Luisa Rabbia at the Gardner, ‘Polar Attractions’ at the Peabody Essex, And ‘Meat After Meat Joy’ at Pierre Menard
Luisa Rabbia, Travels with Isabella, Travel Scrapbooks 1883/2008
Thin, bright-blue pencil lines on grounds of white, or white lines on a dark blue reminiscent of ballpoint-pen ink, often outline or define forms and figures in Luisa Rabbia’s drawings, sculpture, and video, adding a graphic quality to her work. During a residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum last year, the Italian-born, New York–based artist became interested in photographs that Isabella had collected and pasted into elaborate scrapbooks while traveling in China in 1883. In response, Rabbia created a slow-moving video work that offers a kind of travelogue of her own journey through these historic scrapbooks. Made in collaboration with experimental musician and producer Fa Ventilato, and opening at the Gardner on June 26, LUISA RABBIA: TRAVELS WITH ISABELLA, TRAVEL SCRAPBOOKS 1883/2008 shows Rabbia entering into the world of Mrs. Gardner’s photographs in part through her expressive use of line and drawing; she creates a fantastical narrative that explores the old images while bringing them to us through space and time.
|“Luisa Rabbia: Travels With Isabella, Travel Scrapbooks 1883/2008” at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 the Fenway, Boston | June 26–September 28 | 617.566.1401|
“Polar Attractions” at Peabody Essex Museum’s Art & Nature Center, East India Square, Salem | June 28–June 7, 2009 | 866.745.1876
“Meat After Meat Joy” at Pierre Menard Gallery, 10 Arrow St, Cambridge | June 21–July 20 | 617.868.2033
Visions of the Arctic and Antarctic have both inspired artists and worried them. “POLAR ATTRACTIONS,” which opens at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Art & Nature Center on June 28, finds more than 30 North American artists responding to the polar environment and the science of climate change. Nathalie Miebach creates giant warped baskets based on scientific data culled from sources such as NASA’s ozone-watch Web site; Billy Akavak photographs the landscape and people of Kimmirut, Nanavut, an Inuit community on the south coast of Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, where he lives. The Art & Nature Center is set up to engage viewers through interactive and multimedia elements; in “Polar Attractions,” that means you’ll be able to interact with an iceberg, guide a migrating tern on its perilous journey between the poles, and post your own digital images on a museum Web site.
Looking for some warm-blooded art? “MEAT AFTER MEAT JOY,” curated by Heide Hatry and opening at Pierre Menard Gallery on June 21, presents work by 10 contemporary artists who use meat in their work — primarily as a means of exploring the relationship of meat to the human body — and meat as metaphor. Raw meat played an important role in early feminist art; in Carolee Schneemann’s 1964 performance piece “Meat Joy,” partially nude figures cavort with sausage and raw fish. Meat — the body without skin — raises questions about identity and consciousness, and this exhibition brings together world-class artists, among them Schneemann, Zuang Huan, and Dieter Roth, to probe the subject.
On the Web
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: www.gardnermuseum.org
Peabody Essex Museum: www.pem.org
Pierre Menard Gallery: www.pierremenardgallery.com
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