In art, as in life, context is key. An
image that would otherwise be treated with contempt — or worse, blithe
indifference — can be illuminated with only a few facts. Likewise,
stripped of its context, a piece of art can become something else
entirely as the viewer imagines a contextual framework for the art.
You can feel like you’re viewing the
history of photography — as well as American history — from one of those
disorienting, spinning Rotor amusement-park rides as you walk through
Taft Museum of Art’s Enduring Spirit: Edward Curtis and the North American Indians.
“Don’t know much about history,” Sam
Cooke sang. The good news is that you don’t have to know much about art
history to tune into a wonderful world at Thunder-Sky, Inc.’s History Channel: New Art from Old Art.
In Latin, “vesper” means “evening star”
or, more commonly, just “evening” — a junction of night and day.
Although it refers to a surname in the Contemporary Arts Center’s new
exhibit from Titus Kaphar, The Vesper Project, the word feels right at home.
Cincinnati has had its share of
alternative spaces and indie nonprofit galleries — sometimes co-ops or
collectives — where contemporary artists show their work and try out new
ideas in curating, exhibiting and community engagement.
Matt Distel’s smartly curated exhibition, Now Here: Theoretical Landscapes, is a broad
sampling of more than 20 regional artists who mine personal and
universal landscapes to present hypothetical meditations on locations of
space and time.
The star attraction of The Total Look,
the new Cincinnati Art Museum exhibit opening Saturday that features
fashion designs of the late Rudi Gernreich, is the one-piece topless
bathing suit (or monokini) that he designed for women in 1964.
When we think about grand historical
myths — things like the American Dream, Manifest Destiny or every war,
for example — it’s important to acknowledge that society buys into these
widespread accepted “truths” because of all the supporting evidence.