A round up of some of the top 2013 Local and National Art Stories: Part 2

Local and national common threads include advocacy, aplomb, and access. Oh, and Amazon. December 5, 2013 was a huge news day. Here, aplomb (awards, institutions and sound)


Gloucester, MA:  the Gloucester HarborWalk designed by Cambridge Seven Associates took home an impressive array of local, regional, and national awards in 2013. Click this HarborWalk design page link and once there click the dash for ‘award winning walk’ to read more about the details. 

Gloucester, MA: The stellar Cape Ann Museum raises millions for upgrades

Gloucester, MA: Worth repeating, Gloucester has two cultural districts Rocky Neck and downtown’s Harbortown. Who knows, there could be five in Gloucester with all that is vibrant and historic within its Magnolia, Lanesville and Annisquam villages. The two Gloucester districts have been partnering with Rockport, and Essex. On the Northshore there is also Newburyport and Lynn. Salem and Ipswich can’t be too far off. Soon launching, the Cape Ann Cultural District mobile App will help pinpoint and navigate all four districts' cultural destinations and other points of interest. The City of Gloucester and the towns of Essex and Rockport were awarded a grant from the MCC for the development of this new App.  The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and seARTS are key partners (join both!) The bulk of the required matching funds were provided by the City of Gloucester, through the Office of Mayor Carolyn Kirk and by partner organizations and municipalities.

AAA article and hot off the press Kim Smith’s wonderful Mott article

2013 museum exhibitions that received top ink and bits. Some exhibitions are still on!

UK: Alice Munro earns Nobel (yay!) and reminder that this list is going to lean visual arts rather than all arts facets of the creative sector. But one stretch for an artist review I admired: Studio 360 shared a little snippet from Inside National Recording registry featuring analysis of Leotyne Price's debut album, Program of Song with comments from Opera News editor Driscol, and Renee Fleming, others—Fleming is so great talking about her – all of them such nuanced, earnest reaching to translate into words their listening experience. Throughout the audio there are many references to painting.

Boston, MA Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum Composite Landscapes; also great Sophie Calle: Last Seen through March 3, 2014 and related stories to this anniversary take

Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston the Postcard Age; still on  She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World,  through January 12, 2014; Sargent watercolors through January 24; John James Audubon’s Birds on exhibit through May as well as several compelling print exhibits; the print department is tops.

Cambridge, MA: MIT Stanley Greenberg: Time Machines exhibit  through March 17, 2014 While there, check out Ship Models: The Evolution of Ship Design , 40 of the finest full-hull ship models from the MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Collections

DC, NYC, and more: Armory Centennial shows from New York Historical Society’s Armory Show at 100  and Washington DC’s Phillips and  on line too for the Archives of American Art;  do yourself a favor as they are worth engagement. Some of the artists had Gloucester ties.  I always paused whatever I was doing for any of Sarah Fishko’s analysis on WNYC, usually Morning Edition or All Things Considered, and syndicated through other outlets now, too (Studio 360 and On the Media). Her extended radio documentary for the Armory anniversary, Culture Shock 1913, continues to be re-broadcast. Like a painter using color to move our eyes across a surface, Fishko’s pieces are brushed with pauses and impeccable ambient sound and audio moments--mini Lubitsch sound banquets.

Boston, Brockton, Concord, Deerfield, Salem and Sturbridge and Winterthur, DE : With film–like distribution and contemporary art-fair flair, ten Massachusetts institutions partnered with Delaware’s Winterthur to promote multi-venue exhibits highlighting the Commonwealth’s remarkable furniture design and manufacturing history. Click here for the schedule: Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.  Antiques Roadshow and the Keno Brothers are great, but let’s move around and re-visit these collections. Northshore is in the mix: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Concord Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, Historic Deerfield, Historic New England 36 sites (Nat Historic Landmark heritage museum, Beauport Sleeper McCann, is right in Gloucester; not specifically cited for this exhibit, but a winning visit anytime), Massachusetts Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts, North Bennet Street School, Old Sturbridge Village, and the Peabody Essex Museum.

