New exhibitions director Matt Distel’s
first big show at The Carnegie gallery in Covington, Ky., which opened
last week, is important in its own right as well as for what it says
about Distel’s curatorial desires for the institution.
Behind any successful organization is a
leader with a vision. Jonathan Sears, executive director of Professional
Artistic Research Projects (parProjects), is in his fourth year of
steering the Northside-based arts organization with a mission of
financial and environmental sustainability.
“It’s gotta be the shoes,” Nike’s 1980s
Air Jordan ads marveled. And if you ask Cincinnati Art Museum curators
Cynthia Amnéus and Amy Dehan which of today’s fashions stand the test of
time, they too point to shoes — at least those in What’s New: Fashion & Contemporary Craft.
Hilary Nauman and Michael Boyd are taking
DIY to the next level with Shrewdness of Apes, their new Covington,
Ky., gallery-boutique. After participating in what she calls a
“makers’ movement” of arts markets across the region, Nauman says she
and Boyd were inspired to create a more permanent home for emerging
artists and makers.
Mike Amann wasn’t interested in
overthinking things. The designer, gallery owner, contemporary art
collector, husband and new father was more prone to spontaneous acts of
creativity than pre-calculated plans. Whatever the project, he always
dove right in and went for it.
The opening of a new show can be a tense,
contentious time for an artist. Doubts arise: “What do the public and
critics think? Does this show really work?" But at the Contemporary Arts Center’s recent opening of her show by every wind that blows, Diane Landry was above all that. Literally.
Northside’s Thunder-Sky, Inc. wrestles
with the term “outsider” art. Though it’s a marketable label, it can
heap sometimes-false assumptions upon artists. They’re presumed to be
uneducated, untrained, isolated, developmentally disabled and/or
indifferent to profit. Thunder-Sky, Inc. co-founders Keith Banner and
Bill Ross prefer “unconventional” to describe the works.
If I were to recommend just one show at a regional art museum right now, it would be the Matisse, Life in Color: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art through Jan. 12, 2014.
On the first Wednesday of each month, a
group of special visitors gathers in one of three participating
Cincinnati museums for a tour designed expressly for them. The group
includes people whose memories are fragile in the extreme and their
guests, the family members or others who accompany them.
Grand Rapids, a city of less than 200,000
people in western Michigan, isn’t quite ready to be considered one of
the Midwest’s great art centers; Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit’s art
museums are not yet in danger of being eclipsed by Grand Rapids. But with its annual ArtPrize — a
festival-like art exhibition and competition that occurs in late
September and early October — it has come up with a citywide visual-arts
event like no other in the way it’s captured the public imagination.