When the red, red robin . . .

‘Language Of Color’ at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, ‘Speaker Project’ at MassArt, Cathy McLaurin at Montserrat
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  September 17, 2008
Andrew Schaper, Resplendent Quetzal

“Language Of Color” at Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St, Cambridge | September 26–September 6, 2009 | 617.495.3045

“Juan Ángel Chávez: Speaker Project” at Stephen D. Paine Gallery, Mass College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Ave, Boston | September 22–November 22 | 617.879.7333

“Where The Arms Hook Onto The Body” at Montserrat College of Art Gallery, 23 Essex St, Beverly | September 24 at 7 pm | 978.921.4242

Instantaneous color change in flounder and cuttlefish, the hows and whys of zebra stripes, colors as they appear through the eyes of some of our fellow critters — these are among the topics covered in “LANGUAGE OF COLOR,” which opens at the Harvard Museum of Natural History on September 26. This exhibit explores the basic nature of color and its relationship to survival and pleasure in the world. It features real animal specimens (birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, mollusks, and insects from Harvard’s extensive collections) along with video presentations, computer interactives, and live dart frogs, in an attempt to answer questions about how colors in animals are produced and perceived, and about the variety of messages these colors convey. Okay, so the art here is really all nature’s doing, but culture takes its cues from its environment, and our physical response to hue is tied to our æsthetic appreciation.

Turning our sensory attention to our ears: “JUAN ÁNGEL CHÁVEZ: SPEAKER PROJECT,” opening at Massachusetts College of Art on September 22, is a sculptural installation made of found materials, light, and sound by a Chicagoan who got his start painting large-scale urban murals as a member of the Chicago Public Art Group. Chávez’s show at MassArt will turn the gallery into an interactive sound studio, using the likes of old billboard signs, wood-panel siding, and traffic cones; special performances will take place during the run of the exhibit.

The power of an object to remain in the memory long after it’s gone is of great interest to CATHY McLAURIN, who’s been reflecting on the “simple, unleavened bread” that her grandmother made for Holy Communion at their small country church. McLaurin has been making her now-deceased grandmother’s bread as way to connect with her past — and also as a way to share with her community. In an evening called “Where the arms hook onto the body” at Montserrat College of Art Gallery on September 24, she shares the bread she’s baked while also sharing recollections about her grandmother and encouraging participants to share their own remembrances (and bread) in return. The project is being staged in connection with the gallery’s “Many Kinds of Nothing” (up through October 26), whose four artists represent the act of meditation and contemplative spiritual practice in their work.

On the Web
Harvard Museum of Natural History: www.hmnh.harvard.edu
Mass College of Art and Design: www.massart.edu
Montserrat College of Art Gallery: www.montserrat.edu

Related: 2009: The year in art, Fresh fruit and vegetables, Must warn others, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Mammals, Nature and the Environment, Wildlife,  More more >
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