Gloucester, MA: Cape Ann Museum of Arts has an excellent permanent American art collection and rotating contemporary and historic exhibition schedule. They’re managing pop up programming throughout town while closed for renovations until summer 2014. 2013 highlights included exhibitions such as Cape Ann Artisans at 30 and Gail Albert Halaban’s Hopper Redux. There are always surprises. (On a personal note I was thrilled to see a vintage photo of Doris Kubinyi who I knew and worked with, apartment sat, and first heard the Mamas and the Papas).

For museums holding major art with any Gloucester or Cape Ann ties not currently on permanent exhibit, or collectors warehousing, I fantasize about how  MA partnering may shore up funding and policy solutions so that the art might be exhibited publicly on long term loan, gift or sale right here. There would be costs and benefits to sort and plan, also potential new insight into the artist, art, and the community, conceivable new monetary value, discovery and aha moments, and surely goodwill.

Gloucester, MA: The Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library Matz Gallery features exhibitions all year, and a beloved annual art auction for the library each fall. In 2013, the library hosted a group exhibition organized by the Committee for the Arts that featured proposal excerpts from the semi-finalists for Gloucester’s 2013 HarborWalk Public Art Challenge.  To honor the significance of their proposals, and express how grateful the City was for the time and care these artists took (and more than 100 others who vied) it was important and wonderful opportunity to have this venue for these ideas. The artists shown: *James Owen Calderwood; Tiffany Carbonneau; JoAnne Chirico, Anna Chirico & Dave Blakney; *Justin Desilva; Andrew Thurlow & Andrew Doyle; Gary Duehr; *Bartek Konieczny; Angelina Marino-Heidel & Joel Heidel; Michael McNabney & Troy Zaushny; Frank Morbillo; Laura Piraino & Lise Breen; James Sardonis; Kim Smith; Robert Trumbour, Anthony Sanchez, Jared Steinmark, & Alex Cabral; and Juni Van Dyke. *winners

Gloucester, MA: the dedicated and amazing Rocky Neck Cultural Center

 Lincoln, MA: 2013 Decordova Biennial, artist Ethan Murrow and others praised (closes April 2014)

 New York: Guggenheim, James Turrell show  may have received the most press.

 New York: Whitney Museum of American Art: Trisha Baga: Plymouth Rock 2 ; Edward Hopper Drawing, and the retrospective for Jay Defeo

 New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art Julia Margaret Cameron sensational photos; Matisse: In Search of True Painting . While on line, see the MET curators in their own takes; they’re well done.

Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Museum of Art’s epic Leger exhibit

Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum  In 2013, PEM was in the news a lot, and not only for its world class exhibits.  Announced in 2011, their ambitious capital campaign for endowment enough for a forever museum has already raised $570 million of a $650 million goal. Back then, Rick Mather Architects (RMA) was chosen to design a $200 million dollar, 175,000 square foot expansion. Ennead Architects have been engaged to revisit this project completely, following the untimely death of architect Rick Mather last April. The new expansion is estimated for completion 2019. Back to exhibits: Midnight to the Boom; Nick Cave and other FreePort exhibits were substantial. Congratulations to Trevor Smith. I cannot wait to see the new commission FreePort[No.007]: Celeste Boursier-Mougenot. Live finches!  Uber dealer Paula Cooper represents her work in New York. While this sound universe is created by Boursier-Mougenot with nature here in MA, new paintings and works on paper about sound and art by Christian Marclay will be closing January 18 at Paula Cooper Gallery, in NYC. (Sound, hmmm. I know FreePort will generate reviews. Perhaps Sarah Fishko may visit!)

San Francisco, de Young Museum: A major retrospective of David Hockney’s work completed over the last decade, A Bigger Exhibition (closing this month), has generated voluminous press and praise, mostly for his legacy of embracing new technology. Oh, and how old he is now, somehow compelling him to create before time runs out. The latter opinion grates and not just because of repetition. (See a good overview of the de Young exhibit on Newshour but listen at 4:24 dispensing this cliché while introducing another. When hasn’t Hockney investigated any series, media or pursuit without daunting and constant focus? He’s always testing and the mastery and means to do so, and often exuberant). It’s also in the news because of Vermeer, but more on that below. Reactions to this Hockney exhibit are reminiscent of a 1980s traveling retrospective for his earlier work, not regarded universally with favor, but ample discussion. I recall moving along that crowded exhibit, a chronological layout with each room different series, artistic intentions, styles & techniques-- and a log jam most at the space featuring his monumental collaged Polaroids. Hockney print shows were also traveling (for MA both the MFA and the DeCordova). I didn’t think about Hockney then as a trailblazer for artistic pluralism. Lightbulb memory next: I do remember the Hockney New Yorker article everyone was talking about in January 2000, The Looking Glass, by Lawrence Wechsler. I remember where I was when I first read it, the first contemporary artists who spoke with me and who I turned to for opinions, curators and friends. “Vermeer and the Delft School” at the MET was coming up; it had been since the 1995 National Gallery/Hague exhibit when we last had a fresh chance to see Vermeer paintings en masse. Not to be overly dramatic but it continued as a white hot ‘what is art topic’; enjoy a dishy 2001 New York Times article covering one charged  symposium filled with memorable quotes by curators, Susan Sontag, and Chuck Close (''some scientists are just as annoying as some art historians”) maybe on the same day you listen to that Fishko audio doc, Culture Shock 1913 (the near riot at the premier for 1913 Ballet Russes Stravinsky’s Rights of Spring). An optical debate symposium 15 years later might be worth an anniversary, current thoughts from Close, Hockney, and others involved and so much that has happened since. Photographer Joseph Pennell is thought to be the first to write (1890s) about optical lenses and Vermeer.  There are many others but I’ll just list one because of the Gloucester connection. A. Mayor Hyatt, the eminent print curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wrote The Photographic Eye in 1946. (Gloucester’s Joan of Arc WW1 memorial was created by his “favorite person in the world”, his aunt, Anna Hyatt Huntington. This brilliant family spent summers in Annisquam for nearly 100 years.) People will always be fascinated by virtuoso technique, the ultra exceptional DIY. Artists I’ve worked with consider tools of the trade in myriad ways: inspiring, a challenge, filtering, but decidedly unfixed as they’re about process and exploration of ideas throughout all iterations of their art. Art and magic--themes of mastery, obsession, even “it’s all done with smoke and mirrors”—seems fittingly matched in the Penn & Teller documentary, Tim’s Vermeer and a visit with Hockney is included. Release date that I first saw was December 5 (no kidding, that date again).It’s probably already scheduled by wonderful,

Rob Newton, Cape Ann Community Cinema 

Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Don’t love the title but I enjoyed the show and discussion surrounding cache of unearthed photographs by unknown mid century photographer Vivian Maier: A Woman’s Lens. So happy to see it travel to MA.  By 2013, Maier has nearly reached mega outsider artist status since the 2006 discovery by Chicago collector John Maloof. Brings to mind Henry Darger path from obscurity and spirited debates.  For us locally why is this important? Make sure to visit Bodin Historic Photo and cherish work by Alice May Curtis, and Fred!

Wenham, MA: The American Alliance of Museums announced that the Wenham museum reached accredited status which is the highest national recognition achievable by an American Museum.

Washington, DC: Corcoran Ellen Harvey

Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art amazing tribute to Munch

Washington, DC: National Portrait Gallery featured Judith Murray in the exhibit A Will of their Own: Judith Murray and Women of Achievement from the early days of the Nation. 1812 A nation emerges was extended. Meade brothers photographs were interesting.

Cai Guo-Qiang falling back to earth Australia

Tomas Saraceno’s In Orbit Dusseldorf

Dohosuh installation at the national museum of modern and contemporary art Korea

Ai Weiwei s.a.c.r.e.d and Venice art biennale

Adrian Villar Rojas Today we Reboot the Planet Serpentine Sackler Gallery , London

Madrid, Spain: Museo Thyssen Hyperrealism 1967-2012