To have and to hold

Stephen Prina at Barbara Krakow, 'Architecture of Fragments' at The New Art Center
By EVAN J. GARZA  |  April 1, 2009


Petra Kralickova, Tenacity 

Stephen Prina is many things: artist, musician, Harvard professor, socialite, bon vivant. His artwork extends across a number of media, with multifarious influences. His upcoming (opens April 18) show at Barbara Krakow Gallery, "THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT," will feature various trademark Prina pieces. There'll be three pieces from his Exquisite Corpse series — diptyches in which one framed solid-color work on paper that's the same size as a particular Édouard Manet painting is paired with a "chart" of data related to all paintings made by the French Impressionist. Exponentially larger in scale are Prina's tall acrylic washes on floor-to-ceiling window blinds. The Krakow space will include one diptych and one triptych from this series, in which the artist has painted a single stroke of color only as far as he could reach. The result is not unlike the taller, early-1950s "zip" paintings of Barnett Newman, but with brilliant and complicated brush strokes that recall Mark Rothko. The floor will boast a pink grand-piano-shaped rug; it was previously set atop a piano that Prina used in a Carpenter Center performance in 2004. In conjunction with the show, the Harvard Film Archive is screening the Boston premiere of Prina's 27-minute film "The Way He Always Wanted It II," May 3 at 7 pm.

The New Art Center in Newton, which has been hanging a number of captivating and well-curated offerings, looks set to continue its streak with "ARCHITECTURE OF FRAGMENTS." This three-person show (from the Center's "Curatorial Opportunity Program") examines representational physiological forms and "landscapes" of the human body through various media and installations. Curated by Petra Kralickova, it includes foam, cast plastic, vinyl, fabric, rubber, wood, sand, and even air. Elissa Cox's installations suggest blood vessels or even fuzzy, brightly colored streams from a psychedelic painting. Tannaz Farsi's inflated sculptural works are marked by a sense of nothingness: illuminated vinyl shapes filled with air seem to define a sense of longing and bring to light the intangibility of human emotion, thought, and imagination. Kralickova's own Tenacity is a series of wall-mounted works in which 1/8-inch red dowels burst outward in circular shapes whose forms change as you move around the installation. Oh, and they kind of look like boobs — how's that for physiological? A gallery talk next Friday, April 10, at 4:30 pm will precede the opening reception.

"ARCHITECTURE OF FRAGMENTS," Curated by Petra Kralickova @ the New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville | April 10–May 24 | 617.964.3424 or | "STEPHEN PRINA: THE WAY HE ALWAYS WANTED IT" @ Barbara Krakow Gallery, 10 Newbury St, Boston | April 18–May 28 | 617.262.4490 or

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