One of the things we all miss the most due to the pandemic is our one-on-one meetings at gallery and museum openings, whether with old friends or someone whose work screams out getting to know this person better. With everyone missing that regular communication, it seemed fitting, as the months add up, to include a series of “visits” to find out how people, regions and the business of art was getting on.
Ron Fortier talked with three South Coast artists: David Baggarly on looking after his parents while recovering from a detached retina and back surgery that has kept him from his love of, and need to, paint and worrying about his wife, Abby, who works as a nurse; Jamaican-born, wheelchair bound Roy St. Christopher Rossow, who’s been working on commissioned and exhibition-bound works while reflecting on his life;Vermont-born, Dartmouth, Massachusetts-based Stephen Remick on putting aside his usual focus— landscape paintings — to create a dramatic series of portraits of healthcare workers that hold the toil of the past six months in their faces.
Wanting to capture a feel for what was going on behind the scenes of those in charge of finding the best way to reopen and safely keep open our galleries and museums, I exchanged questions with Claudia Fiks, founder of Arts Administration Association New England, whose weekly Sip & Chat allow the rapid sharing of information behind these decisions and the ability to brainstorm the challenges ahead.
I know I’m not alone in feeling homesick for those few days a year that we all cherish having on the Cape; Pete Hocking, curating manager at Four Eleven Gallery and vice- chair of Provincetown Commons, discussed how the online Ptown Gallery Stroll served as a guide for those who did make it to “world’s end” and those who it allowed to visit virtually.
Guild of Boston Artists’ director Alexander Ciesielski, explained how the Newbury Street mainstay since 1914 suddenly found itself unable to open, readjusted how it promoted its artists during a pandemic and used the “down time” to prepare itself for the years ahead.
Suzanne Volmer had been slated to preview the New Britain Museum of American Art’s “Some Day is Now: Women, Art and Social Change” exhibition in our previous issue when its opening was delayed as the state’s museums waited for word on when they could reopen. The show, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the United States, features ephemera from the Women’s Suffrage Movement and groundbreaking works by 21 women artists.
Many galleries have created exhibitions out of work made by local artists during the stay-at-home orders; Marta Pauer Tursi takes an in-person look at “Stay Home/Stay Safe [Executive Order 01-20],” which is on view at Burlington City Arts through October 10, as well as on their website. “The global pandemic has placed us each in a tiny universe, the tiniest universe of all, the one we call home. What we make of it is up to us,” she writes.
Also online, beginning on September 15, will be “High Contrast: The Charcoal Works of Gordon D. Chase,” a virtual exhibition presented by the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy. Chase recently retired after 40 years as a teacher and administrator at the school; Flavia Cigliano talked with Chase about his background, career and large-format charcoal drawings that, while they look fabulous on a screen, really need to be seen in person.
One aspect of having to stay at or near home has been a new-found appreciation for our backyards and nearby parks and garden spaces and the stories behind them. In reviewing “Stories of Maine: An Incomplete History,” which will be at the Portland Museum of Art through next spring, Hannah Carrigan finds “intertwining themes, stories and symbolisms” that show the state’s 200-year history has a lot of tell us in today’s battle to convince people of the need to appreciate and preserve our environment and cultural traditions.
We’ve been pleased to hear from advertisers about sales they achieved this summer through their hard work in adjusting to our changing world.
Printmaker Bob Tomolillo shared that five institutions have purchased copies of his “Boston Massacre Plate Engraving with Crispus Attucks.” A work from Marilyn Kalish’s “Human Rights” series that we displayed in our booth at Art Basel Miami Beach last December sold earlier this summer.
Paul Pedulla’s been selling work during SoWa Artist Guild studio sittings on Sundays as well as galleries nationwide, his works lending themselves as perfect gifts for friends and family members as well as warm additions to a home.
Miller White Fine Arts reported a huge sale to a new collector and is excited about its “Abstraction, Then & Now: Paintings by Jane Eccles” exhibition that opens on September 4.
As some large public venues close their facilities due to COVID fears and the challenge of maintaining social distancing, to fill the void, museums with ample parking and outdoor spaces, including Fuller Craft, are hosting micro-weddings as a way to provide a space as well as to recover some of its revenues.
Cross Rip Gallery in Harwich Port, Massachusetts has seen a number of new people “pop in” to the Cape Cod gallery, as well as many of the collectors they’ve formed relationships with since opening two-and-a- half years ago, since it reopened at the end of June. “I think that it is a good sign going forward as it indicates that people who appreciate fine abstract and figurative art will not let the pandemic discourage their interest,”owner Georgene Riedl said.
We’re proud to have maintained our bi-monthly publication schedule in continuing to be a voice for New England artists, galleries, museums and arts organizations and continue to encourage the region’s curators and directors to take grassroots initiatives in making their collections more inclusive to artists of all origins and backgrounds in making everyone feel welcomed when they visit. As we’ve seen in the final weeks of August, hashtagged-themed support isn’t enough in a society that continues to find true equality elusive.
We hope you enjoy this issue, our third in the series of issues that we’ve put out under the heavy specter of COVID-19; if you’ve missed any of the previous issues, which we put our hearts and souls into, they can be ordered both digitally in tablet form worldwide in your App Store and in print magazine form at artscopemagazine.com. Thanks to all of you for your continued support.