Archive for the ‘arts criticism’ Category

Greg Cook: Enchanted Forest in the Neighborhood

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Greg Cook creates, writes about, critiques, documents, organizes makers of, and (if these previous verbs are any indication) is invested in art, here in Massachusetts.

We caught up with Greg, creator of the New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, to ask about his projects, the different ways he engages the arts, and why both vigorous support and criticism are integral to an arts community.

ArtSake: We recently asked artists whether they separate or integrate their art from their other careers. This question seems especially pertinent for artists such as yourself who are also engaging the community in ways that go beyond art-making. How do you balance your work as an arts writer, organizer, chronicler, and community-builder with your work as an artist?

Greg: I tend to get excited by my writing jobs and let them eat up my time for making visual art. It’s been especially tricky with The Great Recession coinciding with the arrival of my first child. Right now to make a living I’m juggling two regular writing gigs and a teaching job.

It’s all art, right – writing, organizing, painting. I do try to integrate things, or perhaps make things do double duty as both visual art and journalism – like my photography. Or I try to drag my family along to art things as – supposedly – fun family outings. I’ve not been so successful at finding time to draw or paint. Which leaves me feeling antsy and guilty.

ArtSake: Your Enchanted Forest will be part of the upcoming Window Arts Malden Project. Why was it important for you to get involved in Window Arts Malden?

Greg: It’s vital that artists participate in our own neighborhoods. In the art world, success tends to be defined by fame and money and museum shows and history books. Most of us artists are far from that. So how do we define success then? I think it’s about finding ways of making this often frustrating, dreary life a bit more fun, a bit more meaningful, a bit more wondrous.

I like crosspollination. I was taken by some of the Asian artists in last year’s version of “Window Arts Malden.” And the windows project creates a pretty easy entry point for me to do something in public with my own paintings. I’m tired of art world hi/low, insider/outsider, fine/folk hierarchies that too often don’t foster better art but do serve to reinforce class and race barriers.

ArtSake: Can you talk about the origins and underpinnings of the “Enchanted Forest” project?

Greg: The “Enchanted Forest” is a place of magical trees and birds and witches and hungry wolves. The latest version will be in “Window Arts Malden” from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13. My goal is for it to grow into a walk-through environment.

The idea originated when a friend was writing a fantasy novel set in a fictionalized New England. It occurred to me that the true story of the early European settlement here was a real-life fantasy epic – with “witches” and adventures into unknown worlds and culture clashes and racism and slavery and wars. And it had interesting parallels with our War on Terror.

Some of my first pieces were painted flags addressing this history that I displayed outdoors around Gloucester. After a while I got to thinking of the New England woods – the awe-inspiring nature of the Transcendentalists, the haunted early colonial forests of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Young Goodman Brown.” Then it turned sort of funny. Lurking underneath it was the haunted forest in Disney’s film “Snow White” and those fiberglass trees they used to have at McDonald’s restaurant playgrounds. You know, cartoony trees with faces on their trunks. Also those amazing, weird witch “history” museums in Salem.

ArtSake: You’ve long been an art critic for many local and national publications. Can you talk about what role you strive to play when you write local arts criticism?

Greg: I try to be fair. I try to be entertaining. I try to tell our histories – especially our local histories. I try to share things I love, and argue with things I disagree with. I try to leverage the power of my connections and the institutions I’m part of to foster a more rich community.

A lot of journalism – or curating – is the basic choices we make of what things to highlight and what things to pass over. Our decisions send messages of what we value in our community, what we want more of, what we wish would just go away. I try to be mindful of the signals these everyday decisions send and try to focus on things that model the Boston that I’d like Boston to be.

ArtSake: You are a vocal advocate of what you call “Yokelism,” or support of locally-made art. Why is Yokelism important? And have your feelings on Yokelism undergone any evolution during your time as an arts writer?

Greg: Art makes our lives better. That’s why everyone goes everywhere listening to music and reading and watching videos on their smarty phones.

And it’s even better when your neighbors are making some of that art. You might say it’s the difference between living in a town with lots of movie theaters versus living in Hollywood. You can see great movies anywhere, including lots of dull places, but it’s funner and sexier and more meaningful to be where cool stuff is actually being made.

Having artists making good stuff in your town doesn’t just mean more cool art stuffed in every nook and café like they do in the wonderland of Somerville. These artists also bring cool ideas about what our government should do, what our parks and roads should be like, what our grocery stores should stock, what our schools should teach. When we primarily import art from Away we lose this vision of what our community can be.

