Welcome to our September/October 2021 issue, one planned in a time of optimism in which long- delayed exhibitions finally opened or neared theiropening and annual fall events and their related exhibitions that had to be canceled in 2020 get closer to taking place — even as art organizations and museums’ crucial fundraising events are being postponed — in many instances, for the second year in a row.
Safety is foremost on everyone’s minds. As we were going to press, venues were once again announcing masks were required for entry, whether visitors had been vaccinated or not. Most artists and writers with whom we’ve been in contact have been extra cautious over the past year and a half and are overly careful in terms of going out to openings or large gatherings.
We put together this issue with the hope you’ll be able to get out and see some of the artwork and exhibitions we’ve reviewed and previewed; keep in mind that most galleries will schedule visits during their off-hours by request and that some museums are — and will be — returning to scheduled ticketing.
More than anything, we know our readers need art to keep their hearts and souls beating.
When you’ve lived somewhere for an extended period of time, or, as a writer, covered the same venues for a number of years, it’s hard to approach an assignment with fresh eyes. Having only recently arrived in the Boston area, and being skilled in being able to visit a large city and its cultural institutions and somehow fit them all into a tidy travelogue, KT Browne was the perfect person to send to five of greater Boston’s museums — the Peabody Essex, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts and the Rose at Brandeis University. Not only does she point out the shouldn’t miss attractions for first time visitors, but also unique aspects of each venue that those of you who’ve visited them numerous times may have never noticed.
Linda Chestney gives us a fascinating look at the work and life of Philadelphia-born Roberto Lugo, who ignored the discouragement of teachers to carve his own place in the world as an artist, and his “Te traigo mi le lo lai — I bring you my joy” exhibition at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, allows the artist of Puerto Rican-descent to “speak on behalf of people where I come from.”
“Rhode Island I.M.A.G.I.N.E.s Peace,” which takes its inspiration from metalsmith Boris Bally’s more extensive title for his goal of encouraging the ceasing of expanding gun violence in the United States — “Innovative Merger of Art and Guns to Inspire New Expressions of Peace” — has been on hold for the past year due to Covid. It arrives at Rhode Island College’s Bannister Gallery after a summer when Providence experienced too much gun-related violence; Suzanne Volmer’s preview of the show couldn’t be timelier.
Ai Weiwei is a name most of us have heard over the past two decades but not have grasped the importance of his work. Marguerite Serkinvisited the Chinese-born Weiwei’s “Tradition and Dissent” exhibition at Springfield Museums and as she always does with socially-oriented work, be it from the United States or another part of the world, she explains why his work is important in a world where peace can feel as if it’s slipping out of our reach.
Cape Cod-based Lee Roscoe spoke with landscape painter Mitchell Johnson just prior to his leaving his California home for the Faroe Islands (and a fresh period of paintings); he’ll be returning to the states for his “Sixteen Years in Truro: Selected Paintings 2005-2021” exhibition that takes place from September 6 through 17 at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. His paintings continue the long history of artists who’ve managed to capture the color and magic of the Outer Cape region. Allow yourself the pleasure of seeing the work in person — or on his Instagram page (mitchell_johnson_artist).
Roscoe also spotlights Robert Henry’s “Solo Moments” exhibition that’s on view through September 11, a short drive down Route 6 into Provincetown at the Berta Walker Gallery (although we’re sure you could see the work by request after that date). Lee’s own comprehensive and beautifully illustrated book, “Wampanoag Arts and Artisans,” will be published this fall and available online, as well as in bookstores.
Elizabeth Michelman talks with Louise Farrell about her “Fate” exhibition – “An imposing 10-foot structure dripping skeins and strands of dismembered rope” that’s on view in September at the Kingston Gallery in Boston’s SoWa District.
Elayne Clift took in the work of the 10 artists composing the collection of the “Yester House 2021 Solo Exhibitions” in reviewing the current collection of shows at the Southern Vermont Art Center while it took an extraordinary effort on the part of juror (and renowned wildlife painter) Anni Crouter, New England Watercolor Society acting president P. Anthony Visco and Artscope’s Kristin Nord to ensure that we were able to preview NEWS’s Biennial 2021 Regional Juried Exhibition that will be taking place this October at Arts Center East in Vernon, Connecticut.
So much activity has taken place in and around ArtSpace Maynard over the past few years that I felt we needed someone who’s experienced the town’s artistic growth firsthand to convey what has been taking place. The Myth Makers, AKA Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson, contribute to this issue with a story written while Andy was the artist-in-residence at Westport Land Conservation Trust’s Westport Woods Conservation Park in Massachusetts, and Donna was working on a commissioned sculpture while preparing to travel to Vienna on a Fulbright Fellowship.
This issue of Artscope Magazine will be available in the Magazines Sector of Art Basel Switzerland, the public viewing of which is scheduled for September 24 through 26. Nancy Nesvet’s preview of this year’s event, delayed from its traditional June date, also serves as a strong overview of the state of the arts on an international scale in late 2021.
We continue to supplement our magazine coverage with additional reviews and previews in the Artscope Online section at artscopemagazine.com, through our Artscope app — available at app.artscopemagazine. com, and via our twice-monthly email blasts!: subscribe at artscopemagazine.com/email-blasts/.
So, dig in, enjoy and please be safe over the months ahead. We can’t convey how much we appreciate the support you’ve given us over the past months and year. Please keep the conversation going!
Brian Goslow, Managing Editor [email protected]