In real life, the Victorian Fall River home where Lizzie Borden’s stepmother and father were found hacked to death on August 4, 1892, is now the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast — you can even book a stay in the room where Abby Borden was murdered, then enjoy a breakfast similar to the one the Bordens likely ate on the morning before the murders, including bananas, johnny cakes, and sugar cookies. Lizzie, who was in fact acquitted of the crime (though she’s permanently linked to it in popular imagination), and her hideous tale provide a spooky point of departure for LA-based artist Goody-B. Wiseman, whose interest in stories of loss and losers has led her to create morbid and humorous works including a subtitled film hinting at an abusive relationship between stuffed animals.
In “Goody-B. Wiseman: I Love You More Than Life (and That’s Not Saying Much),” which opens at South Boston’s new Second Gallery on March 25, the artist creates a scene of divine Victorian elegance and decrepitude, a mysterious drawing room that’s been abandoned, with only its ghosts left. A love letter to Ms. Borden in the form of a film addresses sex, violence, and the occult. Second Gallery pairs this with a new project by “Alexandre Singh: A Thousand and One Knights of the Round Table of Knottingham.” The New York–based artist’s installation involves a 20-minute animated video that explores myths of modernism and formalism (with Yves Klein as a jungle shaman and Kurt Schwitters as an inventor lost in a maze of his own creation), all viewed in an elaborate sculptural arrangement of consumer and building materials like carpeting, Pepsi bottles, and plywood — you’ll feel right at home.
If eyes are the window to the soul, hands are surely the path back out, our road to connection and expression. We use our own hands, and scrutinize everyone else’s, to convey or comprehend innumerable conscious and unconscious messages. “Fetish Gesture,” which opens at GASP on March 24, includes work by seven artists (including the show’s curator, Ben Sloat) in which such gestures play a central role. Hands are captured in the evocative act of offering food in Amy Montali’s photographs, for example, and seen by implication in the outlines that Jowhara AlSaud draws onto the negatives of her photographs.
The fine hand of illustrator Tomi Ungerer is the subject of a free gallery talk by curator Stephanie Molinard at the Boston Public Library on March 18. Organized by the Boston/Strasbourg Sister City Association and up through March 31, “The Human Comedy: Drawings and Posters by Tomi Ungerer” exhibits some 60 works. Ungerer is best known for his children’s books; the BPL showcases the wonderful political cartoons and posters that reflect his concern for contemporary social issues.
“Goody-B. Wiseman” and “Alexandre Singh” | March 25-April 22 | Second Gallery, 516 East Second St, South Boston | 617.413.9395 | “Fetish Gesture” | March 24-May 6 | GASP, 362-4 Boylston St, Brookline | 617.731.2500 | | Stephanie Molinard’s talk on “The Human Comedy: Drawings and Posters by Tomi Ungerer” | March 18, 11 am | Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Boston | 617.523.7651
On the Web:
Second Gallery: www.secondgallery.org
Tomi Ungerer: www.boston-strasbourg.org