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The Big Picture
 

Richard Hamilton: Pop Art Pioneer

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 5, 2011
At Carl Solway Gallery in the West End, on a wall by a stairway leading up to his office, is a small but heartfelt tribute to the British Pop Art pioneer Richard Hamilton, who died last month at age 89. On the wall is one of Hamilton’s prints: “Kent State,” based on a photographic image he snapped from his television set during news coverage of the 1970 killing by Ohio National Guard troops of four university students on their campus.  

A Houston Art Pilgrimage

0 Comments · Tuesday, September 20, 2011
As a devotee of the kind of enigmatically mysterious, ambitious conceptual art installations — sometimes minimalist, sometimes abstracted or color-field — that can be called “spiritual,” I’ve made pilgrimages to some pretty unusual places. The rationale behind such art often is that remoteness adds to the intensity of the experience.
  

UC Replants Crystal Garden

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 7, 2011
While University of Cincinnati’s relocation and reinstallation of Dennis Oppenheim’s “Crystal Garden” wasn’t meant as a memorial to the internationally renown sculptor, it ends up being that. The decision to make the work a much more prominent piece of UC’s itself-internationally-renowned campus landscape was arrived at in November 2010, before Oppenheim’s January death from liver cancer at age 72. The New York-based sculptor had even signed off on the move at the end of December.   

Art Museums Are Becoming Fashionable

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I have seen the future of art museums and it is fashion/costume design. That’s a paraphrase of a famous review Jon Landau wrote upon seeing an early Bruce Springsteen concert, but I felt as if I’d just discovered the art-museum-world equivalent — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit.  

Madeira Celebrates British Punk Rock

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Who knew that Madeira is a hotbed of British Punk Rock scholarship? Those familiar with the quiet, upscale northeast Cincinnati community might think its musical interests fall more toward Streisand and Manilow than The Damned and The Sex Pistols. But there in the Madeira Branch library, in a wall case in the long entryway corridor, is the display “The A-Z of UK Punk Rock and Post Punk.”  

Revisiting Cincinnati's Bootlegging King

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Thanks to documentarian Ken Burns ('The Civil War,' 'Baseball' and the upcoming 'Prohibition'), the Delhi Historical Society's Farmhouse Museum has a potentially popular exhibit coming up. And it has nothing to do with farming or with the fact that Delhi once was known as The Floral Paradise of Ohio because it had 55 greenhouses. Instead, it's about illegal booze and murder — the life story of George Remus.  

Saving a Rookwood Fireplace

3 Comments · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The 2007 reopening of West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana ranks as one of America’s finest architectural renovations in recent memory. With its magnificent dome standing 130 feet high above a grand atrium, spanning 208 feet across that atrium’s floor and above five circular floors of hotel rooms that look into the space, it (almost) is like a built-environment equivalent of looking at the Grand Canyon.  

Holocaust Museum Discusses New Project

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington has many active supporters in the Cincinnati area, including the local Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. As a result, the museum’s director of curatorial affairs, Scott Miller, came last week to Amberley’s Adath Israel Congregation to discuss a sensitive ongoing oral history project. Implicit in the visit was a call for donations, despite the ongoing recession, because time is of the essence.  

Cincinnati Art Museum Chooses Its Greatest Hits

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Even though the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Schmidlapp Gallery holds important Egyptian, Roman and Greek antiquities, it seems more a conduit than a destination. The display cases are no match for the determination of visitors to get where they’re going. As a result, the whole area itself has seemed antiquated. But a big change is coming.  

CAC Moves to Add Performance Curator

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Many people don’t realize that — as Raphaela Platow, Contemporary Arts Center’s director and chief curator, says — her institution has an “s” in its name. It’s “Arts,” not “Art.” That means the center is about more than just visual art.  

Trying to Turn a Corner in the Brighton Art District

2 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
On a recent Saturday night, three galleries along Central and Harrison avenues were open — Synthetica-m and the collectively run U-turn Art Space and Semantics. The exhibits at U-turn and Semantics were amazingly good. Their shows are still up through May 28. And yet word comes U-turn will be closing after one more show. So yet another Cincinnati alternative space that has made a mark will be gone before it can really galvanize growth in the larger arts community.  

Museum Center’s Underground Revenue Source

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Let it not be said (as you might have heard or read) that the Cincinnati subway never hosted a paying customer. In fact, visits to the abandoned tunnels under Central Parkway intended for the never-completed system have become a nice, if underground, funding source for Cincinnati Museum Center’s education programs. Who said mass transit can’t pay dividends for Cincinnati?  

‘Laughing Brook’ Might Help Save the Mill Creek

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Jackie Brookner, a New York-based artist who creates “biospheres” by using storm runoff and other polluted waters as part of her outdoor, environmental earthworks, spoke at Xavier University this month about the ethical and spiritual dimensions to her work. One of her pieces, “Laughing Brook,” is in Cincinnati, along the struggling Mill Creek.  

Dialing In to Indianapolis’ Big New Show

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 5, 2011
While I’ve waxed positively about Cincinnati Art Museum’s recent exhibitions and programming, I’d be guilty of hometown parochialism if I failed to mention activities at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It seems on a fast track, under director Maxwell Anderson, to becoming a museum of consistent national significance.  

When Art and Nature Collide

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I run into people who don’t like museums because they say they prefer nature’s beauty to art. That comment is wrong-headed and shortsighted on so many levels — and I say that as someone who likes nature. First of all, nature can operate so mysteriously that it needs an artist to express to us the poetic depths of both its complexity and simplicity. But art isn’t an alternative to nature. They’re not separate.