AWARD WINNER: Bill Durgin’s Cyc. 9 is part of the SFMA’s “Traveling Scholars” show.
In 2008, the fourth dimension, time, steps to the fore in the art world — its passage, and our future, are clearly on many minds, as are ideas about slowing up, looking back, scaling down, and moving forward.
David Claerbout has a wily way with temporality. Using photography, video, and digital technology to move between fixed and time-based images, he’s developed what has been described as a “moving still,” to which he adds narrative elements. His slowly unfolding work rewards viewers who take their time. “DAVID CLAERBOUT,” at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center (20 Ames St, Cambridge; February 8–April 6), is the first museum survey of the Belgian artist’s work.
The transformation of a small pond north of Exeter, in England, as it undergoes successive periods of neglect and landscaping between 1996 and 2003 is the subject of “JEM SOUTHAM: UPTON PYNE,” at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum (106 Central St, Wellesley; March 19–June 8). The intimacy of Southam’s detailed narrative contrasts with “GRAND SCALE: MONUMENTAL PRINTS IN THE AGE OF DÜRER AND TITIAN,” which, up concurrently at the Davis, features woodcuts and engravings by ambitious early-16th-century artists intent on rivaling painted images.
Attempts to pin down nature’s fleeting tracks can be seen in “EVIDENCES: FOOTPRINTS, DRIPLINES, SCULPTURE AND DRAWINGS BY JOYCE AUDY ZARINS,” at the Essex Art Center (56 Island St, Lawrence; January 11–February 29), a show that focuses on a particular tree in Lawrence. And in “IMPERMANENCE: PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHELLEY ZATSKY,” also at the Essex Art Center (March 7–May 2), photographs of places on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered” list document the toll time takes on once-glorious buildings.
Looking at a photograph of a child, we might see vulnerability, purity, or experience beyond one’s years. “PRESUMED INNOCENCE: PHOTOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVES OF CHILDREN,” at the DeCordova Museum (51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln; February 2–April 27), brings together 113 photographs dating from the early 20th century to the present; the collection includes a wealth of documentary and socially concerned works by such artists as Bruce Davidson and Mary Ellen Mark.
Time repeats itself in “BROKEN HOME, 1997/2007,” at Brandeis’s Rose Art Museum (415 South St, Waltham; January 23–April 13), a re-creation of a 1997 exhibition of the same name in New York’s Greene Naftali Gallery that included and will again include Robert Gober, Dan Graham, and Franz West, among others. Also at the Rose during this same period, “EMPIRES AND ENVIRONMENTS” pairs works from the Rose’s collection with contemporary artists like Wayne Gonzales and Nicole Cherubini, and “ARP TO REINHARDT: ROSE GEOMETRIES” focuses on examples of geometric abstraction from the Rose’s collection, with work by Ellsworth Kelly, Mary Heilman, and Al Held.
Pulling the rug out from under traditional gallery-going experience, “SOME SORT OF UNCERTAINTY,” presented at Axiom Gallery (141 Green Street, Boston; January 11–February 17) in collaboration with Art Interactive, encourages spectators to interact with seemingly empty spaces and otherwise activate as well as contemplate art by Bruce Campbell, Liz Nofziger, Douglas Weathersby, and others.