Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, The Center of
Intuition tells us that certain places are powerful, that certain spaces are sacred, and that we are sometimes in the presence of cosmic energy. The relationship between cosmic energy and individual creativity, and research into communication with the cosmos, is investigated with utopian spirit and fantastical imagination in “ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV: THE CENTER OF COSMIC ENERGY,” which opens at Tufts University Art Gallery on September 6. The Kabakovs are Russian émigré artists who’ve been collaborating since 1990. Ilya Kabakov was a dissident artist in Moscow from the 1950s to the 1980s; he’s best known in the US for his “total installations,” in which he builds life-size spaces including apartments, hospitals, and public restrooms, complete with elaborate allusions to their imagined, partly autobiographical inhabitants. The centerpiece of the Tufts show is a major structure called the “Communication with the Cosmos Building” — a 22-seat amphitheater set inside a cylinder and situated above ancient stone vessels, well positioned to harness cosmic energy and to focus viewers on the deep mysteries of existence.
Also happily keeping its head in the clouds, “TO FLY: CONTEMPORARY AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY,” at the Boston University Art Gallery starting September 7, looks at our world from above, with work by, among others, Argentina’s Esteban Pastorino Díaz, who mounts his camera on a kite to photograph locations in South America, and Cambridge-based Alex MacLean, whose abstract, geometric images are not instantly identifiable as landscapes.
Large-scale, down-to-earth photographs of American teenagers are on view in “CLASS PICTURES: PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAWOUD BEY,” which opens at the Addison Gallery of American Art on September 4. For this project, Bey, who has trained his camera on urban youth since the mid 1990s, photographed students from public and private high schools in cities including Detroit, Andover, Orlando and San Francisco, spending two to three weeks in each school. Each image is displayed next to a page of text written by the subject.
Traditional photographic techniques rub shoulders with experimental alternatives in the “2007 NEW ENGLAND PHOTOGRAPHY BIENNIAL,” which opens at the Danforth Museum of Art on September 9. Juried this year by pros Karen Haas and Arlette Kayafas, the show includes work by such established artists as Lou Jones and Jo Sandman, and relative newcomers including Rania Matar and Lissa Rivera.
“Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Center of Cosmic Energy” at Tufts University Art Gallery, 40R Talbot Ave, Medford | September 6–November 11 | 617.627.3518 | “To Fly: Contemporary Aerial Photography” at Boston University Art Gallery, 855 Comm Ave, Boston | September 7–October 28 | 617.353.3329 | “Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey” at Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover | September 4–December 30 | 978.749.4015 | “2007 New England Photography Biennial” at Danforth Museum of Art, 123 Union Ave, Framingham | September 9–October 28 | 508.620.0050
On the Web
Tufts University Art Gallery: cosmicenergy.tufts.edu
Boston University Art Gallery: www.bu.edu/art
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover: www.andover.edu/addison
Danforth Museum of Art: www.danforthmuseum.org