To be clear, I’m not a cheerleader for everything locally-made. Just ask public art folks. I want good, locally-made because I want to live in a more amazing place. And I do like the occasional art from Away. But there’s plenty of art being made here that could compete well with the contemporary art in our museums, but gets ignored. I mean our local museums generally even overlook artists here who are already in the history books. This isn’t just a problem here, but an art world geographical bias that hurts most American communities outside New York and Los Angeles.

Too many curators and critics are interested in a certain few individual artists and approach art mainly as consumers of end products. I do love to look at pretty pictures, but I’m just as interested in how we foster the making of this stuff, how we foster art-making communities. What is our responsibility to our community as art world leaders, as public intellectuals?

One of my favorite things about Massachusetts is that in our state constitution John Adams made it the law that our government should support the arts. Not because the arts boost our restaurant and tourism industries – though he liked a good hotel restaurant as much as the next founding father – but because they foster the “wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue” that are “necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.” In other words, our constitution says the arts are one of the necessary ingredients for a healthy democracy.

Have my feelings on Yokelism evolved? The core idea is the same, but lately I’ve been thinking I need to better engage local donors, the folks on museum boards. In particular, I wonder about people who give our museums money to foster local art-making.

ArtSake: What draws you to folk art, which you document as a photographer and writer?

Greg: I’m interested in good art wherever I can find it. So much of the art that has most grabbed my heart in recent years has been public community spectacles. (I’m not sure of the term “folk art” since for most people it still implies something lesser than “fine” art.)

My heart breaks when I see mourning families at the annual “Mother’s Day Walk for Peace” in Dorchester carrying painted and printed banners honoring loved ones murdered during this city’s gun violence. I’m dazzled by the hundreds of people in carnival costumes and sequins and feathers dancing through Dorchester for the annual Caribbean Carnival parade. When I watch people carrying the statues and paintings of saints through Gloucester during its annual St. Peter’s Fiesta, when I hear them shout the blessings, I’m knocked out by the passion and the beauty of it all. It’s just astonishing art. As a reporter, and particularly as a photographer, I’m allowed to get very close. It’s like mainlining the pure creative, passionate, community energy of the world.

ArtSake: What’s the most surprising response you’ve had to your work?

Greg: When I was first working as a reporter, a guy who didn’t like my reports threatened to shoot me. He said this to me in person. In front of witnesses. In a town hall.

ArtSake: What would be your advice to an emerging New England artist? What do you wish someone had said to you when you were first starting out?

Greg: Think bigger. Make the art you want to make. Create the community you wish to live in. Don’t wait.

ArtSake: What’s up next?

Greg: I’m organizing a big mini golf outing at Route 1 Miniature Golf (the Orange Dinosaur!) in Saugus on Sept. 21. The idea is a fun meet-up of Boston creative folks and their friends. Just because. Everyone’s invited – including you reading this now.

I’m launching monthly arts and cultures talks at Malden Public Library beginning, I think, Oct. 8.

I just finished a comic for the Boston Comics Roundtable’s kids anthology “Hellbound IV: Creatures and Monsters,” which is scheduled to be released at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) on Sept. 28 and 29. I’m supposed to have prints in “The Message is the Medium: Prints, Propaganda, and Persuasion” at Zeitgeist Gallery in Lowell, from Oct. 2 to Nov. 2.

And I’m trying to curate a show of art inspired by Krampus – the hairy Austrian Christmas demons – at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, where I teach, from Dec. 4 to 17. Because, ya know, I’m all about bettering our community.

Greg Cook is an arts reporter and critic for publications including The Phoenix (Boston and Providence), Art New England, and WBUR’s ARTery. The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, which he founded, won a 2009 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. He oversees the New England Art Awards, an annual open-source, community project to honor art made in the region, and he teaches at Montserrat College of Art. His art has appeared in Nickelodeon magazine, Publishers Weekly, and The Believer, and has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally.

Images: all images courtesy of Greg Cook. The photos from Cambridge International Carnival and the Lowell Folk Festival were taken for WBUR’s ARTery.

Mass. writers receive prestigious Arts Writers Grants

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Way to go Team MA! (Which is our way of saying, “Congratulations to the Massachusetts arts writers who received awards from the Arts Writers Grants Program from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation.”)

