As 2021 comes to a close, we all take a collective sigh while still not sure what the future holds. While not containing some of the “look back” features weekly and monthly publications utilize to capsulize a year, I think you’ll find this issue pulls together a collection of reviews and previews for exhibitions whose artists have captured their personal experiences since the first shutdown of March 2020 in their artwork, museums and galleries catching up on shows that had been delayed, and artists who couldn’t wait to finally share it with audiences in-person.
Our issue opens with Marta Pauer-Tursi previewing “The Dysfunction of Social Practice” which opens on November 20 at Kimball Jenkins in Concord, New Hampshire. For her, the exhibition, curated by Karina Kelley and Bill Stelling of Kelley Stelling Contemporary, touched off how our forced stay-at-home lifestyle of the past two years has brought on a feeling of nostalgia, and how the missing of community felt by its artists is conveyed. With one catch: “But nostalgia comes with its own heavy hand and caprice, often remembering a past that never was,” Pauer-Tursi writes.
Pine Manor College staff photographer and graphic designer Tamar Orell Petler endured several personal challenges during the past 18 or so months, including the loss of her father. Her own way of persevering was taking pictures – lot of pictures – mainly of her everyday surroundings that she used as a reminder of not only how fragile life is, but how precious every little part of it can be. Many of those images have made their way into her first exhibition,
“A Journey Through the Covid-19 Pandemic” that’s reviewed by Lee Roscoe and opens at the Hess Gallery on December 5.
Another story of strength, that of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based painter Donald Langosy, is shared by James Foritano. Before muscular dystrophy struck him in the early 1990s, Langosy traveled extensively and rather than dwell on his physical challenges, on a daily basis, he picks up his paint brush and channels many of those past memories of travel and exploration through art history. Those works are celebrated in “Excerpts from My Studio,” an exhibition lovingly curated by his daughter, Zoe Langosy, that can be seen through December 12 at the Multicultural Arts Center in East Cambridge.
One thing that Artscope has always strived for is providing a platform, through our internship program, for a new generation of students interested in the arts to engage with the various parts of the industry. As part of its arts education program that has developed a healthy series of arts professionals, Dartmouth College’s “A Space for Dialogue” program gives students the opportunity to curate an exhibition from its huge collection of artworks. In reviewing its current offering, “Images of Disability,” curated by Dartmouth senior Maeve McBride, “carries the overt depiction of triumph in the face of perceived limitation, but there is a more discreet message as well, of an intrinsic grace and dignity among those portrayed which cannot be extinguished,” writes Marguerite Serkin in her review of the show.
After one of the strangest academic years in history, regional campuses have reopened and in most instances, so have their museums and galleries. The Bates College Museum of Art was just reopening as Linda Chestney began previewing its “An Adventurous Spirit: The
Jane Costello Wellehan Collection” exhibition that opens on November 6 and features the work of over 50 Maine artists. KT Browne was truly excited to cover the “Language, Sequence, Structure: Photographic Works by Lew Thomas, Donna-Lee Phillips and Hal Fischer exhibition at Addison Gallery of American Art, noting,
“This work jumps out to me especially for the questions it raises about the relationship between language and image.” She was also surprised by the enormity of the institution’s collection, which demanded a future return trip.
Installations at the Montserrat College of Art Galleries always provide insight into newer ideas working their way into modern artmaking; Taryn Plumb reviews two shows taking place there till December 10: “Rob Roy: Dispatches” and “Jessica Lau: Disembodied Identities.” I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to see and learn about “The Art of Elizabeth Catlett from the Collection of Samella Lewis” exhibition that’s on view at the Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross. I’d strongly encourage you to plan to see the show before it closes on December 15.
Along with holiday shows, there are a number of regular exhibitions well worth your time. Beth Neville previews the “Sisters of the Brush and Palette: Women Artists of the Guild” exhibition at the Guild of Boston Artists that was opening right after we went to press, while Suzanne Volmer revisits the work of Annu Palakunnathu Matthew in reviewing her “ReVision” exhibition that’s on view through January 9 at the Newport Art Museum.
Evan Bieder recently opened the lionheART Bridgeport art space in loving memory of his grandparents, Bonnie and Richard Bieder. His second article for Artscope previews this year’s Bridgeport Art Trail, taking place on November 11 through 14. It’s one of many similar events taking place throughout New England and this year, more than any other year, get out and reinvigorate your soul seeing and supporting the work of local artists.
In our May/June 2021 issue, I interviewed Claudia Fiks, founder of Arts Administration Association New England. In this issue, she reports on the 34th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil, where she returned home to see immediate family for the first time since being apart for many months because of the pandemic. “I have been visiting the São Paulo Biennial almost every year since 1985,” said Fiks, currently the director of development and Institutional Advancement at Fuller Craft Museum. “It was particularly special to me to be there this year to witness and celebrate such a high moment of free artistic expression in Brazil.”
Whether in-person or digitally, the art world returns to the Miami Beach Convention Center for Art Basel Miami Beach, with public viewing of the event schedule for December 2, 3 and 4. Once again, Artscope will be an exhibitor in the Magazines Sector, sharing the art and artists of New England with the world. Artscope publisher Kaveh Mojtabai will be there along with national correspondent Nancy Nesvet, who previews some of the artists promising to grab viewers’ attention and sales.
It will be a great way to celebrate having stayed together, whether in-person, online, via phone calls or Zoom, through the long year. Thanks to all of Artscope’s devoted readers, supporters and advertisers for helping us lay the groundwork for future successes, together.