All posts filed under: art.

Quilts and Color at the Boston MFA

You still have a couple weeks to get to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to see the temporary exhibit, Quilts and Color.  It’s a total knockout, but not necessarily for the reasons why the MFA thinks it is.  Here’s how the museum describes the show: “Quilts and Color” celebrates the vibrant color palette and inventive design seen in the acclaimed Pilgrim/Roy Quilt Collection. The exhibition features nearly 60 distinctive quilts from the renowned collection and is the first to explore how, over five decades, trained artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy searched out and collected quilts with bold, eye-popping designs that echoed the work of mid-20th century Abstract Expressionist and Op Artists. “Quilts and Color,” as this summary describes, focuses on the quilt collection of a pair of artists, whose interest in color theory and Modern art led them to collect unappreciated and undervalued examples of mostly 19th century handmade American quilts, quilts with “eye-popping designs.”  This tight focus to the show led to two unusual and distinctive curatorial choices.  First: the quilts are …

a real renaissance: the arts in western MA.

Earlier this summer, I attended the Creative Communities Exchange in North Adams, MA, home to Mass MoCA.  North Adams has become something of a poster child for the creative economy, as the museum is housed in a former textile mill and the arts community has been a bright spot in the relatively dim economic outlook of the town and the region as a whole. A bit of context: North Adams is located in the Berkshires, home to countless nationally recognized arts organizations, such as Tanglewood and the Jacob’s Pillow dance festival, the Clark Museum and Shakespeare & Co.  There are already lots of arts supporters in the area.  There are already lots of artists in the area.  Essential to this story is the fact that the MoCA’s success is not replicable everywhere, and instead represents a well thought out, place-based strategy for post-industrial redevelopment.  The Berkshires now boasts an incredible creative economy advocacy organization, Berkshire Creative, one of the hosts of the conference.  They recognize that cultural production in their region can be a major …

drawing in public.

The Cambridge Arts Council did a fabulous exhibition at their gallery this past month.  It suggests an interesting alternate understanding of the term “public art,” and was very good looking to boot.  Here are some photos. *note* I am a member of the CAC, but have no affiliation with curating the exhibitions.  Maybe someday!

Confront the Art.

I went to Dallas last month for a family event and was *blown away* by the Dallas Museum of Art.  In particular, it has this incredible Center for Creative Connections that takes a more innovative approach to helping visitors think about artworks and technique.  Close to my heart, the exhibition on view at the C3 galleries when I was there was called “Encountering Space.”  In the museum’s own language: the exhibition “presents works of art from the Museum collections and asks visitors to consider how space is used to invite engagement, raise questions, and create meaning. As viewers begin to encounter works of art this way, they are no longer passive observers but active participants.”  Awesome, right? Ok here are some pics.  The first is from the C3 exhibit, and the second is from the Nasher Sculpture Gallery, an independent sculpture garden and gallery across the street from the DMA in what the city has called its “cultural district”. This James Turrell is absolutely exquisite, it’s the first I’ve seen in real life. Last is a …

Experiments in pop-up democracy

You’re probably wondering what I’m up to these days, since it’s certainly not writing on this blog.  Well, a lot actually!  I’m working on a lot of projects for school that build on the topics I write about here, like historic preservation and economic development, informal food economies, public art happenings, and, of course, politics.  Speaking of which, I have started working on a project on experiments in “pop-up democracy,” which takes the artist interventions I admire and imagines how they could be transformed to serve a more direct political purpose such as encouraging voter turnout and educated community input into planning decisions.   You can see my proposal for a pop-up democracy framework on Participedia (which is awesome and you should check out). Next step: making something pop up!