This may seem a strange way to start a
review of the year in Cincinnati’s visual arts, but the piece that stays
with me the most — haunts me, really — doesn’t even fit any traditional
definition of art.
If you’re looking for cliché presents, head to your
nearest department store. If you and your favorite recipients are
looking for a memorable exhibit, head to the Weston Art Gallery for Straight from the Soul, a 25-year retrospective by the Atlanta artist.
Matthew Rolston has taken close-up portraits, startlingly realistic
headshots, of some 200 figures — colloquially known as dummies — at Fort
Mitchell, Ky.’s Vent Haven ventriloquism museum. The results are in a
new book, Talking Heads, to be published next month by Pointed Leaf Press.
NINE is just fine — both the name and the Carnegie exhibit. The title discloses only the number of
artists, who represent ceramics, sculpture, painting, glass and mixed
media. The show is without an obvious or assigned theme. But rather than
feeling like a mish-mash, it works.
If Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Herb Ritts
could have a drink together, they’d find so much to talk about that the
drinks might just keep coming. The Cincinnati Art Museum’s total
collection of Toulouse-Lautrec prints (43) and posters (eight) fill
niches at right and left of the Great Hall balcony entrance to Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, providing that sensuous outlay of black and white photographs with an historic backdrop.
Plodding feet and murmuring voices mingle
up the gallery stairs. Students Alvin, Ben, Chad and Matt have arrived
from local community building organization Starfire and settle in front
of laptops loaded with their digital photos as another day of art
education begins at Prairie Gallery.
Nestled between Black Plastic Records and
Styles of Essence, 4029 Hamilton Ave. is a modest building with a sign
reading, “Northside International Airport” adorning the storefront. The
name itself coupled with the chalkboard outside advertising tacos is
enough to pique the interest of passersby.
Why are Hollywood glamour photographs on
display at the Taft Museum of Art? FotoFocus isn’t reason enough; the
Taft likes to establish a tie between the renowned permanent collection
and temporary exhibitions. So what is Myrna Loy doing here?
Shooting outdoors separated photographer Herb Ritts from
studio-based New York peers. In addition to Malibu and El Mirage, Ritts
used a rooftop studio. He established a fun, “organic” working
environment, enabling him to cajole his subjects and develop an
“anti-glamour” style of celebrity photography.
Tyler Shields’ Klout Score is probably through the roof. Although he is prone to superlatives,
someone less familiar with his work might find this statement mere
braggadocio. But Shields credits his online presence as the reason he is
so successful as a multi-disciplinary artist.