Grants totaling $710,000 to 26 individual writers, including three from Massachusetts, were actually announced last month. We KNOW that’s like eons ago in blog time, but we figured, better late than never.

Malden arts writer (and writing artist) Greg Cook, creator of the The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research blog and the New England Art Awards (formerly the Boston Art Awards), received a grant to continue his blog, an independent and always engaging voice on New England art. Greg, incidentally, was the only arts blogger to make the list, so good on ya, Mr. Cook!

Also receiving support was Amherst writer and curator Christoph Cox, who will write an article about sound installation as artistic practice, and Boston writer Geeta Dayal, who will chart the progress of the use of GPS, mapping, and mobile technologies in art.

In addition to the Arts Writers Grantees, ten applicants to the program were selected to participate in the Art Writing Workshop. This workshop pairs working arts writers with leading art critics, for one-on-one consultations. Among those selected was Kurt Cole Eidsvig (Poetry Fellow ’04), a multi-talented artist who works in literature and painting, as well as arts writing.

On a related note, Kurt’s poetry will appear in an ongoing feature on the online art journal Big RED and Shiny. Check it out.

A Black Friday arts roundup

Friday, November 27th, 2009

It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. Shopping malls are abuzz. And so are the arts! (In a much different way but, still.) Here are some interesting links from around the art-o-webs.

For artists of all disciplines
Last week, the National Endowment for the Arts held the Cultural Workforce Forum, a daylong discussion of how art works as part of the real economy. An archive version of the event, with video and slideshows, is now online.

At North Shore Art Throb (which, by the way, you should read if you make, enjoy, or are in any way curious about the art scene in the North Shore region), Dinah Cardin has a thoughtful post on online arts writing and where it’s headed.

The documentary film The Way We Get By, featured on our blog here, received an IFP and Fledgling Fund Grant for Outreach and Community Engagement. Up top, TWWGB!

At the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery in Charlestown, a group of Massachusetts filmmakers will screen film & video works as part of Art Gone Green, an arts program exploring environmental issues. On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 6:30 PM in the A300 Lounge, there will be a screening of short films by eight filmmakers, including Kristin Alexander, Tim Geers, and Michael Sheridan. On Friday, December 4, 6:00 PM, is a screening of Talking to the Wall: The Story of an American Bargain. The film, by Western Mass. filmmaker Steve Alves, takes a critical look at the effects of chain stores on communities. Both events are free.

In the Porter Square Books blog, Cambridge author Matthew Pearl discusses why his book reading events include surprisingly little reading from his books. (And he shares details, some historical, some imagined, of Charles Dickens’s reading at the Tremont Temple in Boston).

Sadly, bidding is closed, but check out the original postcards from Grub Street’s Postcard Auction. The Boston-based writers’ service organization sent 29 blank postcards to writers and auctioned off the resulting creations. I especially like the slogan on Pagan Kennedy‘s card: “Drink the Kool-Aid of your own invention. Write.”

On the Valley Poetry blog, Allegra Mira looks at seven female poets who light her way as she considers her future on poetry (one is recent MCC Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow D.M. Gordon!).

In the WomenArts blog, Northampton novelist Susan Stinson writes movingly about the ways the arts have sustained her in hard times.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was in college, my father warned me that a livelihood as an artist would be hard to come by, especially for a woman. I spent the next couple of decades throwing everything I had into making the strongest art I could, working around practical constraints – like jobs—as necessary. Now, four published books and one wandering manuscript later, during a year in which individual, national and global economies are all shaky, I’m facing the unpleasantly specific realities of being close to fifty and far from financial stability. My father was right.

He was right, but so was I.

Read the full post.

Performing arts
The Explore Boston Theatre blog features a host of voices from the theater community with its lively Proust Questionnaire. Example question/answer… Q: “Which historical figure do you most identify with?”
A: “Scheherazade and Bugs Bunny.” (from writer/performer John Kuntz).

Berkshire Creative notes that the American Airlines in-flight magazine profiles playwright Julianne Hiam as a way to highlight the creative heritage of her region: the bucolic (and artistically prolific) Berkshire Hills.

Visual arts
In the Boston Globe, there’s a great description of photographer Cary Wolinsky’s solo show Fiber of Life, at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset. MCC connections: Cary is a member of the artists collective TRIIIBE along with Alicia, Kelly, and Sara Casilio; TRIIIBE received an Artist Fellowship in Sculpture/Installation in 2009. Also, the article is written by Robert Knox, a past finalist in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction. (For other fellows/finalists news, read our monthly Fellows Notes).

