Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wall Text for the Home

As demonstrated by my earlier post on wall text, I love to geek out on museum and curatorial type humor. I suspect that not too many people find these things funny, but I do know that it make me a huge dork. I recently pulled Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel off my bookshelf, which has several hysterical art related essays, and of course I also own the Museum of Bad Art's original collection handbook, now out of print. Is there something about springtime that makes one seek out humorous material (and blog about it)?

I recently stumbled across the below on McSweeney's, a site that I should visit more often, and found this witty take on wall text. Enjoy
Read more wall text here.
- - - -
Brown Couch, 1999

Undoubtedly one of Beck's best-known works, Brown Couch, 1999 was first shown at the Salvation Army in Poughkeepsie, New York, and has since been a centerpiece in all but one of his full-scale exhibitions.

Its distinctive form, created by the absence of one armrest, draws viewers in and allows sitters to choose between a chaise-longue position and a more conventional posture. Although it has received critical acclaim from all his tall friends, and is where Jack and Kate first made out, recent revisionist critiques by his girlfriend have focused on its threadbare cushions, which are stained on both sides.


Jade Plant, 2006

Jade Plant, 2006 is the last surviving part of the Window Sill exhibition of the same year. Started as a way to showcase responsibility and give off an earthy, environmental vibe to his not yet live-in girlfriend, the vegetation-based display failed when he went away to New Mexico for three weeks and didn't ask anyone to water the plants.

Despite long periods of continued neglect, Jade Plant, 2006 has remained alive and mostly green. It frequently elicits the question
"Is that thing dead?"

Art Grab Bag from "Indexed"

All found (and laughed at) on

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Missed the boat on this one...

UPDATE 4/21: Missed it again! Today was a holiday in Massachusetts, so I was doing a little spring cleaning. Low and behold, I didn't check my email until later. Yes, Jeremias, I think we're not meant to have a Starn Twins print. Apparently, Colin and Luke missed the first one too.

So, I didn't check my "personal" email yesterday until after dinner because I was working on our
newsletter. When I did, I found the 20x200 special email sitting there in my inbox.

Seeing that it was a
Starns Twins Blindspot benefit edition, I knew right away when I clicked on the link that they'd be sold out, and of course they were. A month ago, somehow I did check my email at exactly the right time and was able to snag a Brian Ulrich, which is also totally sold out in all sizes. Alas, I missed this one. This is what I get for not signing up with my work email and attempting to keep work and home spearate...who am I kidding?!

Congrats to those who did get one of these vellum prints, and a huge high five to Jen and Blind Spot!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New England Survey in the Globe! (written by their Pulitzer Prize winning reviewer)

Tuesday was an important newspaper day in Boston. Gracing the front page of the Boston Globe was the Red Sox's opening day at Fenway and the announcement that their own Mark Feeney won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, as noted in the last post.

Humbly for us, Mark Feeney's review of the current PRC landscape exhibition,
New England Survey, also ran in the very same Globe. (And super luckily for us, he liked it!) I am thrilled at the confluence of events. I wrote to congratulate Mark, and he modestly replied that it's a win for the paper and different than organizing an exhibition. To his and their credit, we had several people visit today because of his review and lots of calls. Here's to the power of well-crafted words and the media!

You can read Mark Feeney's review of the PRC exhibition New England Survey here.

You can read the official Globe story on Mark Feeney's Pulitzer Prize in Criticism here.

You can read some of his nominated stories here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mark Feeney of Boston Globe wins 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

I am delighted to report that Mark Feeney, resident art, photo, and culture critic at the Boston Globe, has won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism! I just learned about the great news. Congratulations Mark! You so richly deserve it!

I am also honored to report that one of the 10 stories with which Mark was nominated and won was his review for my PRC exhibition Picture Show. I had previously gone on about his insightful commentary and ability to create brilliant turns of phrases before.

You can read all of Mark's nominated, prize-winning stories here, including his reviews of the photographic efforts of several PRC friends -- Kim Sichel's aerial photography show, Arlette Kayafas's Charles Teenie Harris show, and Abe Morell's Mead Art Museum show. Being that we are a smaller non-profit in a largish city, I am thrilled and humbled that Mark has written about our shows so often, or even at all. You can read 5 of Mark's reviews of PRC exhibitions at this link.

I so very much appreciate the time that Mark spends in understanding an exhibition, something that not every critic does, and I know the artists do too. He always asks for all of the wall text and artist statements and spends a long taking in a show. In his writing, you can tell how much he enjoys pondering ideas of all stripes.

Here are some excerpts below from the Boston Globe story and above, a photo by another of my favorite Globe staffers, Dominic Chavez.

From the Boston Globe, Globe writer wins Pulitzer Prize for criticism

By Don Aucoin, Globe Staff, April 7, 2008

Mark Feeney, an arts writer and photography reviewer for The Boston Globe, today was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

It is the 20th time the Globe has won the Pulitzer, which is considered the most prestigious award in journalism, and the second time in the past seven years that the newspaper has won the award for criticism.

