The September issue of Aeqai has just posted, as more art venues are reopening to live visitors. We have three articles that focus on The Cincinnati Art Museum, a place virtually jumping with energy and fresh new ideas. Susan Byrnes’ reviews the just opened exhibition of work (much of it photographic) by Hank Willis Thomas, a mid-career African-American artist whose work, which examines issues specifically about race, and some about gender and class and power relationships, will dominate the fall art scene in this region. We note, too, that Aeqai critic Ekin Erkan reviewed a sculptural piece by Thomas in Brooklyn in our June issue, as well. This exhibition marks a symbolic change in arts institutions about which artists whose work they are exhibiting, and a new incorporation of the Social Justice Movement into the visual arts. Jonathan Kamholtz reviews the new “ArtClimb”, stairs and benches and a variety of resting spots, now including outdoor sculptures, which connects the Museum itself with urban neighborhoods, specifically Walnut Hills. We asked Kamholtz to review the Climb as a work of sculpture itself. Since only one of the three outdoor sculptures was on site, the others still in situ at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Farm, our critic drove up there and the other half of his review is one of the sculpture farm itself, in its gorgeous, hilly setting, the home of the late collector Harry Wilks.
Laura Hobson continues her series on the internal workings of museums with her newest feature on what a curator actually does (we stuck with curators in museums, featuring three at Cincinnati Art Museum and one at The Taft Museum, as these curators work with their permanent collections as well as planning exhibitions and finding others to bring to these museums). Her feature is really informative, fascinating, and we hope these articles help to demystify how a museum functions. Other columns dealing with The Social Justice Movement and/or Black Lives Matter are at Kennedy Heights Arts Center, and we offer two reviews of two shows there. “Uprising” , curated by area photographer/curator Jymi Bolden, and reviewed by Aeqai critic Will Newman, examines works utilized in protests, offering us a direct connection to those protests and examining them in an art context. And Marlene Steele looks at the prints/drawings of young Cincinnnati African-American artist Lautasia Cox, whose work gives us a highly personal examination of what she saw and experienced as a new student in the grad school in art education at UC/DAAP. The show’s a real eye opener for white audiences and the artist’s work compelling and very personal.
Cynthia Kukla reviews a one-day show that took place at Clay St. Press in OTR; Mark Patsfall’s been fabricating prints for artists for decades now, and some of the very finest were on display there and manifests to new as well as old audiences the high quality of the prints made there and those of quite a few very famous artists, too. Karen Chambers reviews “Third Place” , a photography show at Clifton Cultural Arts Center, which would’ve been their FotoFocus offering; it’s curated by area photographer/gallerist Jens Rosenkrantz; those “third places” are places where we neither work nor live but where we seek communion, time with others or alone, special, even spiritual places (which, Chambers notes, all look different through the lens of the COVID shutdowns).
Chris Carter admirably reviews The Weston Gallery’s FotoFocus offering, curated by CM Turner, who’s moved to Maine; the show’s called “Beacons” and is a group show of some of this city’s best photographers, many of them of a younger generation. so the art looks very fresh and the curatorial concept strong and sublte.
I offer three book reviews this month: “An Elegant Woman” by Martha McPhee; “The Pull of the Stars” by Emma Donoghue; and “Hometown Elegies: A Novel” by Ayar Akhtar; all three are splendid.
We hope that you find the September issue stimulating. Please send us your comments, and please also save the date of November 12, when Aeqai will have its one and only benefit party/art auction at The Annex Gallery in OTR. To go directly to the new issue, click onto www.aeqai.org. We’ll be back again around the fourth week of October.