Letter from the Editor

May 22nd, 2013  |  Published in Announcements, May 2013

Letter from the Editor

The May issue is a few days late, so that all the aeqai writers could have a breather after the benefit party that The Carnegie hosted for us on Thursday, May l6.  We want to thank Katie Brass, Carnegie’s Director, for providing the space and the hospitality for aeqai, and are happy to report that our attendance was near l75 people, and that our revenue from the evening is nearly three times greater than last year’s. We also want to thank all those area artists who so very kindly donated work at the silent auction; we know how tired you are of being asked to donate work for various causes, but are honored and pleased at your response in helping aeqai. We are also particularly grateful to LaPoste Eatery for providing eight cases of wine; to Marta Hewett, representing the newly reformed Dealers’ Initiative of Cincinnati , for what seemed endless supplies of sandwiches, and to Belgian Waffle, and its manager Ron Padgett, who kept producing perfect waffles for our guests. Aeqai writers provided the remaining nibbles and goodies; we are a participatory lot.

Our May issue again features a wide range of reviews of exhibitions in this area and in Louisville, and we offer some new writers and new features, too.  Cynthia Amneus, Curator of Fashion (and others) and the art museum, has joined aeqai as our fashion critic, and her first article appears this month: she presents an astute analysis of the work of the late designer McQueen, with observations about the cultural  significance of his designs and the international market in which he worked–and tragically died young, by his own hand.  Christa Zielke, who has been in charge of marketing and press at Visionaries and Voices, gives us a brilliant historical analysis of “outsider” art, its contexts, and how its admirers are moving away from the idea of the “disabled artist” towards the idea , simply put, of “the artist”. As a parallel article, Keith Banner, who founded the original Visionaries and Voices with partner Bill Ross, has written a complex and loving tribute, a biographical sketch/profile, of Courttney Cooper, who has spent a lot of time developing his art there, and whose work is paired with regional painter Cole Carothers’ in a two-person show opening at the art museum on May 25, the first such show curated by Matt Distel, who has become the adjunct curator of contemporary art at the museum, as well as Curator at The Carnegie: we expect Distel to be a very busy man, and wish him much success in these two new positions.  Distel has long attempted to integrate so-called outsider artists like Cooper into the mainstream of contemporary visual culture.  Aeqai has asked Distel to write an essay for us in June explaining his thoughts, goals, philosophies, ideas, et. al. as he approaches these two new jobs.  Distel is certainly known for his creativity and his sensitivity.

Brett Baker, painter, writer, and creator of  The Painter’sTable blog, returns this month with his Letter from New York; he looks hard at the work of the late Jay DeFeo, the San Francisco-based artist whose one work “The Rose” was painted and repainted obsessively over a period of many years; it and other DeFeo works are on display now at The Whitney in New York, and Baker sees her work in the context of the best Abstract Expressionists.  From a more local region, Kevin Ott, who recently moved to Mt. Adams with his wife in the empty-nesting phase of life, writes us a Letter from Mt. Adams, telling us what drew him there and what he loves about that place. Susan Amis, our Occasional Collector/flaneur, writes a very introspective Letter from Santa Fe, in which she meditates about what it’s like to fall in love with a painting that you don’t buy, and how it comes back to haunt you in your moments of reverie back home. And Louis Zoeller Bickett returns to aeqai, with a stunning review of an exhibition in Louisville, Visually Sound at LOL, curated by the very gifted young curator Aaron Skolnick:  we expect to hear more from Skolnick in the future as a free-lance curator of considerable talent.  And we continue to post groups of conceptual photos of Bickett’s; he sends lots of them to me as his mood suits him, and I try to make narratives out of groups of them: I am immensely impressed by his refusal to patronize the seemingly tacky in and around the strip malls of urban America, and by a certain tristesse in his images of people, perhaps reflecting an underlying languor, but either way Bickett is a splendid psychologist of urban culture with his camera and with his pen.

