The summer issue of Aeqai has just posted; it’s our annual double issue, July and August, when the arts are a little slower. We think that in future summers , more and more activity will take place as the idea of ‘summer in the city’ takes off, and less and less people have vacations (it used to be that most art boards, for example, didn’t meet in the summer, as it was presumed that their members were away for the summer, in some ‘cottage’ in Michigan, The Cape, Maine, Long Island, or the like.)
We present three profiles this month: Mike Rutledge’s profile/interview with area photographer/photojournalist Mel Grier (who worked for The Cincinnati Post for years) is exemplary and shows us a career that has spanned decades; Grier also has a very sly sense of humor, which comes through in this piece. Susan Byrnes offers a profile /interview of gallerist Michael Solway, son of the vaunted Carl Solway; Michael’s taking over more and more of the daily workings of Solway Gallery (and has also curated a show at The Weston Gallery at The Aronoff , which is also reviewed this month, also by Susan Byrnes). And Laura Hobson’s profile of regional sculptor Karen Heyl is truly fascinating; Heyl’s been around this area for a long time, and her signature contemporary interpretations of ancient Greek kouros are splendid. Her most recent commission (and there have been many ) is at the newly opened Smale Park on the river.
Our Chicago correspondent, Cynthia Kukla, attended this year’s Venice Biennale, probably the world’ most prestigious (and oldest) art fair, and she has written Part I of a two part series on the art she saw ; it’s a great review/overview, and we’ve placed it first to give this issue an international perspective. Our Los Angeles correspondent, Anise Stevens, gives us three different reviews this month. Stevens’ reviews really do show a Los Angeles maturing and becoming part of the international art market.
Aeqai offers a plethora of reviews from this region, as well: Jane Durrell looks at a just closed show at the new WashParkArt, in OTR, which showcased urbanscapes; Marlene Steele, an Aeqai critic and area artist, had several superior paintings in that show. Jonathan Kamholtz reviews the Dutch Baroque Painting show at the Cincinnati Art Museum, from a private collection in Leichtenstein, with his usual sophistication and intelligence. He’s particularly persuasive when analyzing the theatricality of these paintings: this show is a must see for art lovers, and it’s great to see a show of older paintings here again, for those who love art history: The Dutch were the first middle class capitalists in Europe, and the first painters to be part of what we now call an art market. And Zack Hatfield reviews the stunning show of photographs by Edward Curtis at The Taft Museum of art; he believes that the portraits of Native Americans are the strongest work in this ‘captivating’ show, to quote from Hatfield, and he raises the important critical question of how much ‘truth’ there is in documentary photography, which is the key theme for next year’s FotoFocus (“The UnDocument”). Karen Chambers offers us a wonderful and surprising look at ThunderSky’s current show, wherein regular ThunderSky artists reinterpret works from art history, with amazing creativity and freshness.
Jenny Perusek, Aeqai’s fashion critic, looks at the world of haute couture through the work of a team of Dutch designers, and how their clothes move seamlessly into the world of fine art.
Fashion’s centrality in contemporary art and culture couldn’t be clearer than in this review. Perusek’s column will appear monthly in Aeqai. Fran Watson reviews a recently closed show of paintings and drawings by the late Jack Meanwell at Mary Ran Gallery in East Hyde Park, and concludes that Meanwell was indeed a terrific modernist artist. Susan Byrnes’ review of the “Water” show at The Weston downtown is a great counterpoint to the Weston’s most recent show which also dealt with water/rivers; the current show is curated by Michael Solway. Marta Hewett reviews work by the late Andy Fausz, at the UC/DAAP galleries; Saad Ghosn offered our readers a memorial piece about Fausz and his work in our June issue, so these two pieces are like bookends about Fausz and his expressionist work. And Sue Ann Painter, our architectural critic and historic preservation specialist, offers an essay about ‘small houses’ in OTR, and how they have grown out of a new approach to philanthropy, offered under the name People’s Liberty, a joint venture between the Haile and Johnson Foundations: her article touches upon a new kind of philanthropic creativity emerging in Cincinnati from new foundations like Haile in particular.
Maxwell Redder is back with three new poems, each written in a different tone or mood. I offer four book reviews this month; it’s always a challenge to find excellent new books in this ‘summer reading’ period, but they’re out there: Academy Street, by young Irish writer Mary Costello , is as close to a perfect novel as I’ve read in a long time.
We welcome your comments, as always, and we’ll return in late September with more reviews and profiles as the beginning of the Fall art season will have begun. We hope that you find our new issue stimulating, and we’ll be back in a month.
–Daniel Brown, Editor (www.aeqai.com)