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Subodh Gupta "Cooking the World”

Subodh Gupta, "Cooking the World” 2017, found aluminum utensils, monofilament line, steel, Gallery Continua, Italy.


ARTSCOPE’S GUIDE TO BASEL ART FAIRS 2017

It is a calmer year at Art Basel, but no less edgy. Escapist to a degree, the world sector-wide reflects a desire to hide under the covers, or at least spend time at a beach, eating a good meal or watching an entertaining, possibly animated film. Whereas the work last year implored us to speak an act, and sometimes revolt, we’ve now done it, and largely have had no effect. So, let’s have some fun. Many projects allow us just that.


Art Basel Art 2017

(Clockwise, from top left) Reza Aramesh, Site of the Fall: Study of the Renaissance Garden, 2016-17, marble, topiary, Leila Heller, New York City, at Parcours, ArtBasel ; Sue Williamson, Messages from the Atlantic Passage, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Phyllida Barlow, untitled: 100banners2015, 2015, Hauser & Worth, Zurich; Thomas Struth, Paradise 28, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru 2005, 2005, chromogenic print, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris; Peter Regli, Reality Hacking No. 313, 2014, Levy Gorvy, New York.


ARTSCOPE AT ART BASEL SWITZERLAND: DAY TWO

First confronted by Al Wei Wei’s “Iron Tree” (2016), which changes patina as it ages, it also brings nature and the manmade relationship with nature into perspective. That relationship seems a theme of Parcours, curator Samuel Leuenberger’s brilliant trek through the city through the following of artwork installations. Reza Aramsh recreates Michelangelo’s “Slave” in resin, but tiesits hands behind his back with a rope, making him captive and towering on a plinth over the river. Katinka Bock’s “Parasite Fountain” (2017) creates ametal fish that draws water from a neighboring fountain, thus the parasite description, and does not give it back. It uses the water for itself. Politics has come into the work now.


Rachele Buriassi and Roddy Doble in Jiří Kylián's Wings of Wax; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet.


THEATER REVIEW: Boston Ballet’s Kylián/Wings of Wax at the Boston Opera House

Balanchine’s “Donizetti Variations” opened a three-part program by teaching our wings to soar to Gaetano Donizetti’s dreamy, sprightly, symmetrical melodies from his 1843 opera, “Don Sebastien.”

The vigor of the music belied our modern stereotypes of the classical as bland, of the romantic as naïve. And the dancers inhabiting Donizetti’s lively, questing inspirations with quick-silver turns seemed to grasp myriad opportunities to soar or slow, improbably, just before the musicians in the orchestra pit announced them!


Pedro E. Guerrero, I’m an Architect, Taliesin, Spring Green, WI, 1947, silver gelatin print. © Pedro E. Guerrero Archives. Courtesy of Edward Cella Art +Architecture Los Angeles, CA.


Guerrero and Wright: Architecture Stories: Photographs by Pedro E. Guerrero at The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University

The year was 1939 — when the then 22-year-old Pedro E. Guerrero, his portfolio in hand, arrived at Taliesin West in Scottsdale in search of a job. Frank Lloyd Wright, in the midst of building the campus, needed someone to document the process. Despite the paltry pay and lack of job security, Guerrero signed on.

Wright had made an uncanny choice in hiring the young man who’d just narrowly escaped the segregated schools and pervasive prejudice of Mesa, Ariz. Guerrero’s intelligence and quick wit would stand him in good staid with the boss, and his remarkable portraits of Wright suggest the ease with which the two took to each other’s company. There was no question but that Guerrero would play a significant role in reinvigorating Wright’s career; his iconic photographs continue to exert a force.


Juan Roberto Diago, Sin título (Untitled), 2011


Diago: The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present” at The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art

So many insights in art, in scholarship and in life derive from accidents of attention grasped by some intuition insisting sotto voce, “Hey! This is important!” For me it was a prompt to walk once again through the first retrospective exhibition of the Afro-Cuban artist Roberto Diago currently at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art — though I had already Velcroed and snapped my overshoes against the snow waiting in Harvard Square.


Gail Sauter, Just Hanging Out, oil on linen.


SHAKEN AND STIRRED & SHAKE IT UP AT THE COPLEY SOCIETY OF ART

I found myself at the opening reception for the Copley Society of Art’s 2017 Winter Members Show, “Shaken and Stirred,” strangely resonating with its title. I seemed to have left my wife back at the Park Street Red Line station under a misunderstanding too complicated to explain, so I suffered some suspense while waiting for her to reappear.


Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession (Love Transformed into Dots), 2007.


Wanderlust: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

The retrospective, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., until May 14, includes paintings, three room-size installations (“All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,” “Chandelier of Grief” and “Where the Lights in My Heart Go”) and sculptures. They provide a complete lexicon of her motifs, color, layering, light, reflection and exploration of the body and the celestial universe.


Image: Dahlov Ipcar at her studio in 2011 (photography by Greg Morell).

Image: Dahlov Ipcar at her studio in 2011 (photography by Greg Morell).


Celebrating the life of Dahlov Ipcar

Dahlov Ipcar was celebrating her 99th year when her life and her vibrant career as a prolific artist came to an end, February 10, 2017. What is produced is a world of balance, a veritable cornucopia of visual motifs celebrating the weave of life. From the subterranean worlds of the ocean to the winged creatures of the air, all collaged with colorful exuberance in a beating matrix of interlocking creatures, great and small.


Image: Da Vinci — The Genius at the Museum of Science.

Da Vinci — The Genius at the Museum of Science.


Da Vinci — The Genius at the Museum of Science

Inside the Museum of Science is a dark room full of realized dreams that’s hosting a temporary exhibit from Grande Exhibitions and Pascal Cotte, France: “Da Vinci — The Genius,” an exhibition that allows visitors into Leonardo da Vinci’s world with a behind-the-paintings look at some of his most infamous creations.


Image: Kameelah Rashad, A familiar repetition, 2016, inkjet print.

Kameelah Rashad, A familiar repetition, 2016, inkjet print.


Keep Still and Carry On

Three weeks after President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, five weeks after Miami’s declaration as a Zika-free zone, five months after Brexit and nine weeks after the close of Art Basel Miami, artists and other Americans and Europeans are emerging from a catatonic state of denial, protesting and marching and executing art projects that address the US and worldwide political situations.