‘Wedded Bliss’ at the Peabody Essex, Toys and Games at the Revolving Museum, and Chad Walker at Space 242
Christian Lacroix, Wedding Cake Dress
In the song, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, but who knows what that’s supposed to mean. Over the past three centuries, around the world, marriage has represented many things, from a negotiated contractual agreement to a cementing of interfamilial power relationships to an ideal of soul mates finding common bliss. But the wedding ceremony itself stands alone — a fascinating, complex ritual that reflects the hopes of each culture for its future. Opening April 26 at the Peabody Essex Museum, “WEDDED BLISS: THE MARRIAGE OF ART AND CEREMONY” explores the subject with paintings, sculpture, textiles, jewelry, and more from the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. It’s organized under five headings: “Wedding in White” (symbolism and history of the Princess Bride look, including Christian Lacroix’s groovy dress in which the bride can double as the cake); “Artful Negotiations” (images of the transactional aspects of marriage); “Color and Symbolism in Wedding Attire” (alternatives to the modern Western tradition); “Art and Ceremony” (including a full-size wedding chuppah or canopy); and “Remembrance” (including a Civil War–era anniversary gift from Tiffany’s). Work from William Hogarth to Jacob Lawrence to Lesley Dill will be on view alongside such objects as a jewel-encrusted, late-19th-century Russian “nuptial crown” and colorful silk Chinese wedding gown.
Recent research recognizing the significance of play in our lives has raised concern about the diminishing amount of it these days. “TOYS AND GAMES: MORE THAN AMUSEMENT,” which opened at the Revolving Museum on Valentine’s Day with artwork examining the æsthetics of playful genres like video and computer games, dolls, puzzles, and TV game shows, holds a second opening on May 1 to showcase art by the Museum’s Artbotics Program, a youth after-school affair run in partnership with UMass-Lowell’s computer-science and robotics departments. Innovative, interactive work by the young creators joins Chelmsford-based Laura Mayotte’s “Quilt Memory Game” and a series of images titled “Buy Me Something” produced during photographer Nat Ward’s recent workshop at a Toys “R” Us in Nashua.
Chad Walker describes his charming drawings as having been inspired by favorite comics and stories including Archie, Peanuts, and the books of Shel Silverstein, as well as by Japanese poets Kobayashi Issa and Yosa Buson. The spiritually optimistic Connecticut-based artist will show new work in “DEVOTED BEE: DRAWINGS TO BRING US TOGETHER,” which opens at SPACE 242 on April 25.
“Wedded Bliss: The Marriage Of Art And Ceremony” at Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, Salem | April 26–September 14 | 866.745.1876 | “Toys And Games: More Than Amusement” at Revolving Museum, 22 Shattuck St, Lowell | May 1–December 31 | 978.937.2787 | “Devoted Bee: Drawings To Bring Us Together” at SPACE 242, 242 East Berkeley St [second floor], Boston | April 25–May 23 | 617.426.8942 x 225
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