them, and I’ll write about even fewer here, but it was a grand night out by all accounts.

Joseph Barbieri, Another Day, Another Dollar, at Gallery NAGAAt Gallery NAGA we saw Joseph Barbieri’s “New Ducks and Scenic Scenes” and got a great kick out of the ducks, especially the artist themed ones such as “Rich Artist” and “Another Day Another Dollar” Barbieri’s landscapes (of Italy, I think) were pretty enough but lacked a certain duck content, although one of the trees did look a bit like a chicken in silhouette.

At the Arden Gallery M was transfixed by the translucent rubber sculpture of Niho Kozuru in the front window and we all enjoyed Bob Jackson’s Dogs Playing Poker in the back room, furthering in the rubber theme.  My favorite was the one with a cigar in its mouth.

The Nielsen Gallery mounted a handful of different artists’ works, including Forrest Bees, Porfirio DiDonna and Martin Ramirez.  Ramirez’s work was very reminiscent of that of Adolf Wolfli, and apparently both were institutionalized much of their lives and drew with what meager supplies were made available to them by guards and doctors.

Finally, (well, it wasn’t the last place we visited, but it’s the last one I’m writing about today), at Barbara Krakow Gallery we saw Stephen Prina’s show, The Way He Always Wanted It, which was just installed and we could still smell the paint on the rolling shades hung from the gallery ceiling.  In addition to the blinds (which we were told had come with chains that were too short but the new, longer chains would be installed in time for the opening the next day), Prina also showed Untitled/Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Paintings of Manet, illustrated as a rectangle at the scale of 1mm=11.39cm for each of Manet’s 556 paintings, and larger ink on paper representations of three.  The Harvard Film Archive is showing two of Prina’s films in conjunction with this show.

In a back room I spied an excellent Liliana Porter piece, Forced Labor.

Galleries are a lot like tiny museums, but they are also a lot different.  Comparing this free evening to an afternoon at someplace like the ICA certainly makes one think.  I’ve only mentioned four of the nine YMOD destinations, which are only a fraction of the total Newbury Street galleries, themselves only a part of all the galleries in town.  I encourage you to get out there and see what there is to see.

Drawn to thirds at DeCordova sculpture park

I woke up early Sunday hoping to catch one more day of decent weather this Fall and headed out to the DeCordova museum’s sculpture park, which is open dawn till dusk even when the museum is not.  (and there’s no charge to enter the park when the museum is closed) Last year around this time, I took a ramble on a cloudless sunny day with great foliage still on the trees and took lots of photos looking upwards.  This year, I was a week or two too late for foliage, and it was rather overcast and soggy.  So I turned my gaze downward and found some patterns and colors of interest.

This is a first for me, embedding a flickr sideshow.  The fades work to emphasize the thirds.  I like that you can change the size and the aspect ratio of the flash embed.  Obviously, mine is square. If you click through to my flickr stream, understand that it’s more storage space than gallery for me.  Only the photos on this blog are officially endorsed by me for viewing.  Please remember that both my photos on this blog and those on flickr are protected by copyright.

I know, I didn’t photograph any of the wonderful sculptures in the park.  I cetainly did enjoy them, but you should go see them for yourselves.  For the purposes of this post, I took pleasure in a quiet walk and noticing patterns in the built and natural environments.

YMOD does SoWa

I visited the hip South of Washington Street (SoWa) arts district Accompanied by some good people from the DeCordova and gallery buddy L for the YMOD gallery walk.  There was a similar event on Newbury Street in the Spring.

We began at the 450 Harrison at Thayer Street complex with Gallery Kayafas, Bromfield Gallery, Kingston Gallery, OHT Gallery, Samson Projects, Soprafina Gallery and Steven Zevitas Gallery.  The Thayer Street alley itself was decorated with some timely guerrilla art.

Nearby were also the Laconia Gallery and Boston Sculptors Gallery, and the crew wound up the evening at Rocca for some snacks and drinks.

It would take several posts to describe everything I saw, but I’ll devote some extra space to the work on view at Gallery Kayfas because Arlette and Gus were such gracious hosts.  Kayafas has just moved upstairs from their prior location and approximately doubled their exhibition space.  They have three shows running now: Robert Knight, Bruce Myren, and “Ahh, Italy,” a group show of images of Bella Italia.

