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2009: The year in art

Saints, sinners, paint
The year started off with a kick in the teeth when, in January, Brandeis University announced plans to shutter its Rose Art Museum and sell off its masterpieces.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 30, 2009


The ‘business’ of art

Carey Young’s ‘Uncertain Contracts’ at the RISD Museum
You could be forgiven if you sometimes thought that corporations are the root of what's wrong with the United States.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 30, 2009


Fresh fruit and vegetables

A winter crop of art
The bleakest months of New England winter are ahead of us, so the prospect of leaving your toasty house to see art may not be at the top of your to-do list.
By: GREG COOK  |  January 04, 2010


2009: Worth another look

The gallery highlights of 2009
The lousy economy hit home this year as Stairwell Gallery in Providence and Yes Gallery in Warren closed their doors.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 22, 2009

More closings and a question: Can galleries survive here?

The Arts
More closings and a question: Can galleries survive here?
By: GREG COOK  |  December 16, 2009


Two sides of life

Photographs by Andy Warhol and Stewart Martin
"I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist," the Pop artist Andy Warhol wrote in 1975. "Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
By: GREG COOK  |  December 17, 2009


Alternative universe

Boston Expressionism in context
In the 1930s and '40s, Boston painters developed a moody, mythic realism. They mixed social satire with depictions of street scenes, Biblical scenes, and mystical symbolic narratives, all of it darkened by the shadow of the Great Depression and World War II.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 16, 2009



Rachel Berwick conjures ghost birds in Zugunruhe
Rachel Berwick's art is concerned with conjuring ghosts — in particular the spirits of creatures or peoples near extinction or already died out.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 09, 2009


Striving for significance

Deborah Bright and David H. Wells at the Chazan Gallery
One of the questions in fine art is how to address the big issues of today, from our wars to global warming.
By: GREG COOK  |  December 02, 2009


Classic Rock?

The myth of the pilgrims is so ingrained in our culture, it's a part of our national DNA. But one trip to the Plymouth area could change all that.
If you're looking for meaning in the overly sanitized myth that is our national Thanksgiving celebration, a good place to start is southeastern Massachusetts, where nearly 400 years ago that band of hungry, ill-prepared religious zealots tried to colonize the middle of nowhere at the start of winter.  
By: GREG COOK  |  November 26, 2009


Magpie and copyist

Iris Apfel at PEM, Mary McFadden at MassArt
If you were going to recount the evolution of hippie guy fashion, you might say that what began with psychedelic ruffled shirts and corduroy pants in 1968 has in late middle age split into two streams: collarless white button-down shirts, usually buttoned right up to the neck and worn with a black vest, and Hawaiian shirts.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 24, 2009


Airing it out

Works by Aschheim, Buck, Gottlieb, and Prine
New York painter Eve Aschheim has said that she uses geometry in her abstractions "to 'think about' the intersection of nature and cityscape. My works might suggest the chaotic geometry of the city, the expectant stillness of air, the tenuous balance of a wire line against a building."
By: GREG COOK  |  November 24, 2009


Channel surfing

Videos at Gallery Z, animation at AS220
In May 1978, Providence police raided the exhibition “Private Parts” at the Electron Movers loft on North Main Street to enforce a then-new state obscenity law.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 17, 2009


Narrative truth

Krzysztof Wodiczko’s war story at the ICA
For the majority of us Americans, Iraq and Afghanistan are a series of news-data points — number of Americans killed today, number of car bombs, spending tallies, estimates of civilian deaths.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 11, 2009


Biker gang

 ‘Procycle 2009’ at Machines with Magnets
You’re looking over the handlebars of a bike, down the narrow canyon between a pair of city buses heading right at you.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 12, 2009


Wizards and masterpieces

Harry Potter at the Museum of Science, and another look at the Rose
At “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” at the Museum of Science, when a robed attendant places the sorting hat on a visitor’s head and soon after a door whooshes open to reveal the Hogwarts Express, you find yourself filled with the kind of giddy expectation you feel when getting your hands on a Potter book the day it’s released.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 06, 2009


Gang of four

 New work at 5 Traverse and Providence College
The elegantly simple shapes of Providence artist Lisa Perez’s shallow wooden wall sculptures at 5 Traverse Gallery take on charming, wobbly, bubbly forms with uneven edges, as if they were worn away by rivers.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 03, 2009


Harvard ‘ACT UP’ show gets rise from right-wingers

Tea Baggers Meet the Tea-Baggers Dept.
Taking a detour from directly bashing President Obama, right-wingers are now hot and bothered by a Harvard art exhibit. And they have an Obama administration foil toward whom they can channel their bile.
By: GREG COOK  |  November 02, 2009


In focus

‘Focus on Four’ is a sharp sampler
Photography has been New England’s greatest contribution to art of the past century.
By: GREG COOK  |  October 29, 2009


Casting spells

Tomb 10A at the MFA; ACT UP at Harvard
In 1915, Harvard University and Museum of Fine Arts archæologists digging in a rocky cliff at Deir el-Bersha unearthed the 4000-year-old tomb of the Djehutynakhts, an ancient Egyptian governor and his wife.
By: GREG COOK  |  October 21, 2009



AS220’s ‘Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!,’ and Holly Ewald
It's not quite right to call "Do It! Show It! Sing It! Work It!" the AS220 biennial.
By: GREG COOK  |  October 21, 2009

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