Naughty by nature

Spring Arts Preview: Landscape, road trips, weddings, and Spain
March 10, 2008 11:59:50 AM
STEPPING OUT: Yana Payusova’s Company (2007) is part of the DeCordova Annual Exhibition.

Landscape has inspired artists as varied as the romantic 19th-century Hudson River School painters and the macho 20th-century Earth Artists. “BADLANDS: NEW HORIZONS IN LANDSCAPE,” at MASS MoCA (87 Marshall St, North Adams: May 25–spring 2009), explores how we look at landscape now, our view colored by art history and by worries about the future of this fine subject matter. Participating artists include Ed Ruscha, Jennifer Steinkamp, and the collaborative Boyle Family.

Alexis Rockman is known for swampy dioramas and post-apocalyptic paintings exploring the past and future of humans and our environs; his new work about climate change is featured in “ALEXIS ROCKMAN: THE WEIGHT OF AIR” at the Rose Art Museum (415 South St, Waltham: May 8–July 27). Also opening on May 8 at the Rose, “THE NEW AUTHENTICS: ARTISTS OF THE POST-JEWISH GENERATION” and “PAPER TRAIL II,” the latter curated by Odili Donald Odita.

Frank Gohlke’s landscape photography reveals a natural world that rarely meets our ideals and expectations. “ACCOMMODATING NATURE: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF FRANK GOHLKE” at the Addison Gallery (180 Main St, Andover: April 12–July 13) surveys his career. Also at the Addison: “CARROLL DUNHAM PRINTS: A SURVEY” (May 10–July 13), with more than 100 prints by this playful, demonic artist.

Two shows examine the American tradition of hitting the open highway. Curated by Dawould Bey, “ARE WE THERE YET?” at GASP (362 Boylston St, Brookline: March 28–May 3) brings a political edge to the subject, with artists including Bey, Oscar Palacio, and Adriana Rios. And “CROSSED COUNTRY” at BU’s Sherman Gallery (775 Comm Ave, Boston: March 18–April 25) reinterprets the romance of the road trip, with artists including Julia Hechtman and Brian Zink. Six New England–based photographers look into our own back yard in “NEW ENGLAND SURVEY” at the Photographic Resource Center (832 Comm Ave, Boston: March 28–May 11), delving into the “sense of place” particular to our region.

Back in the city, “STREET LEVEL: MARK BRADFORD, WILLIAM CORDOVA & ROBIN RHODE” at the Institute of Contemporary Art (100 Northern Ave, Boston: March 19–July 13) is all about street culture, and “ANISH KAPOOR” (May 30–September 1) gives a colorful overview of that sculptor’s work of the past 15 years. A journey across Eastern Europe and a meditation on the American South spark two of the five video installations on view in “CHANTAL AKERMAN: MOVING THROUGH TIME AND SPACE” at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center (20 Ames St, Cambridge: May 2–July 6), the Belgian filmmaker’s first major museum exhibition in the US.

Spain rules in “EL GRECO TO VELÁZQUEZ: ART DURING THE REIGN OF PHILIP III” at the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave, Boston: April 20–July 27), with works from the period 1598–1621. Also at the MFA, “ANTONIO LÓPEZ GARCÍA” (April 13–July 27) focuses on a contemporary Spanish realist painter and sculptor.

Works by Pablo Picasso and Jacob Lawrence share the spotlight with a Civil War–era diamond bracelet by Tiffany in “WEDDED BLISS: THE MARRIAGE OF ART AND CEREMONY” at the Peabody Essex Museum (East India Square, Salem: April 26–September 14), an exhibition that explores how we’ve felt about marriage over the past three centuries, and what we’ve worn.

And spring brings the seasonal blooming of the “DECORDOVA ANNUAL EXHIBITION” at the DeCordova Museum (51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln: May 10–August 17). This year’s edition steps out with examples of installation and performance art.


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  • JOURNEY TO THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH:   Landscape anew at Mass MoCA, ‘Exposure’ at the PRC, Dana Clancy at the Danforth, and grouped figures at GASP
  • DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY:   Botanical Forms at Harvard’s Museum of Natural History, Carroll Dunham and more at the Addison, and Renzo Piano at the Fogg
  • TIME AFTER TIME:   The DeCordova Annual, New Orleans after Katrina, ‘Superartificial,’ 19th-Century Leisure Travel, and El Chango Verde
  • DYSTOPIA NOW!:   ‘Alexis Rockman,’ ‘The New Authentics,’ and ‘Paper Trail II’ at the Rose, and Chantal Akerman at MIT
  • NICE DAY FOR A WHITE WEDDING:   ‘Wedded Bliss’ at the Peabody Essex, Toys and Games at the Revolving Museum, and Chad Walker at Space 242
  • SOME SPANIARDS IN THE WORKS:   ‘El Greco to Velázquez’ at the MFA, ‘Artadia Boston’ at the Mills Gallery, Harmonious Noise on the Roof at Tufts, and Animal Estates at MIT’s CAVS
  • IN OUR NATURE:   Frank Gohlke at the Addison, ‘Pulp Function’ at the Worcester Center for Crafts, and ‘Expanded Sculpture 2’ at 119 Gallery
  • LINES OF INQUIRY:   ‘On Drawing’ at the New Art Center, Gateway Arts at Simmons, Jeff Koons at Harvard, and Jenny Saville at BU
  • TRYING TO PLACE IT:   “New England Survey” at the PRC, American Mobility at Gasp, 18th-Century Porcelain at the Busch-Reisinger, and Viktor Schreckengost in Attleboro


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