High concept

By GREG COOK  |  April 6, 2010

Still, if conceptual art is Boston’s big thing, then let’s embrace it. The ICA should assemble a round-up of major local conceptualists, including the artists here (who despite my reservations are some of this sector’s major representatives), plus folks like Catherine D’Ignazio, the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, Andrew Mowbray, the National Bitter Melon Council, John Osorio-Buck, Ben Sloat, Jeff Warmouth, Douglas Weathersby, Deb Todd Wheeler, and Andrew Witkin.

If after this mental workout you crave a treat for your senses, indulge in “Modeling Devotion: Terracotta Sculpture of the Italian Renaissance” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It’s a small (11 works), lovely, scholarly show in which curator Alan Chong argues that Renaissance marbles have overshadowed the cool stuff people squeezed out of clay. Chong addresses notions propounded by Michelangelo et al. that marble was awesomer because it was more challenging to work with, and so the magnificent results were evidence of greater skill. And besides, we always seem to favor fancy rocks over mud and dirt.

None of the portrait busts, crucifixions, or other Christian sculptures here kicks Michelangelo’s ass, but Matteo Crivitali’s Virgin and Christ Child, from about 1480, is astonishing in its delicate realism. The slightly-smaller-than-life-sized Virgin kneels as if praying to her little naked baby, who kneels in prayer right back at her. The wide-eyed boy seems ready to topple over — it’s almost as if he were playing. But the Virgin, in a rich red dress, blue cloak, and gold band holding in place her long wavy Italian hair, is a model of solemnity. Her eyes are half closed — it’s an inward gaze that along with her posture conveys an incredible motherly, holy tenderness.

Read Greg Cook’s blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Entertainment, Ben Sloat, Claire Beckett,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PERFECTLY HUMAN  |  April 16, 2014
    Sometimes I think you can understand everything about our society today by considering it through two themes — the perfection of technology versus the messily human handmade.
  •   THE LAST FRONTIER  |  April 02, 2014
    They say that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica haven’t been above freezing in millennia.
  •   ASSURED ABSTRACTIONS  |  March 19, 2014
    “The golden age of abstraction is right now,” ARTnews informed me last spring.
  •   COMMON GROUND  |  March 12, 2014
    “I did everything in the world to keep this from happening,” exclaims the assistant to the rich man in Kerry Tribe’s There Will Be ___ _.
  •   LOCAL LUMINARIES  |  March 05, 2014
    Reenacting a childhood photo, portraits of fabulous old ladies, and dollhouse meditations on architecture are among the artworks featured in the “2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition.”

 See all articles by: GREG COOK