News that a great artist has died always raises the stakes for me; the responsibility of creating moving art and important discussions surrounding it is more immense, because there is one less innovator sharing the weight. Thom Shaw — one of Cincinnati's best known and most admired contemporary artists — passed away on July 6, 2010, due to complications from diabetes.
Food and art have interesting commonalities in the way they are carefully prepared, the way they affect our senses and, perhaps most of all, the attention we pay to them when we find them strikingly beautiful. Because of the actions associated with cooking and eating, food lends itself to performance. This is just what the local performance art group Pones Inc. has done with its most recent work, Rub, Dredge, Fry (Repeat).
Full Art Spectrum wants to bring mash-up techniques to the fine arts. This Friday at the Downtown Coffee Emporium the group will hold its first public event in which musicians and writers respond to visual arts on display there. There will be three paintings, each the product of three artists who are members of Full Art Spectrum. The artists worked individually — the first painting a layer, followed by the second, then the third — with sometimes-surprising results.
Although Cincinnati Form Follows Function — an organization for enthusiasts of Modern design and architecture called CF3 for short — has only been in existence since 2004, it already has come up with a potentially famous photograph of the city. It's a panorama taken from Bellevue Hill Park in Clifton Heights. And the success of it gives CF3 something special to celebrate at that very park this Saturday.
When not showing the late Raymond Thunder-Sky's "outsider art" oeuvre, the gallery named for him aims to promote expressive work in the same spirit, regardless of the artist's background: self-taught, art-school graduates, with or without diagnosed disabilities. The current show features Antonio Adams and Tony Dotson, neither of whom have any formal art training.
With more than 25 artists, Country Club's current exhibition serves as a massive visual "think tank" that questions the relevance of traditional art methods (the painstaking use of physical materials and handmade objects) in a world where life increasingly is experienced through mass-produced items and virtual communications. 'Pictures and Statues' continues through July 31.
The house in your head — the one nobody can foreclose on — is probably an element of the internal life of each of us. But what happens when six artists zero in on explicitly externalizing their visions of such a place? The results are 'The House in My Head,' which fills downtown's Weston Art Gallery through Aug. 29.
A single iconic quote from scholar W.E.B. DuBois inspired Tavis Smiley to begin a monumental quest to present the most comprehensive examination of "the African American imprint" on American society. When DuBois asked, "Would America have been America without her Negro people?" the question wasn't quite so simple. Smiley's resulting exhibition is on view through Jan. 2.
Cincinnati Art Museum's 'Walker Evans: Decade by Decade' opens with a rather bold statement that Evans is "probably the single greatest American photographer ever to have worked in the 20th century." An introduction like that certainly raises the stakes for an exhibition. I don't feel that, taken alone, the show proves he was the "single greatest" of the last century, but I also don't believe that's the show's objective.
In her new installation-sized project done especially for the Contemporary Arts Center, artist Pat Steir attempts to unify her splashy, drippy vocabulary of painting techniques with the cool, detached personality of Zaha Hadid's architecture. Steir manages to expand the basic language of the building, but one doesn't feel directed through the entire experience. I watched a number of viewers make it only halfway down the space before stopping, as if unmoored and lost at sea.
Photography is the artform that has most in common with comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Historically, it got no respect. Late-19th/early-20th-century Pictorialist photographers pushed the idea of photography-as-art, and the new Taft Museum exhibition plants their flag immediately with its title, 'Truth/Beauty,' echoing a phrase from poet John Keats' 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.'
In a town where the local music scene often struts its stuff by releasing compilation CDs, it's fitting that the first-rate homegrown creative design community is also looking for a little deserved attention. 'Twelve-Way With Cheese' is a a wonderfully retro project hearkening to the classic styles and campiness of comic books from a golden pre-digital age, and it's a cheap thrill, just as a comic book should be.
Probably the most eagerly awaited regional art museum event this summer isn’t an indoor exhibition at all. It’s the debut (on June 20) of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Indianapolis Museum of Art. But more locally, the Cincinnati Art Museum and Dayton Art Institute both have great summer shows planned.
"Fringe suggests that (which is) set apart from work aiming at marketability. It probably has a tendency to disturb. Fringe won't answer questions, it will present them." So says Cincinnati artist Robin Stinetorf in his statement for this year's Visual Fringe Festival. He's one of six artists (five humans and a horse) to comprise the visual art appendage of the Cincy Fringe Festival at the Art Academy.
Right now, the Carl Solway Gallery has a show important to its remarkable history. Works from the Gallery Collection features pieces by more than 60 major artists who, as the 75-year-old Solway puts it, mostly are “people of my generation or close to it.” But what’s most impressive about the show is the close relationship Solway has had with many of the artists including John Cage, Buckminster Fuller and Nam June Paik.