The Newport Art Museum at 100

By GREG COOK  |  December 12, 2012

James Montford's "Pow Wow Now" installation (through January 6) is a bracing but confusing meditation on race. A brief video appears to feature Montford's face projected onto the back of a woman with text scrolling across a screen behind her saying: "Black is evil . . . Black is gloomy . . . White is free from color." Via headphones, you can make out snippets of Montford incanting "my family is white black Native American," "divorced," "my son," "I had children," "George Washington crossing the Delaware." His voice is so repeated and layered that it's hard to pull sentences out of the fugue. A version of the text appears on the gallery walls, making clear that Montford, the director of the Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College, and himself black and Native American, is mulling his marriage (now divorced) to a white woman. There's a lot of charged information here, but it needs more orchestration to coalesce.

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

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BEAUTY AND RUIN  |  July 30, 2014
    You’ve surely seen Providence painter Agustín Patiño’s work.
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.
  •   DOODLES, LIGHTS, AND DREAMS  |  July 16, 2014
    Gibson Prouty has found a muse — classic yellow pencils with pink erasers on the end.
  •   SEEING ANEW  |  July 09, 2014
    The aim of the RISD Museum’s eight newly renovated galleries for its permanent collection of fashion and Egyptian and Asian art seems to be “quiet contemplation.”
  •   BRIGHTNESS AND DARKNESS  |  June 25, 2014
    Constellations of mirror ball clouds dangle from the ceiling on pink cords at the center of the room and slowly rotate and sparkle. You’re invited to peer though weird, lumpy crystal-telescope-things.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK