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Shows worth seeing in the new year

Eyes wide open
By GREG COOK  |  December 28, 2011

EXQUISITE An image from RISD’s “From the Land of the Immortals.”

From centuries-old Taoist visions to the ways technology can channel emotions, local exhibits this winter prompt comparisons between then and now. They will examine America's continuing legacy of racism, found materials recycled into new art, and notions of home, from a childhood in Poland to retro-contemporaries living off the grid.

BEN BLANC: "THE EXCHANGE" | AS220 Project Space | January 8-28 | Blanc has bent steel rods into 3D sketches of elephants, diamonds, and rabbits and turned a plastic screen into a field of seaweed and bubbles. Now he "explores how artists and designers imbue their work with value and how that value is marketed to and perceived by the viewer and consumer."

93 Mathewson Street, Providence | free | 401.490.6164 or

"FROM THE LAND OF THE IMMORTALS" | RISD Museum | January 13-April 22 | Three-legged crows, hares, and "peaches of immortality" decorate exquisitely crafted Chinese Taoist priest robes and textiles from the 18th and 19th centuries. A companion exhibit, "Taoist Gods from China" at Brown's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology (January 13-April 22,, showcases 17th-century ceremonial paintings.

224 Benefit Street, Providence | $10 | 401.454.6500 or

"ILLUMINATIONS" | Chazan Gallery at Wheeler School | January 13-February 2 | The emotional power of light is the subject of this two-person show. Paul Myoda, who in memorial to the 2001 attacks co-created the Tribute in Light searchlight columns at the World Trade Center site, fashions plastic and LED light devices that are part chandeliers, part jellyfish, and part robots and move in response to viewers' movements. Stefanie Pender uses red and blue glass to reconsider antique beliefs in the psychological and physiological effects of light.

228 Angell Street, Providence | free | 401.421.9230 or

JOE NORMAN: "OUT AT HOME" | Providence College's Reilly Gallery | January 26 to March 22 | In Norman's lithographs, nooses and manacled baseball bats symbolize Negro league baseball, the exclusion of African Americans from the white major leagues, and the violent segregation of pre-World War II America.

63 Eaton Street, Providence | Free | 401.865.2400 or

RISCA FELLOWSHIP EXHIBIT | Machines With Magnets | February 2-24 | The Rhode Island State Council On the Arts spreads the wealth — literally — and here it shows off art that won state grants: Scott Alario's dreamy photos, Dave Cole's ruminations on America, Megan and Murray McMillan's visionary installations, and more.

400 Main Street, Pawtucket | free | 401.222.3018 and

AGATA MICHALOWSKA: "DOM" | AS220 Project Space | February 5-25 | Michalowska, best known for exquisitely minimalist prints and antique Providence photography, turns found objects into an installation about memories of growing up in Poland and finding one's dom (Polish for "home").

93 Mathewson Street, Providence | free | 401.490.6164 or

"HUNTERS AND GATHERERS" | Cade Tompkins Projects | February 10-March 30 | Tompkins rounds up nine artists — from Lois Harada to Scott Lapham — to examine a major area of local production: art made from recycled found materials.

198 Hope Street, Providence | Free | 401.751.4888 or

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island College,  More more >
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