There are two ways of approaching a Kahn/Selesnick installation, their way and mine. Either you look at the objects they create and assemble through the lens of the story they’ve made up (which means you need to read the press release or wall text first) or you take at face value the visual appeal of the work itself. If you side with the artists, here’s what you’re supposed to “know”: in 1923, a rogue iceberg floated into the Baltic port of Lübeck. Out of that historic “fact” (a cursory Google search indicates no such event), the artists imagine a municipality built on the visiting floe, where inhabitants played cards (a sumptuous print of a deck of playing cards hangs on the wall) and inflation ran amok (a wheelbarrow tidily filled with paper money is positioned between two mannequins decked out in clothes made from the same currency).
Having not been prepped with the fairy tale, what I saw was a sweet, nostalgic, gently appealing treatment of the economic havoc of Weimar Germany, the collapse of a nation (and the war that followed) remade as a folksy fable. Were I a historian of that era, or someone who’d seen his money rendered worthless, I’d probably be upset by “Eisbergfreistadt,” but I’m not. It washed over me pleasurably, like an unnaturally warm wave.
Also on view are the works of two new-to-the-gallery artists, Anne Peretz and Doron Putka. Peretz does landscapes of beautiful places — Truro, mostly; Putka does both landscapes and still lifes. Each brings to her canvases a sense of preciousness; their images act as refuges from a world largely under siege.
“Gallery Artists Exhibit” | Berenberg Gallery, 4 Clarendon St, Boston | By appointment through August
“Neeta Madahar & Rona Pondick: Unnatural” | Howard Yezerski Gallery, 14 Newbury St, Boston | Through August 18
“Summer Salon” | Pepper Gallery, 38 Newbury St, Boston | Through August 12
: Museum And Gallery
, Hieronymus Bosch, Neeta Madahar, Rona Pondick