When I was growing up, the fact that
Cincinnati was known as “Porkopolis” was not exactly a selling point for
me. I vividly remember Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point opening in
1988 to much hullabaloo thanks to the flying pig sculptures near the
entrance and being absolutely mortified with embarrassment that my
hometown would choose to embrace its reputation as a haven for swine.
Wexner Center for the Arts makes a bold statement in its current
retrospective of David Smith’s work: He’s the greatest American sculptor
of the 20th century. If Smith, who died in an auto accident in
1965 at age 59, is ahead of Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi or Richard
Serra, I’m not sure the general public knows it.
At the turn of the 20th Century, when a woman's most acceptable occupation was motherhood, Bessie Potter Vonnoh succeeded professionally as a sculptor, flouting convention by focusing on a career instead of raising children. Her success as an independent working artist rested on subject matter that supported traditional notions of women, which makes the Cincinnati Art Museum's current exhibition of her work all the more fascinating.
The body of work on display in Semantics Gallery is, at first sight, as inexplicable as the show’s title suggests: She Keeps It In Play/They Don’t Know What To Call It. As abstract paintings, drawings and sculptures, the works leave much to the imagination but they don’t entirely defy explanation.
Althea Murphy-Price is fascinated by the everyday fashion show of our lives, where we all walk around projecting and revealing information about ourselves through the hairstyles we sport, what we wear and all the superficial details that make up our self-images.