With virtually every arts organization and commercial gallery closed for the duration of the pandemic, I asked all of our critics to pick one work of art anywhere in the world and tell our readers why it’s important. The results vary wildly; our younger writers tended to look at older works of art, while the younger tended toward the contemporary, particularly work related to environmental concerns, aware that the carbon based pollution has dropped steadily as the demand for oil/greenhouse gases has plummeted. And familiarity with the computer and its ability to locate art all over the world is, of course, a subtext of the assignment. Our readers should pick up the real enthusiasm our critics display in the columns in this April issue.
Several writers selected work that’s here in Cincinnati: Jonathan Kamholtz analyzes a painting by Rembrandt at The Taft Museum of Art, while Steve Kemple chose an Albert Blakeclock painting at Cincinnati Art Museum: both institutions have fabulous online presences right now. Hannah Leow selected the CampSITE Park in Camp Washington in Cincinnati, which combines aesthetic pleasure with environmental concerns.
Cynthia Kukla looked at a Gustav Moreau painting in The Louvre in Paris and it similar painting at The Met in New York. She and Kemple both see contemporary aspects in the paintings they’ve selected. Annabel Osberg selected work by Leonora Carrington at San Francisco MOMA, while Megan Bickel, in Lousville, selected contemporary work by Jenny Holzer and Wanda Orme. Josh Bickelhimer is the writer whose selection of a video documentary of work by Hilna af Klint also underlies his choice by praising the ability to see all this art online in the first place (Aeqai critic Ekan Erkin reviewed the NYC show by this artist several months ago; it is archived on our site). And Aeqai’s fashion critic Jenny Perusek also raises issues regarding the changing roles of fashion–possibly for good, possibly for not–in her essay this month.
Laura Hobson continues her series about the inner workings of art museums by letting us know what a registrar in a museum does, through interviews with staff at Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art, and The Museum Center. That series will continue over the next two issues, as well. Kent Krugh’s FotoFolio this month offers spectacular work by photographer Andreas Rentsch. And I offer two book reviews this month, of new fiction by James McBride and by Magda Szabo.
We hope that our readers find this issue fascinating ; we were determined not to skip a month because everything’s closed, and we thank all those visual arts institutions for their incredible online services. To go directly to the new issue, click onto www.aeqai.org. We’re eager to receive your comments at [email protected] and welcome any contributions to our nonprofit in a period where advertising revenue had dried up, but we want to continue to offer you exciting criticism.