Welcome to our first issue of 2017, one that was put together during a time of great transition for our country and the Artscope family
That was the backdrop in which Artscope correspondent J. Fatima Martins, filled with anxiety after a contested election period, prepared for her departure for Art Basel Miami Beach and the satellite fairs — officially separate but growingly impossible to tell apart events — during Art Week Miami on our behalf (along with publisher Kaveh Mojtabai); prior to her leaving, we had a long talk about what she would be looking for during her weeklong stay.
“Most people were, and still are, anxious about the potential of economic collapse for those of us who are not wealthy,” Martins said. “I felt a great amount of discomfort with reporting about an event that is designed for the very wealthy to consume more art as object. My question was — and still is — can art save us without being marketable? Why do artists create? I already knew that one of the themes I’d find would be violence and the idea of transition.”
In this issue, Martins contributes two stories — one that looks at the experience of New England-based artists and galleries in Miami and Miami Beach, and another sharing her take on the most intriguing art on display there, and what it said to her.
This issue’s centerfold artist, Jenine Shereos, who is currently serving as the artist-in-residence in the fibers department at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee, was also in South Florida. As the fiber arts and crafting segment of the art world continues to grow, I thought our readers would benefit from reading the observations of Shereos — a sculptor and installation artist specializing in fiber and textile processes — in terms of what drew her attention as a professional artist and how she interpreted her experience at Miami and Miami Beach as it applied to her own career
In early November, Mojtabai and I (with assistance from contributor Elizabeth Michelman) visited the Newton Open Studios, for which we had been the jurors, initially judging the work and selecting the 50 participating artists from digital images. Our attendance there was to narrow that number down to 10 artists for the Newton Open Studios Juror Award Exhibit 2016, which remains on view through January 30 at NewTV Gallery.
For me, it was a reminder of how we serve and cover artists working in various capacities — in this instance, starting with work we felt would serve as excellent, special and unique holiday gifts and additions to private collections, then fine-tuning the selection to what we thought would appeal to more traditional gallery goers. This experience was a personal reminder of what we feel we do best — capturing all of New England’s arts community on all levels.
Because of tighter holiday schedules, this is always a tough issue for our staff. One of the shows we wanted to cover was sculptor John Bisbee’s “Material Obsession” exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum, but its opening date was too late for our production deadline. Thankfully, Bisbee gracefully allowed Donna Dodson to visit as the work was being installed; their “as-it-happened” conversation opens this issue.
Cape Cod correspondent Laura Shabott reports on the exciting acquisition of 66 drawings by Edward Hopper — along with drawings, watercolor paintings and 22 diaries of his wife, Josephine Hopper — by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum; the Hopper collection will go on view in late August.
We’re a media sponsor for the current “Turtle Power: Teenage Mutant Turtles & Samurai Heroes” exhibition at the Springfield Museums; John P. Stapleton reviews both that show and the coinciding “Cats in Hats” show that is intended to serve as a preview of the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum to open there in June.
Longtime Artscope contributor James Dyment, citing time obligations in his capacity as executive director of the Brush Art Gallery and Studios, suggested bringing Flavia Cigliano aboard as our Lowell-area correspondent. At first, Cigliano was hesitant to accept covering the 2016 Fall Juried Members Exhibition at the Whistler House Museum of Art, which she had overseen as its executive director, because of a possible conflict of interest due to her long relationships with many of the participating artists. I told her the same thing I tell all of my artists covering a large group show — “When considering which works and artists to mention, ask yourself, ‘Would I be willing to drive an hour or more to see this work — and would the experience be artistically rewarding and worth the trip if I did?’”
New England is home to many art education institutions, and we celebrate a number of them in this issue. Alexandra Tursi spotlights the Montpelier-based Vermont College of Fine Arts, while Suzanne Volmer writes about “Henry’s Kids,” a February exhibition at ArtProv Gallery honoring the inspirational mentorship of Rhode Island College professor emeritus Enrico Pinardi, whose students affectionately called him “Henry.”
Kristin Nord reviews “Metamorphosis,” a show featuring MFA program alumni from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and the Hotchkiss School’s show featuring former teacher “Marjory Reid Plus Two (Janet Rickus and Warner Friedman)” at Tremaine Gallery in Lakeville, Conn
The Bates Museum of Art has a spectacular show that’s been supplemented by an ongoing schedule of program and teaching experiences featuring the artists of “Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia,” covered by Taryn Plumb, while Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is hosting “A Small Show of Large Works” by members of the Monotype Guild of New England, a collection visited by Linda Chestney
Two intriguing, short-run shows arrive in the Boston area in late January. Kristin Wissler previews the regional premier of the “Un-Send Project,” a series of two-artist-created works connecting through the mail that will be at Wheelock College’s Towne Art Gallery in Boston, while Elizabeth Michelman spoke to curator Janet Kawada about the inspiration for “Is This Something?” — a question many creative folks ask themselves from time to time — at Lasell College’s Wedeman Gallery
As we were preparing to put this issue together, one of our biggest supporters, Solomon Mojtabai, father to our publisher, Kaveh Mojtabai, passed away. Over the 11 years of Artscope’s existence, I’ve had many warm, long conversations with him about our magazine and his words of support have served as invaluable guidance for all who’ve visited our Quincy office. My deepest sympathies — and those of the entire Artscope staff — go out to Kaveh, his mother, Nayier, and sister, Homa.