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When worlds collide

The Collision Collective at AXIOM, Stencils at NESAD, and Alice Neel on film
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  August 7, 2007
Daniel Paluska, Holy Toaster

We humans are quick to anthropomorphize the non-human. Clumsily seeking to understand and connect, we infantilize our pets, name our cars and our hurricanes, recognize a face in the moon, and feel love from a stuffed bunny. This tendency extends to our feelings about technology — our personification of the myriad electronic devices and processes we encounter, a complex world that we have in many ways made in our own image. “COLLISION:TECHNOMORPH,” which opens at Axiom Gallery on August 10, is the latest project by the Boston-based Collision Collective, a group of MIT-centric new-media artists who’ve been pushing the art/techno envelope with humor and intelligence. Collision Collective members Jack Bacharach and William Tremblay have curated nine works that, if not conscious, are at least animate. Daniel Paluska’s Holy Toaster produces human likenesses in toast. Made of electronic devices including video screens, Andrew Neumann’s Quartet mimics “natural” biological processes and motions.

More and more collectives and collaboratives are pursuing performance-oriented, interactive work that is sociable as well as socially conscious. As part of the New England School of Art & Design’s ongoing series of guest-curated exhibitions, interim gallery director James Manning invited Hiroko Kikuchi (performance artist and founding member of the National Bitter Melon Council), and Alice Vogler (performance artist and member of both the Mobius Artists Group and the TEST collaborative group) to organize “STENCILS: PUBLIC SPACE AND SOCIAL INTERVENTION” (up through August 25), in which 14 artists explore variations on the intersection between public life and art. Designed as an interactive event, with components occurring inside and outside the gallery, “Stencils” includes artist Dirk Adams’s guided-participatory sound walk, in which he invites the audience to experience parts of the city through sound, and Andi Sutton’s performance intervention project, which takes place along the MBTA’s #1 Mass Ave bus route.

Alice Neel (1900–1984) painted the figures in her dynamic personal world, from Andy Warhol to Bella Abzug, and from Allen Ginsberg to Annie Sprinkle; defying convention and description, the results create a revealing social portrait of 20th-century America. ALICE NEEL, a documentary created by her grandson, filmmaker Andrew Neel, makes its Boston debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art on August 19 at 3 pm; the filmmaker will be present for a post-screening Q&A. It will then get a dozen screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts, between August 23 and September 15; Neel will be present on August 29.

“Collision:Technomorph” at AXIOM Gallery, 141 Green St, Boston | August 10–September 8 | 617.953.6413 | “Stencils” at New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University, 75 Arlington St, Boston | Through August 25 | 617.573.8785 | Alice Neel | Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston | August 19 at 3 pm | $10 | 617.478.3103 | Museum of Fine Arts | August 23–September 15 | $9 | 617.369.3300

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Institute of Contemporary Art , England School of Art , Alice Neel ,  More more >
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