Round up of top 2013 Local and National Art Stories

Local and national common threads include advocacy, aplomb, and access. Oh, and Amazon. December 5, 2013 was a huge art news day. Last up below: access (public).


Part 3 of 3 ACCESS

OPEN CONTENT: Sometimes my research and work has required obtaining permission for images which can be an issue and expense. In 2010, I began to hear from more and more museum curators a growing rumble that the “barn doors would be thrown wide open”. That particular quote was the most memorable expressed to me, but all were variations on the same issue: public domain and open content. Joining the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, Los Angeles County Museum, and Harvard, in August 2013 the J. Paul Getty Museum announced its complete “commitment to sharing digital resources freely with all….It is now the mark—and social responsibility—of world-class institutions to develop and share free cultural and educational resources.” And with that bumped 4600+ eligible images on line and the bigger story and message went viral. This means optimum, quality digital resolution to linger, study, and copy-- no more sour imprints and hassle for many works of art. Congratulations James Cuno—who has MA and Chicago ties. Google Art Project has a part in this shift (though its focus is sharing and fabulous detail and quality-- not issues of use and permission). We’ll see where this goes and if open admission, without allowing the institutions to decay, and other policy debates increase in 2014. There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011).


National trends: Crowdsource funding remains strong and in the news. Spike Lee used Kickstarter, and here at home Felicia Ciaramitaro published the first gorgeous book of her Sicilian cookbook series. Local Rob Newton Cape Ann Community Cinema successful and oh so deserving Indiegogo campaign raised $54,000. Crowdtilt gaining. High Line ripple effect and references are everywhere and we all benefit. Amazon tries its hand at selling original art on line (while 20 x 200 closes). Maker movement/DIYcontinues to grow (Etsy, YouTube, and Pinterest).



Better programming and better websites: NEA, MOTT (above), Essex National Heritage…a long list of improved websites. Gloucester has this down, too, whether new events such as Cape Ann Ceramics Festival, curated by Susan Hershey, Jenny Rangan & Seyrel Williams, or mainstays amped up (see Maritime Gloucester Museum: Schooner Festival / lobster bake as one of many examples!) Ah, the floater home page!


Communication: I’m impressed by our local businesses, institutions, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary. All combine to spread news, host/feature, put up with plastering of flyers, and so on. We are super lucky because local media cover the arts scene, and that doesn’t always happen. Thank you, thank you WBUR, the Artery, Art New England, Boston Globe, seARTS newsletter, Cape Ann Beacon  and Gloucester Daily Times. Sadly for us but good news for Hamilton – Wenham, editor Jane Enos has left the Cape Ann Beacon for the Chronicle (but never Gloucester!). Good luck Jane! Welcome to the new editor, JC Lockwood!



When I think arts access, the award-winning blog  Good Morning Gloucester has to be the apex, having redefined shared community information, and arts guide. It has reached beyond our geography. One quick art example: Master Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will feature a Gloucester snapshot of the house depicted in the Edward Hopper drawing, Double House which I identified and GMG shared.

Previously I have worked with this museum’s outstanding print and drawing department, and met Rev. Richard L. Hillstrom, an art collector who gave the Hopper drawing to the museum. Rev. Hillstrom put together a significant collection of religious prints and drawings for the Lutheran Brotherhood; not surprising with his knowledge and eye, with the collaboration of expertise of the print & drawings department (at that time the curators, former Director Richard Armstrong, Dennis Michael Jon, and others), and with the incredible holdings at this national treasure. In 2013, Jon juried the North American Print Biennial which was exhibited at Boston University. The Director of Prints and Drawings, Tom Rassieur has MA and NY ties; he was Curator at the MFA and MET prior to Minneapolis.


Placemaking and Collaboration:  For regional and national networking, resources, and inspiration, 2013 was a banner year for Ma Smarth Growth, 10 years prescient and we’re catching up; Project for Public Spaces --and not only for another Detroit story; Essex National Heritage, Trails and Sails even bigger; and from Denver, CO which remains one of the most comprehensive art source tools for integrating free artist submissions and the managing of juried exhibitions and competitions.  


Access: some 2013 site specific Public Art receiving ink and bits

Austin, TX: Frankly the glorious work by James Turrell is nearly always big news. 2013 is no different. In addition to the Guggenheim show and other projects, more than 1000 people attended the opening of James Turrell’s Skyspace, The Color Inside, the most recent commission by Landmarks, the Public Art Program at the University of Texas at Austin. As founding director of Landmarks, one of Director Andree Bober’s game changing assertions in my book was the brilliant move to entice the MET to bring 28 modern and contemporary sculptures as long-term loan in 2008. What must be hundreds of thousands of people annually can experience a public art master class; engage or not. The logistics were not simple; I know, but the idea is big and simply beautiful. Along with this critical core, policy ensures that 1-2% of ongoing capital improvement is set aside for acquisition such as the Turrell Skyscape. Upcoming Monika Bravo.

Bober participated in the HarborWalk Public Art Challenge along with the Peabody Essex Museum Curator of Contemporary Art, Trevor Smith; Cambridge Seven Associates (architects Peter Sollogub and Chris Muskopf); the Honorable John Bell; and artists Phil Cusumano, Morgan Faulds Pike and Jeff Weaver. How fantastic that these jurors volunteered their time and considerable talent to help the artists and this process.


