CECI N’EST PAS UN GUM WRAPPER. “Crumpled,” a trompe l’oeil screenprint, chine collé on paper by Carl Haase, 2007.
Last weekend’s Block Party was a charming and invigorating celebration of Portland’s art community. The arts district was thronged with supporters of our city’s uniquely tight-knit and collaborative variety of sophisticated art offerings on Saturday, taking over the block from MECA to the Portland Museum of Art. The interactive evening, spearheaded by SPACE Gallery, set an ambitious standard for what’s to come on the art front rounding out this year.
A highlight of the season is a series of rare screenings of Mathew Barney’s narrative-defying cult video Cremaster Cycle, co-presented by SPACE GALLERY and the PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART. Parts 1-5 will be screened individually on the evenings of November 18-20, but if you have real endurance and want to experience the work in its orgiastic and sprawling totality, Cremaster 1 through 5 will run a beautifully arduous 398 minutes on Sunday the 21st.
Also coming up at the PMA is the second exhibit in the new “Circa” series entitled “False Documents and Other Illusions.” Running from October 30 to January 2, 2011, the group show will feature a spectrum of contemporary artists employing various approaches to trompe l’oeil, or the art of fooling the eye. Coinciding with “False Documents” will be “John Haberle: American Master of Illusion,” a forefather of the use of trompe l’oeil. The show of 16 paintings and drawings will open on September 18.
A thorough follow-up to CMCA’s 2000 “Photographing Maine” will open in Rockport on October 2, surveying works by 150 Maine photographers taken during the last decade.
“Mind-bending with the Mundane” will continue on at THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT MAINE COLLEGE OF ART through October 17, to be followed by a multi-media letterform-based collaborative exhibit featuring graphic-design faculty at MECA, including Megan O’Connell, Margo Halverson, Mark Jamra, and Charles Melcher. Daniel Fuller will be assuming his post as the new ICA director this month, and we are excited to see what he has up his sleeve.
The COLBY MUSEUM OF ART will present a performance-based installation by MECA and Skowhegan alumna Gina Siepel as part of the museum’s “currents” series. The multi-media exhibit, which includes a hand-built traditional river workboat and photographic re-stagings of Winslow Homer’s images of wilderness guides, will open on November 4 and run through February 13, 2011. The museum will also be showing paintings, texts, and objects from its collection in “Little Elegies: The Art of Nineteenth-Century Mourning” on view from November 18 through April 2011.
“Sit Down!”, an exhibit showcasing the BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART’s collection of American and European furniture, will open October 21. The exhibit will chronicle the evolution of style, innovation, and social constructs related to furniture starting with a medieval armchair and running through a Richard Prince “nurse’s hat chair.” The BATES COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART will show concurrent exhibits of Lalla Essaydi’s photographs of Moroccan women in staged narratives and Wally Reinhardt’s painted interpretations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, both opening October 8 and running through mid-December. Sculpture by Keisha Luce and photography by Kirk Torregrossa documenting the affects of Agent Orange in Vietnam will be up until October 8 at the SALT INSTITUTE FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES, and group show “The Architecture of Environmental Landscapes, Within & Without” will open September 20 at the ART GALLERY AT UNE.