The November issue of Aeqai, which is filled with reviews and profiles, has just posted. It’s an exceptional issue, reflecting smart art, artists, and ideas about culture competing for our attention. We look , from several different perspectives, at the Symposium that FotoFocus’ New York Curator Kevin Moore put together in Cincinnati on Oct. 24, with a dinner and lecture by Germano Celant preceding the symposium the night before at The CAC. Aeqai critics Jonathan Kamholtz and Zack Hatfield, representing two different generations of critics, offer us their assessments of various parts of the symposium, which clearly was both a critical and popular success: most of the lectures were given to standing room only audiences. I also offer my own thoughts on Celant’s opening night lecture on Mapplethorpe’s art, and its place in contemporary art history over the past 25 years.
Karen Chambers returns with a review/overview of selections from area dealer/collector Michael Lowe’s collection of minimalist and conceptual art, recently on display at The Art Academy of Cincinnati, and a stellar collection it is indeed. Craig Ledoux tackles all three shows on exhibit at Carl Solway Gallery, all younger artists working in and with digital concepts and work. Marlene Steele takes a look at a kind of alternative portraiture exhibition at Phyllis Weston Gallery, which looks at racial and gender stereotypes in imagery/media , so pervasive in today’s fraught society. Jane Durrell reviews new paintings , in a show called “Havana”, by former Cincinnatian Susan Schuler, who now lives in New Mexico, and whose bright and cheerful abstractions mirror the colors and the atmosphere of New Mexico. And Louisville critic Julie Gross returns to Aeqai this month with her review of new work by Joel McDonald at The Zephyr Gallery; we’ll be hearing from Gross regularly from the Louisville/Lexington art scenes. And Fran Watson reviews works on paper from High Modernism offered for sale at Mary Ran Gallery , from the collection of Shirley and John Chewning.
Two major exhibitions have just opened, which Aeqai reviews this month: Cynthia Amneus’ splendid exhibition of costumes from the Brooklyn Museum of Art is reviewed and analyzed by Aeqai’s fashion critic, Jennifer Perusek (who also places clothes into the social and historical contexts of their eras), and Keith Banner reviews the much awaited Mapplethorpe Plus Twenty-Five exhibtion at The Contemporary Arts Center. This exhibition consists of selections by seven area curators of work which seems to have elements of the original Mapplethorpe show at CAC in l990, which was closed by the Sheriff and ended up with the Center and its then Director, Dennis Barrie, going to trial for pandering obscenity.
Profiles this month include Susan Byrnes’ interview/conversation with Kate Bonansinga, Head of The School of Art at UC/DAAP; Jane Durrell’s profile of area artist Kevin T. Kelly, whose work appears in the Mapplethorpe Plus 25 show at CAC (as does work by Brad Smith, who was profiled in last month’s Aeqai). And Laura Hobson profiles area painter and former Playhouse scenery painter/designer Lisa Molyneux, much on her way as an independent painter right now.
Aeqai introduces two new features this month: area photographer Kent Krugh will serve as Aeqai’s photography editor, and each month, Krugh will select one photographer, whose work he admires and wants to share with our readers, in a kind of monthly photo-essay; this first month, Krugh has selected area photographer Michael Wilson and a number of his totemic images. And regional artists James Oberschlake and Kim Rae Taylor have been interviewing and documenting figurative artists from all over America, and we shall be posting many of these as part of an occasional but regular series, beginning with the interview of Aris Moore in this issue.
Aeqai architecture and historic preservation critic/analyst Sue Ann Painter offers her thoughts on the about to be built new theater for The Shakespeare Festival in Over the Rhine, while contrasting and comparing that new building with a renovation/restoration of the Sorg Opera House in Middletown, both of which will continue to enrich this region architecturally.
Our out of town critics all return this month, with reviews from Anise Stevens from LA; Cynthia Kukla in Peoria, Illinois; Elisa Mader in Seattle (her review of a ‘simple’show where a curator asked Seattle area painters to paint one white cup has surprising results);and Joelle Jameson looks at the photography scene in Houston, parts of their version of our FotoFocus, with astute and often wry observations.
Lexington artist/writer Louis Zoellar Bickett offers us poignant new poems as his talent moves more and more into poetry as well as conceptual photography and his by now famous Archive. I offer two book reviews this month, a rave about Jonathan Franzen’s Purity, and same on Geraldine Brooks’ new novel, The Secret Chord. Both are two of the best novels of 2015 to date, and this year’s quickly running out.
We appreciate all of you who attended aeqai’s benefit party at The Weston Gallery in The Aronoff Center on November l0, as well as those many and most generous artists who donated work for our silent auction to raise funds for our expansion and for our operating expenses. The benefit went well, and the silent auction again manifested the incredibly high level of artistic talent in our region. If you’d still like to donate to Aeqai, you can go to eventbrite.com or contact us and we’ll give you a mailing address.
As always, we appreciate your comments on our columns, and look forward to seeing you in about a month with our December issue of Aeqai. Thanks for helping us to grow.