Finally, Boston Handmade opens its Downtown Gallery in Boston’s Downtown Crossing today. The gallery features handmade work of artists and artisans – a great way to de-Black Friday your artistic consciousness.

Image: Matthew Rich, WALL (2006), mdf, latex paint 25x34x1.5 in.

Free the artists: a roundup

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Jane Marsching, MCCALL GLACIER (2006), large-scale lightjet print

An handful of past MCC fellows/finalists recently got some nice (and free) publicity: Globe art critic Cate McQuaid had very good things to say about Sally Moore’s (Sculpture/Installation Finalist ’07) exhibition Edge and Jane Marsching (Photography Finalist ’03), Deb Todd Wheeler (Sculpture/Installation Fellow ’03), and Tanit Sakakini’s exhibition Figment’s Imagination.

Greg Cook pointed out this Chicago Tribune story of a local artist abroad. Boston’s Bren Bataclan spent October in the City of the Big Shoulders to trade paintings for the pledge that the recipient will “smile at strangers more often.” (The Trib, clearly an anti-smile establishment, punished him by calling him “Bret.”)

Speaking of giving away your work for free, literary agent Nathan Bransford asks: does it pay?

And does it pay for a city in revival to offer artist space for free? Fall River is about to test the theory. Artists can apply to take over empty storefronts, rent-free (they do pay utilities), in return for staying open to the public at designated times. The Herald News has the story.

As we approach election day, CultureGrrl makes a heartfelt plea to the next administration: end this long national nightmare and revive of National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships for all disciplines!

Speaking of NEA, it’s rolling out a new program to support new plays, and the first group of selections and finalists have been announced. Congrats to Massachusetts artists Lydia Diamond and Anne Gottlieb – both created works named as finalists.

The literary blog The Millions probes how a settlement between Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers could pave the way for major changes in book publishing. Most notably, out-of-print or impossible-to-find literature could be made available in digital versions or through print-on-demand technology.

Anyone out there know a William Young, formerly (and maybe still?) of Winchester? Authorities are trying to find him: they’ve found the George Benjamin Luks painting somebody pinched from him 37 years ago!

At HubArts, Joel Brown explores how an abandoned state mental hospital in Danvers has inspired hyperbolically creepy pastels by a Massachusetts artist.

Artists in the Berkshires can pick up marketing and business strategies in small business seminar for artists in Pittsfield.

Image: Jane Marsching, MCCALL GLACIER (2006), large-scale lightjet print. Jane’s digital prints are exhibited in Figments Imagination at Miller Block Gallery, through December 12.

Louder Than Words

Monday, October 27th, 2008

If only the walls could talk. Well apparently they will at the Worcester Art Museum starting this Thursday.

Worcester Art Museum installation of THINK AGAIN mural

The provocative artist-activist collaborative THINK AGAIN (David John Attyah and S.A. Bachman) are at it again. Working in the longstanding tradition of agitprop artists, they have created a new work called Actions Speak. Upon receiveing their comission, THINK AGAIN rolled up their collective sleeves and completed a 67′ long mural at the Worcester Art Museum(WAM) as part of the Wall at WAM series. Action Speaks is the 7th project in the WAM series.

Worcester Art Museum installation of THINK AGAIN muralWorcester Art Museum installation of THINK AGAIN mural

Debuting the week before the presidential election, THINK AGAIN’s Actions Speak aims to promote dialogue between art and public response as well as between global reality and local action. The project combines text, photography, drawing, etching, sculpture, and digital design. And apparently it is also the first Wall at WAM project to utilize both the museum’s interior wall and exterior faade (where a projection will be on view after dark during public evening hours on the 3rd Thursday of each month).

THINK AGAIN, detail image

Worcester Art Museum installation of THINK AGAIN muralImage: Wall at Worcester Art Museum: “Actions Speak, detail” by THINK AGAIN (David John Attyah and S.A. Bachman) 2008, inkjet on paper, 17 x 67 feet. (FY99 MCC Photography Fellows)

Photo Credits: Images courtesy of The Worcester Art Museum

Dances and dialogues: a roundup

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Still from STRING BEINGS (2007), image courtesy of Snappy Dance Theater

Make your voices typed
There’s a great discussion underway in the comments section of our post about Martha Mason and the end of Snappy Dance Theater, ranging from tributes to Snappy to the future of Boston’s dance scene to the virtues of dance as an art form. Check it out and join in.

