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Archive for the ‘Contemporary Art’ Category

This post comes to us from Bethany Gugliemino, Curatorial Intern

Joyous Windows, 2003-2006. Mundy Hepburn (b.1955). Hand-blown glass, phosphor, argon, helium, krypton, neon, radon, xenon, small static electric charge. Charles F. Smith Fund, 2006.00.

Mundy Hepburn, of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, began his experiments with glassblowing in 1963 at the age of eight after accompanying his mother to the Guilford Town Fair, where he witnessed a glassblowing demonstration. Captivated by what he had seen, he attempted to replicate the effects himself at home by melting an old light bulb over the flames of a gas stove. His mother caught him, but Hepburn quickly explained that he had “fire polished” the glass, removing the sharp edges. His mother was impressed by his inventiveness, and from that point on his parents encouraged his experiments (and made sure that they were more properly supervised). He dropped out of school at fourteen but continued to explore new methods of working with glass as a way of dealing with personal problems he was experiencing at the time.

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Red Head, 1982. Barbara Nessim
(b.1939) Digital illustration (Norpak II computer; ilfochrome print), 30 3/4” x 26 1/2”. Collection of the artist.

This post comes to us from Alex Salazar, Curatorial Intern.

“Since the dawn of picture-making, illustrators have taken the tools available to them to document and react to the world around them,” explains Scott Bakal, the curator of Pixelated: The Art of Digital Illustration.  The face of art is constantly changing, and new tools like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter are exposing artists to a virtually unlimited range of possibilities.  On view at the New Britain Museum of American Art’s Low Illustration Gallery until Dec. 9th, 2012, this exhibition showcases “the brilliant ideas and processes that go into making illustrations today.”

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This post comes to us from Sara Cotter, Curatorial Intern.

A large detail of Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing #1105 “Colored bands of arcs from four corners”” which resides on the Dakille Building on Columbus Blvd.

Today in downtown New Britain a newly-created and highly anticipated Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) wall mural will be unveiled. Wall Drawing #1105 “Colored bands of arcs from four corners” was painted on the exterior of the Dakille Building on Columbus Boulevard as part of Connecticut’s City Canvases Project, which aims to revive urban areas across the state by promoting the visual arts and the work of local artists. This initiative was funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The City of New Britain, in partnership with the NBMAA and the LeWitt Estate, was thrilled to have the opportunity to create a public mural that will not only enliven the downtown area and an already thriving local arts community, but also pay homage to Sol LeWitt, a longtime resident of New Britain and lifelong patron of the NBMAA. (more…)

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This post comes to us from Bethany Gugliemino, Curatorial Intern.

 

Particular Heights 2.0, 2012. Paul Theriault (b.1972) and Siebren Versteeg (b.1971). Handmade steel swing set, counter, and LCD monitor. Collection of the artists.

 On the evening of May 25, the LED counter mounted above the swing in the front courtyard of the NBMAA displayed a single red digit: 0. Two weeks later, the counter boasted the significantly larger number of 3614, a number that will only continue to grow in the coming months. This swing is one part of Particular Heights 2.0, the second incarnation of an installation by artists Paul Theriault and Siebren Versteeg that was first displayed in New Haven, Connecticut in 2010. Consisting of an outdoor component (the swing and LED counter) and a gallery component, the installation falls into the category of New Media, a field with which both Theriault and Versteeg are very familiar. New Media involves the fusion of traditional mediums such as painting, sculpture, and music with the interactive potential of computers, communications technology, and the internet. Both Theriault and Versteeg have worked individually with New Media in the past, producing works that explore themes of contemporary life and the way that digital technology can be used to create pieces that constantly change and grow.

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For the purpose of these interrogations, the Museum has developed a series of questions for exhibiting contemporary artists in an attempt to enliven and explore the discourse between the artist and the institution – with specific focus on site, interpretation, relevance, process, and sources.

Michael A. Salter ,whose NEW/NOW exhibition Visual Plastic (on view until August 19th) sprouts from our dizzying world of pop culture and consumerism and speaks the language of advertisements and logos, joins us for a candid Q&A:

100% Real, 2012, Michael A. Salter (b. 1967). MDF (medium-density fibreboard), vinyl stickers, 14” x 22” x 5”. Courtesy of the artist.

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For the purpose of these interrogations, the Museum has developed a series of questions for exhibiting contemporary artists in an attempt to enliven and explore the discourse between the artist and the institution – with specific focus on site, interpretation, relevance, process, and sources.

