Beauty and the East

By EVAN J. GARZA  |  December 29, 2008

The Institute of Contemporary Art will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the "Obey Giant" campaign by tagging their gallery walls with "SHEPARD FAIREY: SUPPLY & DEMAND" (100 Northern Ave, Boston; February 6–August 16), the first museum survey of the world's most notorious wheat-paster and guerilla street artist (now famous for his iconic "Obama Hope" poster of the candidate-turned-President-elect). Featuring more than 80 works, and looking back more than 20 years, the exhibition will include a mural commissioned for the show, and Fairey himself will be creating public art works throughout the city. The ICA's ongoing series of new developments in contemporary art continues with "MOMENTUM 13: EILEEN QUINLAN," the first solo museum exhibition of the Boston-born photographer and her unique prismatic abstractions (March 18–July 12). It will be joined by "ACTING OUT: NEW SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS IN VIDEO" (March 18–October 18), which will feature work by Javier Tûllez, Phil Collins (no, not that one), and Artur Zmijewski, among others. Each work documents a "new form of social portraiture" through the activities of casual participants who unknowingly reveal the multifarious characteristics of social relationships.

As part of the biennial Boston Cyberarts Festival (opening in April) "SYNTAX," at BU's Photographic Resource Center (832 Comm Ave, Boston; March 27–May 10), will present new media artists and photographers whose work deals with digital language or syntax. With an impressive set of artists, including Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Richard Serra, "OPENING LINES" at the New Art Center (61 Washington Park, Newton; January 12–February 22) is sure to impress. Curated by Susan Goldwitz, featured works examine the use of line in modern and contemporary art.

Lines of equal splendor and detail, but those that form images of a far more crude nature, will be on hand for "R. CRUMB'S UNDERGROUND," an exhibition of work by the cult comic book author/illustrator/sex hound/jazz enthusiast/social satirist at Mass College of Art (621 Huntington Ave, Boston; February 2–March 3). The show is a survey of work from his eccentric and uncensored oeuvre made over the last 40 years, including old and new collaborations with other artists (including his wife, Aline Kominsky-Crumb) and the debut of his "spool" drawings. Also on view this season at Mass Art will be "FIGURATIVELY SEEING," a group show of artists attempting to redefine figurative painting and portraiture (January 21–March 3).

Shot along the boundary between Israel and Lebanon in the mid-to-late '90s is "MICHAL ROVNER: BORDER," a documentary-style fictional narrative that traverses both physical and emotional borders, including those of an Israeli commander and the artist herself, on view this winter at Wellesley College's Davis Museum and Cultural Center (106 Central St, Wellesley; March 11–June 14). Grief-stricken women dressed in black on a beach are the visual means for a discourse on widowhood and mourning in "AGNÉS VARDA: LES VEUVES DE NOIRMOUTIER (THE WINDOWS OF NOIRMOUTIER)," a moving video installation opening later this year at Harvard's Carpenter Center (24 Quincy St, Cambridge; March 12–April 12). The show will mark the first US exhibition by the French photographer, filmmaker, and installation artist.

Brandeis's Rose Art Museum will host a trio of shows this winter, including "HANS HOFFMAN: CIRCA 1950," which will be made up of several of the artist's most formative paintings, including nine works never seen before in an American museum; "SAINTS AND SINNERS," examining a marriage of opposites in modern and contemporary art, guest curated by Laura Hoptman of the New Museum, and "MASTER OF REALITY," curated by Joe Wardwell and featuring the work of five New York-based artists, including Japanese-born Brazilian bred Chie Fueki (415 South St, Waltham; January 15–April 5).

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