Land ho!

Matthew Coolidge at the Carpenter Center, ‘Ana Maria Pacheco’ at the Danforth, and the December Sale at the SMFA
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  January 28, 2010
CLUI Archive, 209-10a-es (1997)

Matthew Coolidge lecture at Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | December 6 at 6 pm | 617.495.3251 | “Ana Maria Pacheco: Dark Night of the Soul” at Danforth Museum of Art, 123 Union Ave, Framingham | Through May 18 | 508.620.0050 | 27th Annual December Sale at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 230 the Fenway, Boston | December 5-9 | 617.369.3204
Tucked in unobtrusively next door to the Museum of Jurassic Technology along Venice Boulevard in Culver City, the Los Angeles site of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) keeps a low physical profile. But this earnestly titled organization is a sly hotbed of activity, promoting exhibitions and projects around the world, doggedly dedicated, as its mission statement asserts, to “the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.”

Founded in 1994 by BU graduate Matthew Coolidge, the CLUI combines the traditional research techniques used by anthropologists, urban planners, and geologists with the eye and mind of an artist steeped in ideas about contemporary land and landscape as pioneered by Robert Smithson and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Recent CLUI projects include “Pavement Paradise: American Parking Space,” which explores the “liminal, substanceless, and static space of automotive transience,” and “Ultima Thule,” which documents two remote American electromagnetic facilities in Thule, Greenland, 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle. On December 6 at 6 pm, Coolidge speaks on “UNDERSTANDING ANTHROPOGEOMORPHOLOGY” at Harvard’s Carpenter Center. A reception at the Sert Gallery follows.

Depictions of Saint Sebastian in art are numerous and stirring — the handsome youth pierced by arrows has been imagined by visual artists as disparate as El Greco and Salvador Dalí. Contemporary Brazilian artist Ana Maria Pacheco has created a sculptural installation using this dramatic moment as its reference point in “ANA MARIA PACHECO: DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL,” which is at the Danforth Museum of Art through May 18. Pacheco’s interpretation draws on the cultural diversity of her heritage, which includes Portuguese and West African sculptural traditions that reached Brazil through the colonial slave trade. In “Dark Night of the Soul,” 19 life-size wooden figures are arranged so that they surround the kneeling figure of a masked man transfixed with arrows. Viewers join the cluster in order to take in the exhibition, becoming participants in the scene and raising issues of passivity and responsibility.

THE 27TH ANNUAL DECEMBER SALE” at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) runs December 5-9 this year, once again offering an enormous selection of fine art in many media across a broad price range. The sale of nearly 5000 works — by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Kiki Smith as well as yet-to-be-discovered up-and-comers — benefits both the participating artists and SMFA student scholarships. In addition to the rewards of giving or living with one-of-a-kind art, December Sale buyers receive complimentary one-day admission to the Museum of Fine Arts.

On the Web
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts:
Danforth Museum of Art:
School of the Museum of Fine Arts:

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