Leslie K. Brown invites you to guess that photographic image.

Mirror up to Nature wants you to send in your pictures of theatre artists at work.

A Minnesota playwright asks for your definition of success as an artist.

West Coast literary agent Nathan Bransford wants writers to share the worst writing advice you’ve ever received.

Reports from the field
At Best American Poetry, Eleanor Goodman shares her experiences at the Simmons College Chinese Poetry Festival, starting here and continuing here.

At the local indie film blog Kino-Eye, David Tames offers a perceptive, two-part response to the DIY Days Boston conference: part 1 and part 2. The conference was designed to help filmmakers finds ways “to have a say in how their films were reaching audiences.”

A tech reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has high praise for Act/React at the Milwaukee Art Museum, which was curated by Boston Cyberarts Festival founder/director George Fifield and features Brian Knep (Sculpture/Installation Finalist ’07).

Do stuff
Film-makers and -appreciators in Central and Western Mass. have two upcoming festivals to hit: the Williamstown Film Festival October 17-26, and the Northampton Film Festival October 24-26.

This month in the Berkshires, a consortium of excellent arts groups presents two events in the Tricks of the Trade professional development series for individual artists. Events offer advice on selling handmade work online (October 14 in North Adams) and pricing artwork (October 15 in Pittsfield). Series flyer.

Big tubs of Gatorade poured on the heads of (i.e. congratulations to):
Massachusetts playwright Kirsten Greenidge, recently named a 2008 Time Warner Storytelling Fellow by the Sundance Institute. The fellowship “provides substantial support over four years to help fund the development and celebration of independent artists across the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film and Theatre Programs,” according to a press release quoted on the Filmmaker Magazine blog.

Massachusetts novelist Sue Miller, this year’s winner of the Kate Chopin Award, according to the Word Up blog from the Phoenix.

Americans for the Arts, who actually did what the debate moderators have yet to do: ask about the presidential candidates’ positions on the arts.

A parting question
In an ideas piece, Marjorie Garber asks: should universities become the ultimate patrons of the arts?

Art today is often collaborative, costly, and ambitious. Whether for an installation, a film, a theater or dance production, or some combination of these, art requires large and flexible spaces, and large and flexible budgets. There is more need than ever for connections, global and local, and for expensive, delicate, and complicated tools and equipment…

… Universities would create open spaces for art-making, with natural light, high ceilings, flexible flooring (for dance and other performance activities), and acoustic sophistication, furnished with state-of-the-art technology, staffed by skilled technicians, and providing spaces for encounters and improvisation across art practices. With augmented funding and a new vision of art’s centrality, universities might set up endowed centers that bring together international practitioners, begin directing major donations toward art centers, and recruit major working artists and give them a home during the prime of their careers.

Read the full piece.

Image: Still from String Beings. Premiered at the Virginia Wimberly Theater, June 2007. Image by MIT scientist and New Media artist, Jonathan Bachrach. Photo by Allison Evans.

Troubled countries: a roundup

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Sandy Litchfield, DOWNPOUR (2005), oil, acrylic, ink on canvas, 42 in. x 48 in.

How does our work as artists relate to our national identity? Or should it, even? At Gasp!, Laura Axelrod explores the artist’s role in a troubled country.

(The) main question has to do with how we, as Americans perceive ourselves and how we, as artists see our country. It is larger than how we perceive our audience. It incorporates how we approach them. Do we declare war on them to “wake them up?” Do we comfort them and validate their status? Do we see ourselves as parasites, living off the scraps of mainstream society? Or have we quit on America entirely, turned our nose up and looked to other countries for “real culture?”

These are important questions that artists and writers must ask themselves. How we see each other, individually and as a whole, will determine our role in seeing this country through its troubles. Perhaps our work can even play a role in healing it.

Speaking of troubled countries… even though it appears tonight’s presidential debate WILL happen after all, LA Times art critic Christopher Knight doubts arts and culture will be among the topics presidentially debated (but feels they should be).

Martha Mason, Artistic Director of the late, great Snappy Dance Theater (recently featured on ArtSake here), seeks to spark a conversation about funding for small performing arts companies, at Geoff Edgers’ The Exhibitionist.

At the Best American Poetry blog, Julia Cohen gives an eyewitness account of a recent reading by Caroline Knox (Poetry Fellow ’96, ’06) at NYC’s infamous KGB Bar.

Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr tips his hat to departing MFA Head of Film and Video Bo Smith.

Image: Sandy Litchfield, DOWNPOUR (2005), oil, acrylic, ink on canvas, 42 in. x 48 in.

And the Winner Is…

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Image of United States by Komar and Melamid

Sick of opinion polls and market research questionnaires? Well so were the artists Komar and Melamid, and a few years back they turned their annoyance into a humorous art project. They queried hundreds of people in different countries to discover what the best painting would look like, compiled the data, and then created paintings based on the information they collected. Conversely, they also polled people to discover what the worst painting would look like. Sometimes democracy is ug-a-lee.

In this poll-free, no spin blog, we want to remind you that it’s a good thing to exercise your universally recognized freedoms and liberties on November 4th and vote for the presidential candidate of your choice. If you are not registered to vote, go here to learn how. If you think you’ll need an absentee ballot or need to get one for someone you know, go here. Presidential elections can be won or lost by a few hundred votes (for instance, Florida in 2000 was won by a margin of 537) so remember fellow citizens, every vote does count no matter whose candidacy you endorse.

A quick trip into the wayback machine reminds us that it wasn’t until the 15th amendment was ratified in 1870 that the right of citizens (meaning men) of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. It took The 19th Amendment in 1920 to give women the right to vote.

Go here for more general voting information in Massachusetts.

Down on the Cape you’ll find the Cotuit Center for the Arts has a call to artists to participate in an exhibition called The Art Vote 2008.

And if you’re interested in public policy (as it relates specifically to being an artist), you should check out the second annual Artists Under the Dome event takes place this coming November 13th at the state house in Boston.

Image of United States by Komar & Melamid

Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

While Wall St. takes a nose dive, the pockets of British artist Damian Hirst have just been filled with newly minted greenbacks thanks to record shattering sales of his work at Sothebys.

He has been sued on copyright infringement. He has a reputation of being a piranha that rips off others original ideas and exploits them to his own financial advantage. Some see his work of animals submerged in vitrines of formaldehyde with revulsion, sadness and evidence of a lack of creativity. To others, Hirst is considered a prolific and influential artist with extraordinary business acumen reshaping the way in which art is created and sold. No matter what your opinion of him, and there is plenty to go around, there’s no doubting that the Brit bad boy has a 127 million dollar smile. His gamble to bypass the traditional gallery system and sell his work directly via the auction house has paid off. I for one though will keep my beloved dog far, far away from his studio and its gallons of carcinogenic embalming fluids.

And speaking of large sums of money, the Museum of Fine Arts is reported to have met its 500 million dollar fundraising goal.

New transmissions: a roundup

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Sarah Slavick, TRANSMIT (2005), oil on wood, 36 in. X 36 in.

At the blog of the venerable literary journal Ploughshares, 2006 Poetry Fellow Simeon Berry calls our attention to, in his own droll and idiosyncratic way, a spirited discussion within the online poetry community about one poet’s disastrous experience with a poetry contest.

So you want to build yourself a super-duper artist’s website, and you want to do it free, gratis, and for nothin’? Over at the Technology in the Arts blog, Brad Stephenson wants to help you. Because as he puts it, “You’re cheap, and I love you.”

Art critic Sebastian Smee, recent emigre from The Australian to the Boston Globe, shares his first impressions on first impressions (oh, and on Massachusetts art museums).

Perhaps instead of Artist Fellowships, we should award Olympic medals in the arts.

MacDowell Colony doesn’t oppose Divine Mercy. But the isolated artists retreat (which has welcomed many Massachusetts artists over the years) would prefer the new church not be built quite so close to MacDowell’s, you know, isolation.

Where do the presidential candidates stand on the arts? Here, a couple of bloggers offer opinions on the arts policies of Obama and McCain. You can also investigate on your own at ArtsVote, a program of Americans for the Arts Action Fund. The site links to current and former presidential candidates’ arts policies, including Clinton, Richardson, and Huckabee (Did you know Mike Huckabee is a big supporter of arts and music in education, calling them “Weapons of Mass Instruction?”).

Disclaimer (spoken in robot voice): No candidate or opinion of same candidate being advocated for by ArtSake blog. Just sharing Internet data. Affirmative. End transmission.

Image: Sarah Slavick, TRANSMIT (2005), oil on wood, 36 in. X 36 in.