News & Exhibitions / Boston
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Art & Dialogue: Boston Curator Summary by Elisabeth Sherman
For Art & Dialogue: Boston, Elisabeth Sherman, Assistant Curator, The Whitney Museum of American Art, traveled to Boston to participate in a panel discussion at MassArt and visit with eight Awardees. As a culmination of her participation in the program, Sherman presented a summary of her experience in the city.
I left New York for Boston on an Amtrak train at 6pm on November 8th, 2016 and watched the election results roll in as we traveled up the Eastern seaboard. Waking up to the feeling of the world being turned upside down led to a very unusual beginning to my visit. In many ways, the state of shock that the election results threw many of us into deepened my interactions with the artists I met, and often allowed us to bypass the small talk that defines the beginning of a studio visit. I found that many of my conversations became very quickly personal and revealing, as we were all quite raw in those first few days.
After a long, mostly sleepless night, I woke up on Wednesday the 9th wanting to forge ahead with the plans I had set for my free time in Boston, as best as I could. I set out for the MFA, and on the way my taxi driver and I solemnly listened to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. At the museum, I had the pleasure of seeing UH-OH: Frances Stark, 1991-2015 for the second time, as I had first seen it at the Hammer in 2015. I then spent a fair amount of time in Political Intent, the museum’s exhibition from their permanent collection of works dealing with activism and political discourse. While presumably organized during the election season, this timely show became even more poignant and pertinent that morning. It was a necessary reminder of the role art can play in advancing ideals and challenging perceptions.
Later that afternoon, after a visit to the ICA, I made my way to MassArt for an afternoon of short critiques with a few of the students. I had previously known very little about their MFA program and, given that I was visiting with exclusively photography majors, was given an insight into their approach through the first and second year students. My day concluded with a panel I moderated with the artists Claire Beckett, Caleb Cole, and Stephen Tourlentes. We were all brought together to discuss photography and, while we certainly did, like everything else during my trip, our conversation quickly moved to the content of their work. Claire’s portraits of Muslim converts, Stephen’s long exposures of prisons at night, and Caleb’s projects mining strangers’ histories and personal narratives all took on a new urgency as we grappled with the possibilities of what the new administration might mean for the many different citizens involved in each of their projects.
With the exception of a quick detour to take in the fascinating and incredibly timely exhibition of Edgar Arceneaux at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, my next two days were filled with back-to-back studio visits with the Artadia awardees. The work being made by these artists of various generations all across Boston ranged widely, from Xiaowei Chen’s deep commitment to a sustained and durational drawing practice, to Joe Zane’s satirical, multimedia lens on the systems that drive the art world.
Once again, however, wherever and whenever an artist’s work touched on any of the issues that now feel vulnerable during our incoming Presidential administration, my conversations with the artists quickly addressed these topics, while still taking into account their studio-based practices. For example, Raúl Gonzalez and I discussed his stylistic references and how he bridges the comic/graphic novel community and the art world, but then we focused significant time on the Latinx students he works with through his young adult books as well as the issues of immigration and Mexican-American culture addressed in his work. Similarly, Larissa Bates and I spoke about her wide-ranging influences while discussing at length her rediscovery of her Costa Rican heritage in contrast with her New England upbringing.
Visiting with Claire Beckett–which, like my visit with Raúl, took place in their gallery, Carroll and Sons–was a wonderful continuation of the conversation we’d started the night before during the MassArt panel. While quite different in their aesthetic, she and Eric Gottesman both have an approach to portrait and documentary photography that involves the agency of their subjects, who come from communities quite different than their own. They have both spent significant time learning about these groups of people and then, to varying degrees, create their photographs in collaboration with the members of these groups. As with Claire’s work with Muslim converts, Eric’s work has long engaged many issues that have risen to the surface through the Presidential election. Outside of his own solo work, he is a co-founder of the artist-run Super PAC, For Freedoms. We spent the second half of our visit deep in conversation about many of the issues For Freedoms has been tackling head on.
My time in Boston ended on Friday with a visit to Lucy Kim’s studio. Lucy was the one artist I knew in advance and, while we’d had conversations over the last couple of years, I’d never seen her very physical, material work in process, only in exhibition. After so many days of intense, emotional conversations with new friends, it was wonderful to reconnect with someone I already knew and to focus on her labor-intense work, better understanding the methodical way she constructs her optically confusing painting-sculptures.