Knight, whose current body of work, “My Boat is So Small” investigates the spaces we inhabit and the stuff we keep there, was good enough to give a brief gallery talk and answer some questions.  He photographs people’s homes and is always looking for subjects, so get in touch.

Bruce Myren showed a completely new body of work, The View Home, as well as a trio of tripychs from his markers series.  The View Home shows each of Myren’s residences photographed at an angle directed at his current home, along with the duration of his habitation and the bearing and distance.

In the interest of disclosure, you should know that Bruce is a friend of mine and my tonsorial inspiration.  He also has an upcoming solo show at the Danforth Museum in Framingham where you can see his Markers:Memory work.

The small show of photos of Italy included classic images by Mario Giacamelli, a set of 1891 photogravures of Venice, and more contemporary work from the likes of Nick Nixon and Eric Lewandowski.

Also of note, Rose Olsen’s subtle translucent geometries on wood panels called Just Colors No Curves at Kingston, and Randy Garber’s What You Already Know – prints with intricate verbal and typographic themes – at Bromfield.

We ended the evening with drinks and appetizers at Rocca, a stylish italian place next to the galleries.  Despite a minor mixup on what was vegetarian and what was not, we filled up on tasty finger foods in the engaging company of the other gallery walkers.  Plus, I must give kudos to the alert valet who recognized me coming out of the restaurant and fetched my car without even asking for the ticket.  Wow.

Young artsy types convene in Boston

Once again, I’m in danger of falling seriously behind on posting about events that I’ve attended or noted, so I’m going to get proactive and blog about some events that are upcoming and maybe drum up a few more attendees.  Perhaps I’ll see you there.

First up, next Thursday, October 16, is the Photographic Resource Center’s Young Professionals kickoff event, a cocktail hour and informal gallery talk focused on the beginning or thinking about becoming beginning photo collector.   It’s $10 and you can sign up by getting in touch with Cate at the PRC.  I’ve seen the PRC auction preview exhibition, and I can tell you it’s spectacular.

You’ll have just a week to recover from that and then it’s time for the DeCordova Museum’s Young Members of DeCordova (YMOD) Gallery walk around the South End on October 23.  It’s also $10 ($15 if you’re not a member of the museum) and you can sign up by getting in touch with Joanna at the DeCordova.

YMOD is a more established group with a good lineup of events planned (I attended a great one back in May), while the PRC’s group is just getting off the ground.  It’s a good thing that we don’t have to choose.

Drawn to Detail at the DeCordova

Clearly I’m a bit behind on the art writeups here. I was at the opening for the DeCordova’s drawing show, “Drawn to Detail” with erstwhile museum buddy L some weeks ago. As usual, the opening was way too crowded to really see the work, but I did run into some nice art scene folks and even some of the artists.  Oddly, I was mistaken for one of them twice. I came back a few days later to have a quieter look at the work and also to pick up the catalog, something I seldom do. The show is still up and I suggest you get over there and have a look right away.  The sculpture garden is exceptionally beautiful in fall, too.

Drawn to Detail is comprised of works by more than 20 artists, each working in a medium that could be called drawing. Some are more clearly making marks on paper with ink, and some are doing things that are less traditionally categorized. All are working in highly detailed, often repetitive, possibly compulsive and sometimes conceptual modes.  I won’t try to discuss every artist in the show, but here are a few that caught my fancy.

Martha Lewis‘ work is less obsessive and repetitive than that of some of her gallery-mates, but it’s no less interesting. She draws on the visual language of floor plans, circuit diagrams, mechanical and engineering schematics and more to create collage-like works that echo Wright and Mondrian with a touch of futurism and machine-age constructivism.

Tadashi Moriyama‘s work reminds me of that of Adolf Wolfli (a poster child for “art of the insane” who was institutionalized most of his life) in its naivety and also its apocalyptic incantory repetition. I wonder if Moriyama is channeling such images consciously or simply conducting his subconscious directly onto the paper.