Saad Ghosn’s column, Art for a Better World, brings together art by long time Art Academy professor, the now retired Gary Gaffney, and the poetry of NKU professor Donelle Dreese. Saad’s newest SOS art exhibition will also be on view at The Art Academy of Cincinnati from May 31-June 9, with opening reception, potluck and music May 31 from 6 pm on.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/SOS-ART/114926655201706

Jane Durrell went down to Saks Fifth Avenue for the opening of an exhibition of paintings by the ever-sophisticated Donna Talerico, a former fashion designer herself, but Durrell also reflects on what it’s like to run down to Saks as an art critic:  every atavisitic thought about what to wear underly her funny essay.

Dustin Pike continues with his series on how design and its underlying structures influence all the art we see and interpret: this month, he writes about “Angels and Rainbows”.  Pike will continue this series as long as his ideas continue to pour forth.  And aeqai welcomes new art critic/artist Marla Sweitzer, whose pastel drawings knocked my socks off, as the expression goes–Emil Robinson introduced us.  She reviews the show “Disruptors”, curated by Morgan Cobb, which closes this Friday.

Jonathan Kamholtz once again teaches us all what is really meant by narrative in art, in his brilliant review of my own show, “Continuity and Change: The Return to Narrative Figure Painting” at Cincinnati Art Galleries.  The show consists of work by seven painters, some from Cincinnati and others from Bloomington, Indiana, and we are privileged to include work by the late Aidan Schepera, who received his MFA posthumously at IU this spring.

Karen Chambers, whose wit continues to blossom along with the flowers and trees outside, writes eloquently about Terrie Mangat’s quilts at Solway Gallery, and also reviews the work of the seven members of “Queen City Glass Arts” now on display at the 5th Street Gallery in the Netherland Hotel downtown: hers is a very model of what criticism is. Shawn Daniell has a slightly differing view of Kent Krugh’s highly praised photos of trees which just closed at The Carnegie: she finds a haunting side to them, as well as seeing their beauty.  Fran Watson reviews both shows at Manifest Gallery in East Walnut Hills, succinctly and intelligently, as always.

Kathy Valin attended the Patti Smith performance at Memorial Hall, sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Center, and writes a review of such extraordinary sensitivity that we urge budding writers to follow how she creates the moods in her article, mirroring what Smith herself has done. She also admirably reviews Smith’s own accomplishments separate from those of her best friend, Robert Mapplethorpe (for those of you who haven’t read Smith’s memoir “Just Kids”, which won the National Book Award last year, I urge you to do so: it is nearly Proustian in sensibility and its senses of searching for lost time.

Chris Hoeting reviews the other main exhibition at CAC, called The Living Room , which features the work of some of this region’s finest youngish artists, and it’s good to see those artists’ work in the CAC.  We read in the newspaper, The Enquirer, just this morning that the CAC has been forced to cut four more staff members, while also cutting the salary of its Director/Chief Curator, Raphela Platow; we hope that the arrival of their new curator in June will help the CAC; Chris Hoeting will be interviewing that curator in our summer issue.

Laura Hobson continues her series of profiles of arts leaders in our community with an excellent interview with John Sullivan, the new President of The Art Academy of Cincinnati, who speaks of its problems and challenges.

Aeqai also introduces another new feature:  we get hundreds of art announcements from around the region, the country, the world, now, and we’d like to interview some of the dealers, galleriest, curators at some of these places, to see what the art world is like from their perspectdives/cities, and to tell us how they find their talent, what they’re looking for, and the like.  We begin this series this month with an e-mail interview between Martha Otero, whose LA-based gallery has some really impressive artists, and me, and will continue this as an occasional series, too.

Maxwell Redder offers us three new poems, and I offer two book reviews, as the fiction offerings are starting to improve after a bleak winter.

We shall be back in June with our regular issue, and then remind our readers that aeqai does just one summer issue , July/August, which comes out right near the end of July.

We also would like to remind anyone who would still like to make a donation to aeqai (your donations are now tax-deductible), to please do so, and send your check to Aeqai, Inc. at 2101 Grandin Road, Apt. 206, Cincinnati, Ohio  45208.  An anonymous friend has also offered us a challenge grant for $5000, so we need help in coming up with the other $5000.

Thanks for your attention to aeqai; send us your comments, as always, and we hope you find the May issue of aeqai stimulating, thoughtful, and intelligent.

Daniel Brown
Editor, AEQAI

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