Berkley: Artist Villareal’s The Bay Lights for the Berkley Bay Bridge


Beverly, MA, is an NEA Our Town recipient. Contemporary artist and MacArthur fellow, Anna Schuleit Haber (Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is currently working on a site-specific new work for Montserrat as part of this Our Town grant. In 2010 she completed Just a Rumor for UMass Amherst.


Boston: Reimagining the Public Bench, street seats


Boston: UK artist Luke Jerram’s Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos was installed in Boston and its environs


Gloucester tradition goes public art: Back in 2001, the community transformed off-season lobster traps—generously and temporarily loaned-- into Gloucester’s Lobster Trap Tree. Aspirational, David Brooks/Cape Ann Art Haven, made the community connections even stronger with the addition of donated buoys, hand painted each year by youth in our community.


Gloucester: Artist Juni Van Dyke’s radiant and ongoing direction of the Rose Baker Senior Center Neighborhood Quilt project made the news as some of the completed works traveled…in town, exhibited at both Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library and City Hall. Her own confident work across media is at Flat Rocks (browse those flat files!) and Jane Deering.


MA Smart Growth Alliance placemaking booth, ABX 2013


Gloucester, MA: At the direction of Mayor Kirk, Gloucester commissioned 3 contemporary artists for new public art with funding support from the Seaport Advisory Council, Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Artist James Owen Calderwood completed the 300’ Parsons Street mural, Fish Net, which was selected as one of the extraordinary public space examples at Ma Smart Growth Alliance ABX placemaking booth. Cambridge Seven Associates architects designed the Gloucester HarborWalk. Artists Justin Desilva (RISD) and Bartek Konieczny (MA College Art & Design) are currently at work on their winning Gloucester HarborWalk Public Art Challenge awards. Tricia O’Neill / Signs unique fabricated the gHW plaque and has a connection to the next public art listed; she’s painting from the crane.


September 19, 2013 photo © Mike Springer  / Gloucester Daily Times, “Taking art to new heights; local painters carry out high level Boston project”. Matthew Ritchie’s Remanence: Salt and Light (through fall 2014), is the 2nd temporary mural on the Dewey Square ventilation building, commissioned for the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, and made possible by the MA Department of Transportation, Boston Arts Commission, and City of Boston, and private donations and support.


In 2013, there was more local awareness for “temporary” public art. In Rockport, MA, artist and architect--and HarborWalk Public Art Challenge semi-finalist for Then and Again, a proposal for a temporary winter installation--Rob Trumbour secured the OK to design a site-specific summer installation with his Wentworth architectural students (Artforming Summer Build). See a detail from the installation at historic Lumber Wharf, Rockport.


Madrid: Reina Sofia Museum’s superb public art installations for Crystal Palace, Retiro Park. In 2013 it was artist Mitsuo Miura.


New York: Banksy Better Out Than In art on the streets of New York


New York: Figment on Governors Island


New York: Five Pointz whitewashed November 19th


New York: Grand Central Station, Creative Time commissioned Nick Cave’s Heard NY and  FreePort [No.006]: Nick Cave at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Salem, Ma, exhibit, curator Trevor Smith.


New York: MoMA, Random International’s 5000 ft’ Rain Room installation


For arts stories covering ‘Access gone viral’: I’d nominate the Supreme Court’s marriage equality passing. It also makes this list because of the crush of individual creativity with the HRC logo meme support. On this list as well, the Dove Real Beauty commercial on You Tube (6 min) with the FBI trained forensic artist, Gil Zamora; a commercial, designed by the creative sector, which received 30 million views in the first 10 days. On most any 2013 Top Stories for access, the powerful, artful living displayed by Malala Yousafzai would be listed. Here is the transcript of her birthday speech at the UN . Locally it would be the fantastic Cape Ann Farmer’s Market Backyard Growers program. (In 2013, Tom’s of Maine recognized their work, and selected them to represent MA as the non-profit winner for “50 States for Good”). Reminder: this list leans visual arts rather than all else.


I’m going to stay in the positive realm so this art ANGUISH no access part is brief and snipe free. Romania has been ongoing positive news for several years because of its contemporary artists and contemporary arts scene   (international ceramic arts, young artists, and Bucharest biennales, art museums, art and design universities). There were distressing and changing reports this past summer that the 7 masterworks of the Triton Foundation collection that were stolen from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, were potentially burned. One robber’s mom, Olga Dogaru, may have incinerated the art, but later she retracted her statement. Her sentencing has been delayed. (In 2002, Mireille Breitwieser destroyed art that her son had stolen from many European museums. She was sentenced to 3 years with an 18 month suspension). 


Coney Island: James, the Astrotower is down, but there’s always something coming


Harry Shokler, Coney Island, 1942, original color silkscreen.



Museums re-opening: Harvard, Clark and our very own Cape Ann Museum.


New York City: look for World Above The Street


Boston: Will Boston’s new Mayor Marty Walsh name an arts representative?

Gloucester: To address the lack of senior/artist and live/work space it makes sense to pursue a goal of culturally-centered, affordable housing in Gloucester. Artspace will come to Gloucester when $15,000 is raised for their site visit and feasibility study. Any contributions or funding ideas please contact Veronica Morgan.


Gloucester: look for the second and third site-specific public art awards for the HarborWalk Art Challenge by artists, Justin Desilva (RISD) and Bartek Konieczny (MA College Art & Design)