Amazing but true: each year since 1989, the tireless curatorial team at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park have scoured the New England area, visiting studios and labs, touring exhibitions and installations, poring over slides, and now CDs and DVDs, to put together a show highlighting artists from the area, exhibited together under the same roof by virtue of their individual talents rather than by any particular shared thematic content, media, or formal concerns. “The 2006 DeCordova Annual Exhibition,” which opens April 29 (with an opening reception on May 4), offers work by 11 artists and one collaborative duo, from Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, in media that include cast bronze, talking mirrors, great expanses of pinned objects, and paint on canvas.
A feature of the DeCordova Annual is that satisfying associations and cross-pollinations seem to emerge organically. Everyone makes his or her own connections; I found interactions between technology and biology — in the form of images of genetic manipulation, biomorphic forms, references to scientific methodology and notational systems, freaky hybrids and intense exchanges between man and machine — in different ways in works by Alexander Ross, Evelyn Rydz, Jen Simms, the team of Gretchen Skogerson and Garth Zeglin, and Naoe Suzuki.
The implications of rapidly advancing technology for visual artists was also a hot topic in the fall of 1966, when Bell Laboratories physicist Billy Kluver organized a series of performance events that paired artists including composer John Cage, artist Robert Rauschenberg, and filmmaker, dancer, and choreographer Yvonne Rainer with Bell Lab engineers over the course of nine evenings at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. Opening at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center on May 4, “9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966” brings that happening to life again through works of art, drawings, and film and photo documentation of the original performances.
Also on May 4, MIT presents an opportunity to look at dance and moving image in contemporary art in “Choreographic Turn.” American-born, London-based artist Daria Martin’s 16mm film “Soft Materials” documents an improvisational dance between two humans and some state-of-the-art robots. It’ll be shown along with an expansive video installation, whenever on on on nohow on/airdrawing , created by German artist Peter Welz in collaboration with dancer/choreographer William Forsythe. Welz filmed Forsythe’s movements, in this case inspired by the cadences found in Samuel Beckett’s late writings, using five cameras; viewers experience the work projected on five large screens that fill the gallery.
“The 2006 DeCordova Annual Exhibition” | April 29-August 20 | DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln | 718.259.8355 | “9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966” and “Choreographic Turn” | May 4-July 9 | MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge | 617.253.4400
On the Web
List Visual Arts Center: http://web.mit.edu/lvac