This year is the Taft Museum’s 80th
anniversary — it opened in 1932, five years after Charles Phelps Taft
and Anna Sinton Taft deeded their historic 1820 mansion and its 690
works of art to Cincinnati.
Other museums have also tried this in
order to get more of their collections on view. Now Cincinnati Art
Museum, which has 60,000 objects, is trying the approach. It’s
converting two important second-floor galleries — previously its prime
space for temporary exhibits — to open storage for the next two years,
when renovation of the old Art Academy building is complete.
It was about a year ago this time I was
climbing the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral to look beyond the famous
stone gargoyles and see Paris. I recently climbed the winding stairwell
of the usually closed-off, 145-foot-tall square tower at Clifton
Heights’ Hughes High School to view Cincinnati from the exposed landing
at the top. Not quite the same thing, but impressive.
Beginning Sunday with a 4-6 p.m.
reception, the Skirball Museum (3101 Clifton Ave., Clifton,
www.huc.edu/museums/) is opening a new exhibition: Jewish-related
fine-crafts objects, such as driedels, mezuzahs and shofars, made of
Venetian glass by Michael Gore, an Illinois artist.
There are two big reasons to be excited
about Vermont-born, singer-songwriter Sam Amidon’s show at 9 p.m.
tomorrow night in downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). First is Amidon himself, whose records
combine beautifully rendered, hauntingly sung, traditionalist-minded
Folk songs with unusual arrangements.
Whatever else, it requires bravery for a
photographer to wander around abandoned buildings, subway stations, wave
pools and other derelict remnants of the built environment. Vince Geier
of Northside, who died in June at age 37, had it. His friend Cathy Heil, who accompanied
him (and others) into Detroit’s massive Michigan Central (Railroad)
Station, empty since 1988, can attest to that.
When I first started learning about
contemporary art, Pop ruled. There was a wicked humor in Pop that was
subversively accessible — taking the imagery of recognizable objects,
often consumer products, and liberating them from their “official”
meaning. It seemed both radical and fun in an ironic, distancing way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.