by Daniel Brown
The month of May has been full of art exhibitions, indoor and outdoor, and lots of benefit parties to raise money for them. We are nearing the end of the official art year, in June, as the art season is more or less the same as the school year. Aeqai will post a June issue, and then one summer issue in July/August.
We have a plethora of good reviews and profiles and journalistic pieces this month. Keith Banner just got back from New York where he saw the Mike Kelley retrospective and The Whitney Biennial, the latter of which doesn’t seem to have worked well. Another column of Banner’s will post a few days late; it’s a review of the current show at Semantics. Karen Chambers reviews a stunning group show at The Brazee Studios, called “Circle”. Emil Robinson returns with a very thoughtful review of a show at the CAC curated by area artist Michael Stillion. Jonathan Kamholtz’s review of the Manifest drawing show, which no longer up, reminds us of the high quality of shows at Manifest, and of their dedication to the medium of drawing, to which he adds his own meditations upon that medium. And Laura Hobson offers a very thorough profile of long time arts advocate Abby Schwartz, who now runs The Skirball at Hebrew Union College.
Matt Metzger offers us his sophisticated analysis of area artist Kay Hurley’s new work at Fifth Street Gallery downtown, all of which are pastels, which was Hurley’s original medium. Our Lexington critic, Christine Husskison, reviews a fascinating show at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, by an emerging artist whose work includes photographs, fabric, video and a performance. And Jane Durrell gives an astute analysis of the work of the two winners, Michelle Heimann and Tina Tammaro, from the annual competition at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, while she also discusses the limitations of renovated spaces which are reused for other than their original purposes. And aeqai welcomes new writer Hannah Loew, a recent UC grad, with her most astute review of the current show at Carl Solway gallery.
Marlene Steele has two reviews this month, one of the figurative invitational at Miller Gallery, and the other of a photography show in Washington. Fran Watson went to a new offering in Bellevue, which will be showing work targeted for collectors a couple of times a year, and this one includes the work of Celine Hawkins, among others. The Weston Gallery downtown had an open studio tour of Northside artists’, and our review by Chris Hoeting will post in a few days, but we offer now some photos made by area photographer Jens Rosenkrantz.
Aeqai lost one its best friends, most engaging writers, and my own editorial assistant with the untimely death of Shawn Daniell at 35. I offer my own tribute to Shawn, and so does Robert Wallace, who taught her in several classes at NKU, where Shawn was studying. We mourn her passing, and hope that some of you will take the time to re-read her archived reviews.
2014 is the 75th anniversary of The Contemporary Arts Center. We will celebrate that birthday by asking two people per month to tell us what the CAC means/has meant to them. We start this month with essays by Jane Durrell, who worked at the CAC when it was still in The Art Museum basement, and I offer my tribute to the Center, as I served on the board there in the 80’s. We hope to run this series for at least three months, and maybe more.
Dustin Pike is back after becoming a father with his essay on the relationships between languages like Hebrew whose alphabetic letters are both combinations of numbers, and whose visual essences may be where art sometimes originates. Danelle Cheney continues her series of essays on design with a comparison of the original Bauhaus and its principals with today’s Ikea. Kevin Ott is back with a profile of a business in Covington simply The BLDG, which does a lot of branding, and which offers street art and music, sometimes from London, and which has been in charge of the increasingly large number of murals there. Saad Ghosn offers his monthly column, Art for a Better World, featuring work by Nathan Weikert and poetry by Karen George.
My own essay this month builds from the recent trip to New York by a lot of our performing arts institutions, plus two visual; I am concerned that the visual arts may become the step child of the arts as Cincinnati tries to rebrand itself. And I offer four book reviews, one about three new African novels, and one by Francine Prose, which I believe to be the best novel of the year to date. And Maxwell Redder has sent us two poems from the road, as he and his new wife have found their way to Vancouver, and just left for Bali.
It’s a big issue, but remember that it has a shelf life of a month, and that we will be posting a few late columns, and we hope that you will look for them. We will be back in June.