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The 2008 art season offers a banquet with many courses. As they visit various galleries, viewers can sample fashion statements, an exhibit focusing on a famous artist, a show heading down the highway and a bevy of group exhibitions. One gallery reopens, another looks back on 25 years, and a third venue presents its very first show.
At Syracuse University, SUArt Galleries (443-4097), located on the SU Quad, is showing Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth, featuring sketches, poems and drawings by the famed artist, as well as a medal depicting him, a miniature monument honoring Michelangelo and a bronze reproduction of the “Pieta.” The show views Michelangelo from several perspectives—as an artist, poet, architect and businessman. It will appear at only four sites in the United States.
Local artists submitting work to the Everson Biennial were asked to perform some mental gymnastics. The show, juried by independent curator Edward Winkleman, was organized around the theme of The Object and Beyond. The challenge was to create art that somehow perverts everyday expectations of objects, going “beyond” them. Critics bored of asking “Is it art?” can now argue about the definition of an object.
During his tenure at Syracuse University, which began in 1968, Mack made an international name for himself with his distinctive sculpture. As the first director of SU’s School of Art and Design—he held the post from 1982 to 1991—Mack was instrumental in the creation of the Comstock Art Facility. Melanoma ended his life in 2002. Teddy Aiken, director of the graduate program in Museum Studies at SU, has helped organize an exhibition of Mack’s work at Cazenovia’s Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. Other old friends and colleagues lent work to the show and even helped install it.
Made to Order
Made in New York 2008, currently on display at Auburn’s Schweinfurth Memorial Art Gallery, continues to evolve from year to year and to operate without a set artistic agenda. The 2007 edition had many more photographs than other recent shows, and that generated some controversy. Nonetheless, that wasn’t a structural change but a one-time phenomenon.
The new exhibition, selected by jurors John McQueen and Jen Pepper, has its own imprint, with special attention paid to landscapes. Landscapes, it should be noted, have certainly appeared in past Made in New York shows. The 2008 show, however, presents a much richer selection, done in various media and from varying perspectives. It’s possible for viewers to appreciate not only individual landscapes but also a larger discussion of the art-world favorite.
Photographer Brantley Carroll documents the legacy
of slavery in a new Community Folk Art exhibit
By Carl Mellor
Community Folk Art Center’s new exhibit touches many bases in its exploration of slavery in the United States. The Whipping Post is both concrete, with its presentation of shackles, a punishment mask and other objects associated with slavery, and meditative with subtle reflections on America’s “original sin.” In addition, the show straddles past and present, drawing both on the historical record and intimate portraits of contemporary artists, actors and local residents. And The Whipping Post combines narrative and drama, communicating intense emotions.
Local artists demonstrate their range for a wide-ranging display in Utica
By Jon Dufort
The 61st Exhibition of Central New York Artists is no joke but it has quite a sense of humor. Of the hundreds of submissions by local artists for this group show at Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art, about 60 pieces were chosen by jurors Thomas Piche and Marion Wilson. They range in mood from clinical to kitschy, subtle to screaming. There are more oil paintings than anything else, but digital images, videos, installations, collages, lithographs, sculptures and drawings are all represented.
Three artists display their varied pieces in a new Edgewood show
By Carl Mellor
The new group show at the Edgewood Gallery encompasses watercolors, sculptures and oils created by a trio of artists. The Gathering isn’t trying to link the various artworks directly or indirectly. It does provide space for fully sampling each artist’s work, for getting a good sense of artistic strategies. That’s the exhibit’s ultimate connector.
The life and times of Bessie Smith receive overdue recognition at a Warehouse exhibit
By Jon Dufort
Most memorials are just plain inadequate. Our heroes deserve more than little bronze busts and brass plaques. Bessie Smith, often referred to as the Empress of the Blues, lacks even that. In fact, although she died in 1937, her grave was unmarked until Janis Joplin intervened in 1970. Artist Terry Adkins addresses this situation with his multimedia installation at Syracuse University’s Warehouse, Songs of Hearth and Valor: Recital in 8 Dominions, After Bessie Smith.