Andrea Sulzer showed two wall-sized drawings, each about 8 feet square and simply pinned to the walls unglazed and unframed. It was a bit unnerving to be so close to the naked paper and ink, but that’s the best way to experience a drawing, isn’t it? Sulzer’s work looks like a big abstraction from a distance, but as you get closer and let the drawing fill your visual field, you start to see bits of figurative elements inside the sweeping compositions.

Martin Wilner makes long accordion sketchbooks that capture new york city subway rides in a dense mass of talk bubbles and limbs. Far more figurative than most of the rest of the show, Wilner’s drawings do a great job of conveying a particular experience

Daniel Zeller‘s work is like the organic foil to Martha Lewis’ harder-edged scientific imagery. Zeller makes images that are inspired by weather maps, anatomical illustration, microscopy and elevation maps. They look like living organisms somehow captured up close or maps of hidden attributes like the migration patters of unseen insects or the flow of unknown currents through terrain.

Looking at the show made me think of how people once classified as insane and locked away are better understood and integrated into society today. Asperger syndrome and autism are all over the mainstream media, the idea of the “idiot savant” is discredited but our appreciation for people who process the world very differently is much greater.  Popular television characters have all kinds of once-shadowy conditions, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.  I don’t mean to say there’s something wrong with any of the artists in this show, but simply that the idea of what behavior gets classified as “something wrong with” isn’t what it used to be, and that’s probably good.  Artists whose work engages with these themes no longer has to get lumped with “outsider art” or “art of the insane.”  Judge for yourself.  Get over to Lincoln right away.

And if you can’t get to Lincoln, look into the DeCordova’s YMOD group‘s SoWa Art Walk on October 23.

Autumn art auction season

You know you have a problem when you go shopping for something when you have recently purchased examples of that same thing sitting around your house, unopened.  Well, maybe not in the case of food.  But in the case of art, I think I might have this problem.   Last year around this time I blogged about the photo auction season.  I also bought a couple of things, and not all of them have made it into rotation on my walls.  And it’s that time of year again, and I’m making a shopping list.

Last week it was Skinner’s auction of fine wines.  I didn’t get it together to go, and I hope I can find the sale prices online somewhere.  Morbid curiosity, I think.  The $12 screw-cap Bordeaux should fill my needs for now.

This weekend, it’s The DeCordova Museum’s annual benefit and auction.  I’ve never been to this one, and it looks like I’ll miss it again this weekend, but I’ve been having great times at the DeCordova lately so will pay more attention next year.

Coming up on October 11 is The Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Benefit Gala and 30th annual benefit auction.  For the second year in a row, they’re cutting the format back to a smaller sale of much higher-quality work.  I might be priced out, but I’m going anyway.  last year, I scored a beautiful Keith Carter print.

Just two weeks after that, on the 25th – not much time for budget relief – is The Photographic Resource Center’s annual benefit auction.  With almost 200 works in total and 3/4 of that in a silent auction, you can expect some bargains here, but also expect to see some amazing work sold for breathtaking prices.

November 1 brings us ARTcetera at the Boston Center for the Arts, a fundraiser for the AIDS action committee.  Keep an eye on this one, there’s an amazing variety of work – not just photos – on offer.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s what’s on the limeduck radar these days.  I’m very interested to see how these events play out.  Economic uncertainty suggests that people will be bidding timidly, but that also suggests that those with the guts and the cash might get some exceptional bargains.  It’s also possible that some investors will look to art as a better store of value than commodities or equities.  In any case, it’s a great way to buy local and get a unique gift for yourself or a loved one.

Autumn Leaves Yet to Fall

Spent an excellent day at the excellent DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park with excellent friends. I arrived early, at least in part due to the end of daylight saving time, and I wandered the grounds, taking photos of the fall foliage, mostly looking straight up using the bluest of skies as a backdrop.

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The sparser ones make me think of Van Gogh’s Almond Branches or Andy Brilliant’s snow haiku (they’re not on his portfolio site, a terrible omission), but I soon fell in love with richer colors and fuller, almost cartographic forms like these:

decordovaleaf1.jpg

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More photos – unedited, uncropped, unprocessed – in my flickr.