The roar of the greasepaint

‘The World as a Stage’ at the ICA, ‘British Prints 1914–1939’ and ‘Traveling Scholars’ at the MFA, and Colombian Artists at GASP
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  January 23, 2008
Rita McBride, Arena

“The World as a Stage” at Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston | February 1–April 27 | 617.478.3100 

“Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914–1939” and “SMFA Traveling Scholars” at Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | January 30–June 1 (“British Prints”) and February 2–March 2 (“Traveling Scholars”) | 617.267.9300

“The Dynamics of Belonging” at GASP, 362-4 Boylston St, Brookline | February 1–March 8 | 617.418.4308 or
“Theatricality” used to have negative connotations when used to describe fine art: glitzy surface rather than nourishing substance, suspiciously melodramatic gesture, the faked as opposed to the Real. Recently, however, artists have been challenging this idea with work that looks at the art-object/art-viewer relationship itself as a kind of performance, training a light on the elements that make up the staged experience: sets, performers, props, audience. Organized by Tate Modern curators Jessica Morgan (former ICA chief curator) and Catherine Wood and opening at the ICA on February 1, “THE WORLD AS A STAGE” presents work by 16 artists. Jeremy Deller’s 2004 installation and video, The Battle of Orgreave, documents the artist’s epic re-enactment of a violent 1984 clash between police and striking miners in South Yorkshire. Rita McBride’s immense 1997 sculpture Arena brings a great expanse of oversized stadium seating to the ICA. Pawel Althamer, Andrea Fraser, Mario Ybarra Jr. are also represented; the show is accompanied by a smart little catalogue designed like a Playbill.

The social and economic upheaval in Britain between the outbreak of World War I and the beginning of World War II was reflected in the visual arts in the form of increased experimentation with abstraction and a fascination with the newly mechanized pace of modern life. Opening at the Museum of Fine Arts on January 30, “RHYTHMS OF MODERN LIFE: BRITISH PRINTS 1914–1939” offers more than 100 examples of work by 14 British modernist printmakers whose art during this period ranged from a somber response to the first fully mechanized war to colorful depictions of the zippy age of motorcar racing and jazz orchestras. Also at the MFA, “SMFA TRAVELING SCHOLARS,” opening February 2, presents new work by recipients of the Museum School’s Traveling Scholarship Awards, which are granted each year to a juried selection of SMFA alumni and Fifth Year Program students. Bill Durgin, Mathew Clay Freeman, Leslie Hall, Will Pappenheimer, Laurel Sparks, and Elizabeth H. Wallace were inspired by travel to Europe, Australia, India, and destinations within the United States.

The ideas of “place” and of “context” are slippery ones in our mobile society, and that can confound a soul’s sense of belonging anywhere. Curated by Gonzalo Fuenmayor and opening at GASP on February 1, “THE DYNAMICS OF BELONGING” brings together work by nine Colombian artists — only half of whom live in Colombia at the moment — as it explores identity and nationhood through drawing, collage, photography, painting and video.

On the Web
“The World as a Stage” at Institute of Contemporary Art:
“Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914–1939” and “SMFA Traveling Scholars”:
“The Dynamics of Belonging”:

Related: When worlds collide, Going deep, Year in Art: Beyond the gloom, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Culture and Lifestyle, History, World History,  More more >
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