Feeney, 50,
won for 10 essays on visual culture that ranged from photography to painting and film. A self-described Globe "lifer'' who began working at the newspaper shortly after he graduated from Harvard in 1979, Feeney noted today that the Globe has long made arts criticism a cornerstone of its identity.

"More than anything else, it's about the paper,'' he said of the Pulitzer. "There are so many people who are deserving who don't get it. It's a crapshoot. I'm just amazed, overwhelmed, and really, really pleased that the dice came up for me this time. But it's not just for me. It's for the paper.''

The awards were announced this afternoon at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. ...

Feeney won the Pulitzer for 10 critical essays that suggest the fluency and brio of his writing style, and the range of interests on which he brings that style to bear. ...

"The Globe has a great tradition of reviewers, not just such prior Pulitzer winners as Robert Campbell and Gail Caldwell, but so many others, going all the way back to Michael Steinberg, Robert Taylor, Richard Dyer, Margaret Manning, and several current colleagues whom I will not embarrass by naming,'' said Feeney.

Feeney was born in Winchester, Mass., and raised in Reading, Mass. His mother, Agnes, who still lives in Reading, will turn 90 on Saturday."I've been at a loss as to what to get her for a present,'' Feeney said. "I guess I'm all set now.''

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm going to New Jersey in my mind...

I won't be able to make it to NJ physically tomorrow, but will be there in spirit. Laurel Ptak (of my fav blog i heart photograph) will be opening her unique show "IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE A PHOTOGRAPH OF NEW JERSEY REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD?"

One of my fav artists Pelle Cass will be in the show with the below photograph (along with 189 artists and 1,000 photos). I showed Pelle's work at the PRC in 2003 and sent an email to Laurel on the suspicion that she'd like Pelle's work (she did and featued it online twice!). Pelle came to me in a portfolio review circa 2002, after he had just started working again after 10 years. He blew me away then and just keeps getting better and better. Pelle is one artist that keeps trying new things, something us art types love. His series are different, but related philosophically. We are hungry for new images and ideas and Pelle always delivers (another artist who comes to mind is Neeta Madahar who we've also shown and now is getting the international attention she deserves). You can explore Pelle's work at his web site and see his newest work here.

I love what Pelle said to me about the current PRC exhibition,
New England Survey, and my shows in general. He is a great artist and great person. I am a huge fan. To me, it's the best compliment I could ever receive as a curator: "I really like how you can span the poles of photography--wacky and far out to traditional." Yippee!

ABOVE IMAGE: Pelle Cass, DETAIL OF New Jersey Teams (in color order)
BELOW: The whole thing!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A New England poem by a New England poet

Inspired by the current PRC exhibition, New England Survey, and a recent sharing of a Frank O'Hara poem (and perhaps my humble attempt to fill the vacuum left from the Poem of the Week), I share with you a poem by Amherst poet Robert Francis (1901-1987). This landscape photography show was inspired by Francis's poem "New England Mind" (you can read my essay and see images from the show here as well as check out the opening reception snaps here). In addition to his gentle approach to nature, Francis used rhyming, puns, and humor in his work, as demonstrated in the title of autobiography, The Trouble with Francis. Below, I present another Francis poem, the wonderful "The Two Lords of Amherst."

As Bruce is traveling often to Amherst for his memory panoramas and reading lots of Francis himself, I feel like I am getting to know this New England town and alternative to the other Amherst poet quite intimately. For those that aren't familiar with Amherst's town center, you might enjoy knowing that Francis is referring here to a tavern/inn and a church that are actually across a street from one another. Lord Jeffery Inn is named after the founder of the town, Jeffery Amherst; the "Jehovah" named below is Grace Episcopal Church. Both are still in operation today. Enjoy!

"The Two Lords of Amherst"

The two Lords, Jeffery and Jehovah, side by side
Proclaim that hospitality lives and Jesus died.

Jeffery in whitewashed brick, Jehovah in gray stone
Both testify man does not live by bread alone.

From sacred love to bed and board and love profane
One could dart back and forth and not get wet in rain.

How providentially inclusive the design:
Here are the cocktails, here the sacramental wine.

Here is the holy, here the not-so-holy host.
Here are the potted palms and here the Holy Ghost.

Tell, if you can and will, which is more richly blest:
The guest Jehovah entertains or Jeffery's guest.

- Robert Francis

"To make anything interesting," Flaubert says, "you simply have to look at it long enough."

For those interested, we're working with a local writing non-profit, Grub Street, to co-present a workshop in and about the current exhibition on May 3rd. Called Staring and Wonder, the workshop will discuss ideas of staring and looking in literature to kick start the day and then turn to the photographs in the shows for expository inspiration. I am terribly excited by the whole idea and intend to sit in on the first half of the day. More information here.