Image: Claire Beckett, Hans with his teach Lokman Efendi, 2013, archival inkjet photograph, 30 x 40 inches.
Art & Dialogue: Boston Summary from Rachel Adams
Associate Curator, University at Buffalo Art Galleries
Mary Ellen Strom
“There are no towns for miles around, and come sundown the world goes inky black, and the only way you can tell the earth from the sky is the sky is where the stars begin. But out on the horizon I could see an incandescent glow where no lights should be. After awhile it occurred to me that what I was seeing was not the light of some forgotten town, but the glow of a new American city.” -Joseph T. Hallinan from “Going up the River”
This quote, used by artist Stephen Tourlantes in his artist statement, struck a chord with me as I started to work on the summary of my trip to Boston. Stephen, who has spent the past years photographing American prisons at night—the glow of their ever present night lights beckoning him. I feel this beckoning when it comes to meeting new artists. Hence my excitement when I was asked to come to Boston and do studio visits with Artadia grantees. However, I had no idea what to expect. I had never done studio visits in Boston and the only artist I really knew there—Bahar Yurukoglu—had moved to Istanbul this past summer. I had been part of the advisory committee for the deCordova Biennial in 2013, but the artists were from all over New England, not just particular to Boston. It was exciting to get the list of artists from Artadia and peruse their websites. But even more so when I hit the ground at Logan and started my visits…
I travel quite frequently and always am visiting with artists, but I never sit down a few weeks after a trip and write about what I’ve seen. I create artist files, I post pictures on Instagram, but I have never summarized a trip before. I went to my phone and realized that I took no images in the studios I visited. While you, the reader, might find that odd, I do not. I was so engaged with all the artists I visited that I never once reached for my phone. And so when I started to think about my visit to Boston and all of the studio visits I did, one thing really stuck out: scale.
Each artist I visited were all working with scale in his or her practices. From the miniature paintings by Ria Brodell of Butch Heroes that reference Catholic prayer cards to the massive size of the dead Lodgepole Pine Forest in the Rocky Mountains of Montana that Mary Ellen Strom works with in her practice. I can’t help but think about Caleb Cole’s collection of vintage and antique dolls that he alters to look like himself and the sheer number that it will take to fill a room. But I am also flabbergasted by the stories from Stephen Tourlantes about the prisons at the end of a residential street where the residents apparently don’t even notice the massive walls and the bright lights that shine throughout the night
Larissa Bates’s intimate canvases are jam-packed with symbolism and code exploring the colonialist background of her family in Costa Rica while Lucy Kim casts parts of the body and expands them—creating relief paintings that are slightly ambiguous and provocative. Vaughn Sills uses images she’s taken on Prince Edward Island as backgrounds for compositions of flowers. Finally, Ambreen Butt was trained as a miniaturist painter in Pakistan and still utilizes the techniques she was taught to create massive wall works out of cast fingers and tiny pieces of cut up text.
Now, a few weeks after my visit, I am reminiscing on what I saw and the conversations I had with artists. While this idea of scale has come to the forefront of my thoughts regarding the artists I visited in Boston, I am also excited about the range of artistic practices represented with the awardees. I think its difficult for cities today to have some sort of regional identity as we are all constantly relocating or traveling around the globe, being influenced by all sorts of experiences, people, and histories. It is more important to have artists who are engaged with their community and with their personal work and I most certainly experienced that in Boston. I look forward to returning.
Art & Dialogue: Boston Public Program with Rachel Adams at the Rose Art Museum
Rachel Adams, Associate Curator at the UB Art Galleries, has a deep interest in the crossover between contemporary art and architecture. In her Art & Dialogue: Boston Public Program she discusses recent curatorial projects including “Constructed Landscapes” the first solo museum exhibition of artist Seher Shah and her 2014-2015 curatorial residency at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, Oregon. She also touches upon her work with Field Constructs Design Competition, opening in Austin November 14, 2015 and the upcoming fall 2016 exhibition of Brazillian-born artist Lydia Okumura at the UB Art Galleries.
