Welcome to our final issue of 2019! We compiled its contents knowing that what you’re holding will be sitting front and center at our official exhibitors’ booth at Art Basel Miami Beach from December 5 through 9 at the Miami Beach Convention Center and that it’s a unique opportunity for us to bring the New England region’s artists, museums, galleries and cultural organizations to the attention of the art patrons, collectors, and major museum and gallery stakeholders in attendance.
It’s equally as important to direct you, our readers, to the artists, exhibitions and venues whose works continue to rise above the chatter of the day to inspire our cultural communities to gather, share experiences and bond together as one in working for a better world.
That’s never easy during the period of the year when the first fall shows are coming down and the new ones are going up just as we’re reaching the production stage of our next issue. Knowing we’d be bringing this issue to Miami Beach, we stretched our deadline towards the breaking point to see shows that opened just as we began laying out its pages.
Elizabeth Michelman attended the press opening for “In the Company of Artists: 25 Years of Artists-in-Residence” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; the New Britain Museum of American Art allowed J. Fatima Martins an early viewing of its “For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design” exhibition as did Burlington City Arts to Marta Pauer Tursi for its “Transcendent: Spirituality in Contemporary Art” show.
Rhode Island artists Mary Anne Friel and Leslie Hirst invited Suzanne Volmer to their Pawtucket studios to see the work — some of it still in progress — that will be on view in their “Of Rock and Air” exhibition beginning November 21 at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler in Providence.
As museums and galleries continue to discuss ways of attracting new audiences and shows tied to successful movie and comic and graphic novel themes seem to attract fresh faces to these institutions, good timing allowed us to look at two exhibitions inspired by the two companies that have battled each other throughout most of our lifetimes – through the eyes of two writers we’re glad to have back in our pages.
Ami Bennitt reviews the DC-inspired “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder” exhibition at the Addison Gallery at Andover Academy while Don Wilkinson explores the inspiration for John Magnan’s Marvel-inspired “Thor’s Hammer” sculpture collection at the Narrows Center for the Arts.
Taryn Plumb whose book “New England UFOs: Sightings, Abductions, and Other Strange Phenomena” came out earlier this year, also returns to review one of the not-to-bemissed shows of 2019: “N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives” at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine.
With some of the largest protests against economic inequality in Chilean history currently taking place, Flavia Cigliano’s review of Santiago-born Daniela Rivera’s “Labored Landscapes (where hand meets ground)” exhibition at the Fitchburg Art Museum couldn’t be timelier. Artscope is proud to be sponsoring this show — which Cigliano writes, “explores the relationship between labor, laborer and the labored landscape” in Chile — and our coverage is reflective of how we continuously strive to present artists whose work addresses social and political issues and use that awareness to transform those structural differences in our era.
Along with devoting endless hours researching the dramatic changes effecting corporate funding in the art work as patrons question the ethics of some of those donations for this issue, our national correspondent, Nancy Nesvet, sat down to talk with Judy Chicago during the opening week of her “The End” exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. If you can’t make to see the show, read Nesvet’s cover story in this issue.
I was putting this issue together under the shadow of the passing of Francis “Tuck” Amory, one of my life mentors as an Urban Studies major at Worcester State University (WSU), from which I graduated in 1989 and whom, after I joined Artscope in 2006, I would run into at almost every art opening I attended in town and without fail, was always looking to have me network with artists whose work he felt I should know about, whether it be someone attending a local high school or a photographer in the midst of a major publication.
In recent years, while fighting repeated battles with cancer, “Tuck” passionately worked on a major fundraising event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of WSU’s Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery next June. Without fail, every time we crossed paths, he would enthusiastically run me a list of those he wanted to participate over coffee and pry me for some new names of those who might make the event more successful.
In his final weeks, I found out, Tuck also worked to make sure I’d be made aware of, and review, the gallery’s current exhibition, “Crossroads: 4 Perspectives,” featuring Donna Hamil Talman, Debra Claffey, Cheryl Weissbach and Patricia Gerkin. I reviewed their show in his honor.
An importance lesson here? Learn to cherish your time with friends and take advantage of the time you might have to talk with an artist whose work speaks to you. Those experiences are priceless — and irreplaceable.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a huge amount of thanks to not only the writers who made this issue possible, but the great support given by copy editor Isabel Barbi, senior media developer and graphic designer Vanessa Boucher, intern Olivia MacDonald – who kept Artscope Online fresh with new weekly content and reviews and Kristin Wissler for producing our long-running biweekly Artscope email Blasts! that allow us to expand our reach beyond the contents of this issue.
If you find yourself in Miami Beach attending Art Basel, make sure to come over to the Magazine Sector and stop by the Artscope Magazine booth and say hello; similarly, if you’re exhibiting there or at one of the other satellite fairs taking place that week, make sure to send us an invite so we can drop by to see your work.
More importantly, if you’re having a show anywhere in the New England region in the year ahead, make a new year’s resolution to send us your press releases and a few high-resolution images to [email protected] to help us plan our coverage for 2020.
The past 12 months has been quite a ride for all of us and we appreciate the continued support the New England arts community has given Artscope Magazine. We’re looking forward to seeing you out in the galleries, museums and open studios again soon.