Chris Frost, Municipile
It had to be a proud moment for model-train enthusiasts when The Sopranos’ Bobby Baccala got whacked purchasing a Lionel version of the “Blue Comet” in a New Jersey model-railroading store — the music swells and the drama surges as Bobby goes crashing right into the elaborate display that might stand in for a perfectly running little mini-America. The multitude of metaphors stirred up by the world of tiny trains is explored in “TRAINSCAPE: INSTALLATION ART FOR MODEL RAILROADS,” which opens at the DeCordova Museum on September 1. Fourteen New England artists/artist teams hook up to produce a variety of interconnecting installations. In Inflatable Respiring Cloudscape, Robin Mandel and Gideon Webster attempt to bring the power, sound, and vibrations of real trains to their little depot. In Land O’Lactation, Ellen Wetmore and Jeff “Jeffu” Warmouth create a wee world held hostage by the primal needs of infants.
Links and overlaps are the focus of “MERGING INFLUENCE: EASTERN ELEMENTS IN NEW AMERICAN ART” which opens at Montserrat College of Art on August 27. The seven artists — Ahmed Abdalla (he’s in “Trainscape,” too), Shiva Ahmadi, Kamrooz Aram, Shelly Bahl, Eung Ho Park, C. Meng, and Yun-Fei Ji — are all now living and working in America. Here they draw on their various backgrounds — Egypt, Iran, India, Korea, China — as they address not only their individual experiences but also the impact of globalism.
Isabella Stewart Gardner was ahead of the pack when it came to globalism; the adventurous art patron was an early American enthusiast for the art and spirituality of Asia. “STEFANO ARIENTI: THE ASIAN SHORE,” which is up at the Gardner Museum through October 14, is an installation by the museum’s 2004 Artist-in-Residence, who was inspired by Mrs. Gardner’s Chinese Room, a place of personal meditation now known only via archival photographs. On September 4 at 11 am (and again on October 2), Boston spa Exhale will offer a meditation workshop in the gallery whereby you can engage with the art, and with yourself. The workshop is free with museum admission, but pre-registration is required.
And the fall gallery season kicks off September 7 at Boston Sculptors Gallery with two shows of new work exploring organic forms and objects: “JULIA SHEPLEY: FLUID STATES” and “TERRY ALBRIGHT: OUT OF MY GOURDS.”
“TRAINSCAPE” at DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln | September 1–January 13 | 781.259.8355 | “MERGING INFLUENCE” at Montserrat College of Art, 33 Essex St, Beverly | August 27–October 27 | 978.921.4242 | Meditation workshop at “STEFANO ARIENTI: THE ASIAN SHORE” at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 the Fenway, Boston | Exhibition through October 14; workshop September 4: 10-11 am | 617.278.5156 | “JULIA SHEPLEY: FLUID STATES” and “TERRY ALBRIGHT: OUT OF MY GOURDS” at Boston Sculptors, 486 Harrison Ave, Boston | September 5–October 7 | 617.482.7781
On the Web
DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park: www.decordova.org
Montserrat College of Art: www.montserrat.edu
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: www.gardnermuseum.org
Boston Sculptors: www.bostonsculptors.com