Rachel Adams is the Associate Curator for the University at Buffalo Art Galleries. Adams holds an MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her areas of research include the crossover between contemporary art and architecture, video and new media practices, with a special focus on artists working and performing in the landscape. She was most recently the 4th Curator-in-Residence at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, OR, curating the 2014-15 season with artists including Andy Coolquitt, Bahar Yurukoglu, Kevin Cooley, and Pablo Rasgado. From 2010 to 2013, she was the Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at The Contemporary Austin, curating a number of exhibitions and video projects, including exhibitions with Devon Dikeou, Seher Shah, Amie Siegel and Ragnar Kjartansson. She is the co-founder and co-director with Catherine Gavin and Igor Siddiqui for Field Constructs Design Competition in Austin, which takes place November 14-22, 2015. Prior to moving to Texas, Adams lived in San Francisco and Chicago, curating at Queens Nails Projects and David Cunningham Projects in San Francisco and co-directing Lloyd Dobler Gallery in Chicago from 2006-2008. Her writing has been included in exhibition catalogues for Prospect.3 New Orleans, and the 2012 Texas Prize as well as artforum.com, Art Papers, Art Practical, Modern Painters, and Texas Architect. Her first exhibition in Buffalo, Splitting Light, opened in September of 2015 and upcoming exhibitions include Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors and the first solo museum presentation of Lydia Okumura, opening September 2016.
Announcing the 2014 Boston Artadia Awardees
DISTINGUISHED NATIONAL PANEL SELECTS THREE ARTISTS FOR ARTADIA’S THIRD AWARDS IN BOSTON
BOSTON, MA – Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue is pleased to announce the 2014 Boston Artadia Awardees: Larissa Bates, Ria Brodell, and Lucy Kim. The three artists will each receive $12,000 in unrestricted funds and join the nationwide network of Artadia Awardees. More
Announcing the 2014 Boston Artadia Awards Finalists
SHORT-LIST OF 10 FINALISTS FOR 2014 BOSTON ARTADIA AWARDS
Artadia is pleased to announce the third Boston Artadia Award cycle. The image-based application was open to all Boston based visual artists for three months and closed on October 24th, 2014. First round jurors Christopher Bedford, Director of The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University; Ruba Katrib, Curator at Sculpture Center and New York-based painter Ryan Sullivan, convened in late October to review all of applications and selected 10 Finalists.
The 10 Finalists for the 2014 Boston Artadia Awards are: Sonia Almeida, Larissa Bates, Ria Brodell, Stephanie Cardon, Lucy Kim, Niho Kozuru, Susan Metrican, Irina Rozovsky, Matt Saunders, Jll Slosburg-Ackerman
Check out the over 50 summer shows that Artadia Awardees are participating in across the globe!
To find out where our Awardees are showing from Boston to Warsaw, and to learn about upcoming Artadia programs, keep your eye on the site.
Exhibition Exchange: The Boston Center for the Arts
Southern Exposure: 2009 Atalanta Artadia Awardees The Boston Center for the Arts, in partnership with Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue guest curated by Dina Deitsch, Associate Curator of contemporary art, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA.
Featured Artists: Tristan Al-Haddad, Don Cooper (Judith Alexander Artadia Awardee), Ruth Dusseault, Fahamu Pecou, Jerry Siegel, Larry Walker, and Angela West.
Southern Exposure launches the Artadia Exhibitions Exchange, a ground-breaking exhibitions initiative to foster dialogue and exchange between artists, peer organizations, and arts communities around the country. Through five exhibitions in 2010–11, the Artadia Exhibitions Exchange strengthens opportunities for artists’ and curators’ professional development. By exhibiting recent Awardees from one Artadia city in another program city, the series of five shows provides vital exposure for Artadia Awardees as well as new avenues for curatorial enrichment. The Artadia Awardees 2009 Boston will be exhibited at the San Francisco Art Institute Walter and McBean Galleries in summer 2011 as part of this program.
Conversation with Artadia Awardees
Friday, November 19, 7-9pm
Dina Deitsch, curator of “Southern Exposure” talks with the exhibition artists
Friday, November 19, 7-9pm
Wednesday, December 8, 6-9pm