Marc Swanson, whose NEW/NOW exhibition (on view until this Sunday, May 13th) has been a tour de force of mixed media constructions that serve as windows, partially shuttered, into his autobiography, joins us for a candid Q&A:

Untitled (Crystal, Hooking Left), 2011. Marc Swanson (b. 1969). Mixed media, 30 x 22 x 26 in., Charles F. Smith Fund, 2012.06.


[SITE]

Q: Does your work belong in a traditional museum setting?

Marc Swanson: I think any artwork belongs in a traditional museum setting as long as the museum in question believes in the work and thinks it should be shown at their institution.

I’m happy to have my work in a traditional museum.  But then again, it’s not really up to me.  By this I mean that it can be up to me to not show at a museum if given the opportunity, but it is inherently the decision of the institution if I will have the chance to show at their museum. (more…)

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This post comes to us from Victoria Villano, Curatorial Intern.

Cosmos, 2000. Martin Kline (b. 1961). Encaustic on panel, 49 x 49 x 2 ¾ inches. Collection of the artist.

Thought-provoking, mysterious, whimsical, abstract: there are many words one can use to describe the artwork found in Romantic Nature, the mid-career retrospective of artist Martin Kline (on view in the McKernan Gallery until June 17). What about waves, currents of air, microscopic organisms, and mosaics? While such associations (and there can be countless others) may not immediately come to mind, after the initial encounter with the color and intricacy of Kline’s paintings and sculptures, you may find yourself teasing out the wide array of references, both natural and cultural, that are embedded in them. But beyond asking yourself why Kline has made what he has, the ultimate question on your mind is probably how.    (more…)

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This post comes to us from Eliza Heussler, Curatorial Intern. 

Randazzo

Randazzo, detail, 2000. Martin Kline (b.1961). Encaustic on panel, 47 7/8 x 47 7/8 x 3 in. Collection of the artist.

Only a few inches away from every one of the encaustic paintings and sculptures in the exhibition Martin Kline: Romantic Nature is a small, albeit prominent cautionary note: “Please do not touch the artwork.” Why the extra precaution? After all, it is one of those “golden rules” of museum-going that we refrain from any physical contact with works of art for fear of damage. Walking through the McKernan Gallery, now a temporary home for Martin Kline’s first mid-career retrospective (on view through June 17), the impulse to touch is ever present. The haptics —that is the science that deals with the sense of touch—of Kline’s art is one of the qualities that makes his work not only dynamic and innovative but lustful and sensual. The haptic quality connects artwork and viewer, mind and body, thought and sensation, idea and emotion. (more…)

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blueboar2

Blue Boar (2010) installed in the Contemporary Gallery at the NBMAA

The New Britain Museum of American Art is pleased to feature the newest addition to the New Media series, Blue Boar, 2010 by Victoria Bradbury. This interactive, mixed-media installation brings the viewer into the midst of a witch trial – the so-called “blue boar incident.” In 1692, 75-year-old Mary Bradbury, the artist’s 10th great-grandmother and the first “American” woman in her lineage, was convicted of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. Two local men, Richard Carr and Zerubabel Endicott, accused Mrs. Bradbury of transforming herself into a blue boar while she was tending to her garden. Victoria Bradbury retells the “blue boar incident”  through a sewn book narrated by vegetables, face recognition software projected onto a sculpture of a boar, and a video animation of a blue boar running through flowers.

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1 squared, 2010. Arthur L. Carter (b.1931). Stainless steel, 36″ x 36″.

The New Britain Museum of American Art is pleased to host the exhibition of sculptural paintings by the artist Arthur L. Carter on view from September 30th to November 27th in the Davis Gallery. The title of the show, Orthogonals, refers to the property in mathematics – orthogonality – in which two vectors are perpendicular. A wonderful blend of art and mathematics, the rectangles, squares, triangles, and lines in Carter’s wall reliefs coexist and intersect in surprising ways to create an atmosphere that is both musical and harmonious.

Trained as a classical pianist, Carter produces art that can be described as a symphony of diverse and contrasting elements. Though an accomplished sculptor, he did not commit to the craft until 1990, having previously earned a living as a successful investment banker, entrepreneur, and publisher for a number of newspapers such as The Nation and The New York Observer. His propensity for order, which is evident in his business ventures (he has owned and operated more than a hundred industrial companies) and interest in graphic design during his publishing days, eventually manifested itself into a form of sculpture. Carter’s decision to adopt sculpture as his medium was inspired by a long standing interest in geometry and the organization of space and structure – elements he dealt with constantly as a newspaper publisher.

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