That weird Gothic lettering, the direct yet formal tone — what exactly are Ketel One Vodka’s ads supposed to signify? And how are we supposed to understand their appearance, by way of inkjet and silkscreen on canvas, in installations by two young artists, Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker, who collaborate to create exhibitions that set paintings of ad copy next to scanned images of serrated knives and sculptural pyramids of one-gallon paint cans? Guyton and Walker represent one of the more interesting current twists on appropriation and Pop in art, throwing issues of recycling and marketing strategies into the mix, and their new installation “Guyton/Walker: Empire Strikes Back,” which opens at Harvard’s Carpenter Center on March 16, is sure to rattle Andy Warhol’s ghost. Catch the duo in conversation with art historian and senior Artforum editor Scott Rothkopf on March 16 at 6 pm at the Carpenter Center — the talk and the opening reception that follows are free and open to the public.
Institutional critique has formed the basis for Andrea Fraser ’s art since 1986, when as her contribution to a show at New York’s New Museum she conducted a tour of the exhibit in the persona of a fictional museum docent. Since then, Fraser has examined the relationship between artists and their patrons in forms ranging from analyzing corporate collections to documenting herself in a sexual encounter with a collector. She talks about her new book, Museum Highlights , at the Institute of Contemporary Art on March 15 at 6:30 pm.
Astutely recognizing a “confusion of collective purpose” on the current American social landscape, sculptor Laura Baring-Gould looks to the life of bees for potentially more harmonious methods of production and forms of labor in “Laura Baring-Gould: Working for Passage,” which opens at Boston Sculptors Gallery on March 16. In addition to constructing an intimate architectural space from wood, paper, and beeswax, she presents more 50 small bronze objects exploring the formal and archetypal qualities of “tools.” The show runs concurrently with “Robert Schelling: Bronze Sculpture,” in which common objects like blades and bowls are simplified into elegant forms and classical compositions.
The Fitchburg Art Museum, founded by ahead-of-her-time artist and educator Eleanor Norcross in 1925, keeps current with “New England/New Talent,” its eighth biennial, juried exhibition of contemporary art. It opens on March 12; the 13 talented artists whose work will be showcased include Ruth Daniels, Louise Marshall, Greg Mencoff, and Helen Meyrowitz.
“Guyton/Walker: Empire Strikes Back” | March 16-20 | Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | 617.495.3251 | Andrea Fraser | March 15, 6:30 pm | Institute of Contemporary Art, 955 Boylston St, Boston | general admission $8 | 617.927.6635 | “Laura Baring-Gould: Working for Passage” and “Robert Schelling: Bronze Sculpture” | March 16-April 15 | Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave, Boston | 617.482.7781 | “New England/New Talent” | March 12-June 4 | Fitchburg Art Museum, Merriam Pkwy, Fitchburg | 978.345.4207
On the Web:
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts: www.ves.fas.harvard.edu
Institute of Contemporary Art: www.icaboston.org
Boston Sculptors Gallery: www.bostonsculptors.com
Fitchburg Art Museum: fitchburgartmuseum.org