Posts Tagged ‘New/Now’

Now through January 27th, the public is invited to participate in an upcoming installation by NEW/NOW artist, Michael Mahalchick, by donating objects which will become the raw material for his work. Welcomed items include trinkets, hand-made treasures, decorative objects, manufactured goods,  etc. If an object could conceivably be found at a garage sale and is of reasonable size, it likely fits the bill. Objects selected for inclusion in the artist’s work will be featured in the upcoming exhibition NEW/NOW: Michael Mahalchick in the Cheney Gallery March 9- June 9, 2013.

The work of Michael Mahalchick defies any one specific definition. Moving seamlessly between the realms of sculpture/assemblage, installation, performance, music and dance, Mahalchick incorporates a self-identified “scavenging” aesthetic or “thrift-store nostalgia” to his work. In utilizing objects of everyday use (or disuse), the artist is free to imbue whatever meaning he sees fit to ascribe, making icons out of the ordinary.

Michael Mahalchick March 7 – April 22nd, 2012 : Michael Mahalchick, "IT" installation, March 6th, 2012, Canada Gallery

Michael Mahalchick, “IT” installation, March 6th, 2012, Canada Gallery

Ever since Duchamp scandalized the world with his Fountain, the concept of the object as art has been a prominent part of our visual lexicon, from Rauschenberg’s gritty Combines to the poetic assemblages of Joseph Cornell. Like Duchamp, Mahalchick’s works call into question meaning and purpose in art and culture. Who holds the power to ascribe meaning in our every day lives and why? (more…)

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Love the Eats, 2010. Carol Padberg (b. 1964). Mixed media, 36 x 36 in. Collection of the artist.

Victorian crazy quilts were textiles made for display. They adorned the public space of the parlor rather than private space of the bedroom. The compositions of these quilts did not follow traditional patterns, but were the product of the seamstress’ own sense of invention. Beyond their decorative function, Crazy Quilts had a social function. Crazy Quilts were most often viewed during the visits called “calling hours” that brought people together to share news and socialize. (more…)

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Chester Harding's Mrs. Samuel Appleton

Mrs. Samuel Appleton (Julia Webster). Chester Harding (1792-1866). Oil on canvas, 49 x 40 7/8 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, John Butler Talcott Foundation, 1972.91.

Are museums:

  1. 1. Places to preserve history,
  2. 2. Places to establish new history, or
  3. 3. Places to encourage creative growth?

Can there be a fourth choice- All of the above?

The New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) is an interesting example that falls into the “All of the above” category. The facilities of the NBMAA include a variety of galleries that tell the story of Art History in America, while allowing contemporary artists to show us what tomorrow’s  textbooks might include. In addition, the museum has two spaces that allow for the artistic exploration and expression of children and adults alike.

On the first floor of the NBMAA’s gallery space, visitors can literally walk through the history of American art. The central hall features the Museum’s illustration collection, while rooms branching off allow the visitor to stroll through galleries highlighting Colonial Portraiture, the Hudson River School, 19th-20th Century Academic and Genre paintings, and American Impressionism. (more…)

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Rene Magritte's "The False Mirror"

The False Mirror, 1928. René Magritte (1898-1967). Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 31 7/8 in. The Museum of Modern Art. 133.1936

Following the First World War, Surrealist artists, such as Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), Yves Tanguy (1900-55) and René Magritte (1898-1967) employed in their imagery “meticulous detail, recognizable scenes and objects that are taken out of natural context, distorted and combined in fantastic ways as they might be in dreams.”1 Dreams have long fascinated human beings. Many a philosopher, physician and layperson have theorized their purposes and meanings, but perhaps none more so than the artist. One such contemporary artist working in the Surrealist tradition of dreams is Jon Rappleye, whose work will be featured in the upcoming exhibit NEW/NOW: Jon Rappleye: After Eden opening at the New Britain Museum of American Art on July 30th, 2010. (more…)

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The Elephant in the Room, 2010. Elana Herzog (b. 1954) Pencil, textile, metal staples, pushpins, etc. Collection of the artist

The current NEW/NOW exhibition features the unique installations and works on paper of Elana Herzog, a New York based installation artist. By attaching found textiles—often shredded bedspreads and other fabrics—to walls using thousands of judiciously placed metal staples, Elana Herzog creates patterns of color and form directly on the wall. She further dramatizes this process by ripping away some parts of the stapled textiles and leaving evidence of where the fasteners once were. Her work is part performance because the creative phase is punctuated by the ebb and flow of application and removal, addition and subtraction, creation and destruction. (more…)

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Ballast, 2009. Sandra Allen (b. 1963). Graphite on paper, 18 ½ x 11 feet. Carroll and Sons Gallery.

Sandra Allen, born in 1963, has been using trees as the subject of her stunning large-scale drawings since 2001. Appropriate to her work, she lives and works in the small New England town of Hingham, Massachusetts. Previously a painter, Allen now focuses entirely on drawing trees, using mostly graphite on white paper. The result is a photorealistic drawing that requires viewers to come closer in order to see the hand of the artist in the graphite lines and shading. Allen explains her feelings on this form of art: “Drawing is both a noun and a verb. The action registers the process of the making and the image becomes an object of contemplation. Drawing is also one of our most basic primitive instincts and I consider it the closest medium to thought.” (more…)

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Undergrowth, 2008. Nicole Duennebier (b. 1983). Acrylic on panel, 24 x 36 in. New Britian Museum of American Art, 2009.45.

Nicole Duennebier, born in 1983, grew up in East Hampton, Connecticut, and graduated from the Maine College of Art in 2005.  She began exhibiting her work in Portland the very same year.  Her acrylic paintings depict colorful, organic masses that evolve out of darkness.  She draws inspiration from nature, land and sea, as well as works from the followers of Caravaggio. This baroque master’s obsession with darkness, Duennebier says, “leads his paintings to appear to be nothing more then a void impregnated with pin-pricks of light.” (more…)

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SKIN FRUIT: John Bock, Maltratierte Fregatte, 2006/07. Installation with mixed mediums, dimensions variable; video Maltratierte Fregatte, 66:41 min; and video Untergang der Medusa, 9:37 min. The Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens.

Should museums allow artists to curate shows in which their work is featured? Since Jeff Koons’ acceptance to curate an exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art  which opened this week , onlookers have voiced their feelings of apprehension towards the Museum’ choice. The main point of contention is that Koons’ own work plays a vital roll in the collection that is exhibited. How can an artist give an educational and objective view of work that is his own? Furthermore, the show focuses on works from the private collection of Greek billionaire, Dakis Joannou who is not only a trustee of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, but also a close friend of Koons and his number one supporter. Some have raised the concern that this is a major conflict of interest, since the Museum has to spend almost no money to borrow works for the show, and every piece of art included will increase in value from being exhibited. It appears that both Koons and the Museum could jeopardize their reputation if the public is displeased with the overall exhibit’s final result. (more…)

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Dancing with the Woman in Red, 2008. Kwabena Slaughter. Detail at inch 410. 35mm slide filmstrip on light-box. Collection of the artist.

The photography-based work of NEW/NOW artist Kwabena Slaughter is currently featured in the New Britain Museum of American Art’s Cheney Gallery from Jan. 29 to April 25, 2010.

Popular photographic images bear a strong visual similarity with western painting; Slaughter deconstructs this notion of photography, as well as the structure of the camera, by utilizing an entire roll of film to create one distorted and continuous photograph. He considers cameras and photographs cultural artifacts that reveal a great deal about the society. His work asks: “what would photography look like if it had grown out of a different aesthetic tradition?”


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