The February issue of aeqai has just been posted, and we hope that you find some of our new essays informative.  We are attempting to link the reviews we write with other issues going on in our community in the visual arts, with how the city is or isn’t integrating the arts into the wider polis, and how some national issues surrounding leadership in the arts, fund-raising, and what’s expected of our institutions are becoming serious , more so if the parties at the table, if you will, may be speaking different languages, offering different priorities, expecting too much of our museums in particular.

Articles by Jan Brown Checco, long a Cincinnati working artist and marketing guru and arts advocate, will appear as issues arise. Chris Hoeting attended the College Art Association meeting in Chicago, just past, and gives us a brilliant summary of the four types of approaches he sees in higher education in the visual arts, where they come from, and whether they are helping students or not.  His article is a superb overview and we hope that educators and students will tell us how they react to the ideas in it.  My own essay, this month, tries to address the overcrowded numbers of things that museums, their directors and staff, have to deal with over and beyond the collecting and exhibiting of artwork; I believe that these expectations, which are sociological in intention, are taking over from the primary missions of museums and that we need to reassess what our priorities are for art museums and whether some of the demands made on their time, money and staff might be better or more equitably addressed elsewhere.

Our review this month as usual offers a range, from larger to smaller organizations, from commercial galleries to area nonprofits. Kevin Muente offers a penetrating analysis  of work at Manifest Gallery, and Keith Banner an incredibly poetic look at Hollis Hammonds’ work at the Reed Gallery at UC.   Shawn Daniell writes a combination review/description of the technique of visionary Virginia Tech artist Eric Standley’s work at Marta Hewett Gallery.  Marlene Steele offers a superb overview of a Valentine’s Day show at Miller Gallery, while Karen Chambers was able to preview the Nellie Taft retrospective just opening at The Weston Gallery downtown, curated by Denny Young, once Curator of Painting at the art museum and a cousin of the late Taft. Our Louisville correspondent Julie Gross writes a fascinating piece on a show by Joshua Huettig, who challenged an audience either to buy his work or he would, and did, burn the rest: Gross questions how much of this act was marketing, and how much authentic. And Jane Durrell reviews the just opened exhibition of textiles and clothing made and worn by the upper classes in the last Chinese Dynasty, the Qing, only the second of two alien dynasties to run China in her long history.  The show travels here from Denver.

Aeqai is trying another new idea: we are getting more and more information about shows from other cities, and this month, artist/critic Matt Metzger reviews both an artist talk, which he heard via Skype, and reviews a show by painter Ryan Coburn, both at the Nancy Margolis Gallery in Chelsea. We are aware of the pitfalls of reviewing thus, and know that we don’t see surfaces and don’t get a real sense of scale and other problems by reviewing this way, but hope that our critics’ expertise allow them to factor some of these issues in as they look and analyze. We will be continuing to review shows nationally/internationally from time to time in this manner.

Other features, essays and memoirs of note include a wonderfully condensed history of the graphics of comic books and their enormous influence on American visual culture, by our graphics expert Danelle Cheney, and a Letter from Santa Fe by Jane Durrell, who spent the Christmas holidays there with several generations of her family and writes mainly about Native American museums and cultural change/evolution. Laura Hobson offers a very thorough and fascinating interview/profile of Amy Dehan, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Cincinnati art museum.  We are, of this writing, awaiting a much anticipated essay by Drew Klein, Curator of Performance Art at The Contemporary Arts Center, who will offer explanations of what performance art is, how it has become central to visual culture, and any other observations he wants to make: we may be posting his piece a day or two late, which is entirely my fault, as editor, as I gave Drew the wrong deadline for his piece: with apologies, but we assure you that it’s worth the wait.

Fran Watson writes a kind of memoir of her early days in one of those artists’ studio buildings, and probably concludes why such spaces aren’t right for her: it’s a funny piece about unwanted visitors in such buildings, often one’s neighbors.  Saad Ghosn continues his serious about Art and Social Justice with an essay/review of work by visual artist Leigh Waltz and exceptionally moving poems by Jeffrey Hillard.

Maxwell Redder gives us one new poem, a real beauty: Redder will soon be traveling with his new wife, to and through Canada and Southeast Asia, and will be sending poems from points along the way which aeqai will publish.  And I am publishing a little poem of my own, my second ever written.

My two book reviews are about a new novel by the young, immensely gifted Jennie Offill, and of a memoir, Little Failure, by the brilliant, outre Gary Shteyngart, one of America’s most gifted newer writers.

Louis Zoeller Bickett from Lexington returns, with series of his conceptual photographs of the neighborhood, Gratz Park, in which he lives , as hints of spring are emerging. Bickett will be returning to aeqai regularly.

Quite a few new museum shows are opening right at this time and will be reviewed here next month. Marta Hewett Gallery will be hosting a benefit party for Aeqai on April 17th , which isn’t too far off; we will offer more details in our next issue. The benefit is co-chaired by Hewett and Matt Metzger.

We also hope that the improving weather improves everyone’s moods and that we all get out more in the spring.

Daniel Brown
Editor, AEQAI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *