MFA report: Hrag Vartanian finds “home” in RISD painting studios

MFA exhibitions invariably must encompass a vast range of disparate material, and it’s a stiff challenge for a guest curator to create a unified show that frames a cohesive experience for the viewer. This year, the RISD MFA Painting Program invited Hrag Vartanian, the talented editor and co-publisher of Hyperallergic, to curate the MFA exhibition for its painting students. Vartanian decided to view the work through … read more… “MFA report: Hrag Vartanian finds “home” in RISD painting studios”

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Art and film: “Detroit” and Faulkner’s truth

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / William Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That is a key truth about one of his central concerns – race in America. Kathryn Bigelow, in her harrowingly compelling film Detroit, uses that truth as a kind of nightstick with which to beat the audience … read more… “Art and film: “Detroit” and Faulkner’s truth”

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Quick study

Articles this week concern talented female artists over 60, playwrights tackling the heartbreaking heroin epidemic, the link between smart phones and teenage depression, Donald Trump’s stupid drawing, art dealers’ advice on how to close your gallery, the Seattle Art Fair (!), and, alas, a new Dana Schutz controversy.

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Philadelphia conversation: Lovitz, Hoffmann, Granwell at Fleisher/Ollman

Contributed by Becky Huff Hunter / Alchemy, Typology, Entropy at Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia, features painting and sculpture by three talented artists who live and work locally: Adam Lovitz, Peter Allen Hoffmann, and Alexis Granwell. The exhibition is one of several fantastic shows curated by Alex Baker this year—including Cryptopictos, Painters Sculpting/Sculptors Painting, and Person, Place or … read more… “Philadelphia conversation: Lovitz, Hoffmann, Granwell at Fleisher/Ollman”

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Images: Elizabeth Gilfilen

After a period exploring the notion of restraint–paring down her palette and limiting the number of marks–Elizabeth Gilfilen has returned to epic struggle. In her pulsating new large-scale canvases, Gilfilen pits clashing colors against one another in snaking layers and agitated line, filling once pristine areas with murky, mark-cancelling clots of paint. She is a painter who thrives … read more… “Images: Elizabeth Gilfilen”

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Selections: Trestle’s big show of small works

Contributed by Sharon Butler / This year Trestle Gallery’s summer group show, “Small Work,” was curated by Bill Carroll, a painter and the director at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program. Selecting work for this kind of show, defined not by theme but simply by size, is always difficult. Carroll says he was … read more… “Selections: Trestle’s big show of small works”

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Recognition for artists: Sondheim Artscape Prize in Baltimore

Baltimore’s most prestigious art prize is the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, a sizable fellowship awarded to artists who live or work in the Baltimore region. Unlike the DeCordova Museum of Art’s Rappaport Prize, which was recently awarded to Sam Durant, an artist who grew up in the Boston area but now lives in California, the … read more… “Recognition for artists: Sondheim Artscape Prize in Baltimore”

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Film: A strategic retreat’s smirk of defiance in DUNKIRK

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson /In his paradoxically granular war epic Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan assumes viewers know that the British Army’s 1940 strategic retreat from the eponymous French coastal town was crucial to Allied victory in World War II, minimizing narrative exposition and personal back-story and thrusting the audience straight into onslaught, survival, and endeavor. Nolan employs three … read more… “Film: A strategic retreat’s smirk of defiance in DUNKIRK”

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Adirondack idyll: Jay Invitational of Clay, Rockwell Kent, Ausable Chasm & more

Contributed by Sharon Butler and Jonathan Stevenson / Some artists go upstate to get away from the art world in the summer, and others gather an art world around them wherever they go. We went up to the Adirondacks recently to visit the summer outpost of Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts in Jay, New York, where founders Jason … read more… “Adirondack idyll: Jay Invitational of Clay, Rockwell Kent, Ausable Chasm & more”

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Fiction: Light [Rand Richards Cooper]

FOR THIS EDITION of the summer fiction column, my old friend Rand Richards Cooper has contributed “Light,” a poignant story  published in Big as Life, his 1996 collection of short fiction. In “Light” Cooper imagines reconnecting with our old high school art teacher. –SB

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