‘Made in America’ at Judi Rotenberg, Jetta Indeck at Montserrat
In his 2000 novel Super -Cannes , the often freaky British writer J.G. Ballard plunges into the dark side of capitalism, musing, “We’re driven by bizarre consumer trends, weird surges in the entertainment culture, mass paranoias about new diseases that are really religious eruptions. How to get a grip on all this? We may need to play on deep-rooted masochistic needs built into the human sense of hierarchy.” Americans have cornered the market on consumerism (and deep-rooted masochistic needs) in the 20th and 21st centuries, taking the passionate identification of self with product to extremes: we can’t get enough of all that junk inside our trunk. The intertwining of self with stuff is the topic of the ambitious group show “Made in America,” which opens at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery on August 3, with work by nine artists or artist duos who hold up a variety of mirrors to our relationship with our purchasing power.
Leslie Hall, Bow Blanket
So are we what we buy? In “Made in America,” Gina Dawson personalizes, fetishizes, and brings a note of sexual politics to her own spending habits through the traditionally feminine art of embroidery, cross-stitching receipts from her own mundane purchases as well as her personal tax forms and cellphone bills. Joan Linder draws everything she owns, identifying its country of origin and the type of currency used to acquire the object, creating a kind of portrait of herself that includes her bras, her soap, and her furniture. Douglas Weathersby and Brian Burkhardt come at branding, in the form of logos, from their individual perspectives. Leslie Hall re-creates her own self as a product, inventing “pop star” status for herself through mugs, T-shirts, and posters that feature her alter ego, a rather zaftig, bouffant-haired spokeswoman for the dazzling “Gem Sweaters” collection. Liz Nofziger, Sean Micka, Lorna Williams, and Harvey Loves Harvey also look at the intersection of fine art and commercialism with wit and bite.
Jetta Indeck’s watercolors of landscapes, including views of Gloucester and Beverly’s Lynch Park and still lifes of local wildflowers, were never meant for public viewing — the professional singer insisted throughout her life that the lovely work she made as a hobby “wasn’t ready” for exhibition. But thanks to the devoted efforts of her husband of nearly 60 years, Sidney Indeck, work by the late Beverly resident (she passed away last year) is on view in “North Shore Watercolors by Jetta Indeck,” which opens at Montserrat College of Art’s Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery on July 31. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in the 1970s, sketching cityscapes on her train rides into Boston; this selection offers a personal reflection on life and beauty.
“Made in America” at Judi Rotenberg Gallery, 130 Newbury St, Boston | August 3-26 | 617.437.1518 | “North Shore Watercolors by Jetta Indeck” at Montserrat College of Art, Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery, 23 Essex St, Beverly | July 31–August 18 | 978.921.4242 x 1319
On the Web
Judi Rotenberg Gallery: www.judirotenberg.com
Montserrat College of Art: www.montserrat.edu
: Museum And Gallery
, Leslie Hall, Montserrat College of Art, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, More