Dear Artscope reader,
It felt too familiar, too similar to December 14, 2012, when the events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, unfolded as we were putting our first issue of 2013 to press. The October 25 shooting in Lewiston, Maine took place, for us, under similar circumstances, the Artscope staff pulling together this issue that includes a preview of the “Native Exploding Inevitable” exhibition that was scheduled to open a few nights later at the Bates College Museum of Art, an opening postponed when most of the surrounding area went into a safety lockdown. The long-planned exhibition was intended to be a celebration of Indigenous people and through modern artworks, a door to new discussion on recognizing their contributions, past, present and in the future, to the land on which we live.
Lee Roscoe, author of “Wampanoag Art for the Ages – Traditional and Transitional,” was the perfect person to explore this exciting collection of contemporary Indigenous artists. Roscoe also caught up with Deb Mell, whose shaman-esque sci-fi-meets-primitive-times paintings and sculpture on view at Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown are a reminder that sometimes it’s best to let the imagination travel where it wants.
I was able to do that when viewing the “Always Be Around: Corita Kent, Community, and Pedagogy” exhibition at the Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross. Kent’s bright colored serigraphs lit up the gallery as did the several installations that encouraged visitors to pick up a pen, paper or marker and create their own contribution of what art meant to them and who inspires them. It’s a great show and a great learning experience.
Worcester residents and visitors alike have the good luck to have, three miles from the Holy Cross campus, another landmark exhibition by another landmark teacher, curated by a name that should be familiar to our readers.
At some point during my walk through of the “Faith Ringgold: Freedom to Say What I Please” show with organizer, Samantha Cataldo, the Worcester Art Museum’s Associate Curator of Art, she mentioned having worked with our writers on past stories. I immediately recalled the groundbreaking Arghavan Khosravi exhibition at the Currier Museum of Art that we had covered and featured on the cover of our May/June 2022 issue that Cataldo had curated and helped us review despite the paint on some of the paintings in show still being wet on our deadline day. It was a reminder of how much of what you read in Artscope Magazine is the result of connections, friendships and relationships that have been built over our 17 and a half years in business.
If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to open a gallery or community center — or to have tried to improve your city and town’s arts culture — you know that can be a several decades long mission. Back in 1988, while working towards earning my Urban Studies degree at then Worcester State College (now University), I spent a semester researching housing and economic development in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, during which time it was, like many old industrial cities, down on its luck while still having much of its character and architecture. How to help bring its Main Street back to life? Those late ‘80s plans included galleries and artist studios filling some of its empty space.
Thirty-five years later, Artscope looks at the Fitchburg Arts Community, a coordinated and committed effort to redevelop three abandoned municipal buildings adjacent to Fitchburg Art Museum, to “allow Fitchburg to take advantage of its natural strengths and continue its transition to the creative economy” through the reporting of Ami Bennitt of the #ARTSTASYSHERE Coalition, who continues her series on communities battling to keep their current homes and to create new ones.
Bennitt also reviews “Dialogues, Diasporas, and Detours through Africa,” the inaugural exhibition of the Fitchburg Art Museum’s Black Artist Residency presented in conjunction with Where Are All the Black People At (WAATBP), a Boston-based grassroots organization founded by fine art photographer Archy LaSalle.
Linda Sutherland traveled to Kennebunk, Maine to the Brick Store Museum to see the “Pastel Society of Maine’s 23rd Annual International Juried Show” that features over 16 artists from 14 states, plus China and Canada and to the Rochester Museum of Fine Art in New Hampshire to see Brandon Cable’s “Rat Knight in Rochester” exhibition of his comic book art.
The Boston Printmakers are celebrating their 75th anniversary with several exhibitions throughout the Greater Boston region; Rachel Flood Page reviews the “Boston Printmakers 2023 North American Print Biennial” at Boston University’s 808 Gallery.
Margie Serkin returns to these pages to review three shows at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst: “Artists, Born Elsewhere – Selections from the UMCA’s Permanent Collection” that explores the effects of displacement and relocation, along with “Displaced: Raida Adon’s Strangeness,” a couldn’t be more painfully timely video gripping tension between fortitude and fragility in its treatment of migration by Adon, who herself was born into a multi-faith Palestinian family in the city of Acre, Israel; and “Susan Yard Harris: Dialogue with a Collection,” featuring abstract drawings by Harris alongside the lyrically infused prints of Mexican-born American artist Edda Renouf.
With all the recent focus on conflict, it’s easy to forget how worried we were about global warming earlier in 2023. Marjorie Kayevisited the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gallery 51 in North Adams to explore its “Reflecting Ecologies: Artists in Nature” exhibition in which artists Bill Botzow, Joan Hanley, Melanie Mowinski, Malaika Ross, Greg Scheckler and Ashley Eliza Williamsshare reminders of what we’re protecting in the culture of climate change.
Another artist whose work asks us to stop and reflect on what (or whom) stands before us is photographer Amy Montali, whose Rhode Island studio Suzanne Volmer visited to preview her “Thief” exhibition of portraits that will be on view at the University of Rhode Island’s Banister Gallery.
Everyone loves having their own neighborhood coffeeshop; how about one that has a huge art gallery attached to it? Marta Pauer-Tursivisits the ArtHound Gallery in Essex, Vermont to get the story of how John and Jennifer Churchman created a 13,000 square foot space that has become home to the work of over 350 Vermont artists and artisans.
This December 8 through 10, Artscope will once again return to Art Basel Miami Beach where this issue will be available in its Magazine Sector. In recent months, Claudia Fiks attended the Armory Show in New York and the 35th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil; she shares those experiences as a guide for what to expect at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Fiks also visited Sitka Home Art Gallery on Boston’s Newbury Street to get a sneak preview of Sitka’s original sketches, paintings, printed swatches, accessories & garments that will be on display in the “My Hand Behind Ralph Lauren Prints: 1990s-2015” exhibition that opens on November 14.
The staff of Artscope Magazine thanks you for your readership, partnership and friendship over the past year and wish you a safe holiday season.
Brian Goslow, managing editor