Letter from the Editor

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

Letter from the Editor 

The October issue of aeqai has just been posted, and we think that you will find this issue our very strongest yet, indicative of both the artistic and literary talent in this region. As we have noted more frequently, the variety and complexity of the exhibitions offered has gotten more sophisticated and as thoughtful as possible. We have reviews from Louisville, Columbus, and Indianapolis as well as from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Aeqai welcomes several new writers this month: Robert Wallace, professor of English at NKU, whose examinations into similarities between the work of Herman Melville in Moby Dick and the art of Frank Stella, have made him one of American’s great creative thinkers, joins us with a combination review/personal essay on the work of Ana England, on display at The Weston Gallery at the Aronoff Center. His colleague and poet Kelly Moffett also joins aeqai this month, with a haunting poem and introductory essay on Steven Finke’s work at The Weston as well; the show is actually a collaboration between England and Finke, and may well be the most anticipated art show of the fall season in this area. NKU painting teacher and widely respected realist/naturalist painter Kevin Muente also joins aeqai this month, with an extremely sensitive review of the drawings of Michael Nichols at The Carnegie, one of the first shows curated by Matt Distel there.

Cincinnati based painter and furniture designer Matt Metzger also joins aeqai this month, and his review of a two person show at Prairie in Northside is, we believe , a truly exemplary piece of criticism, and can show us what criticism is and can be. Lexington-based writer/arts advocate Christine Huskisson also comes to aeqai this month; her review of the work of a Croatian artist at the prestigious B. Deemer Gallery in Louisville reminds us that the influence of modernist greats like Matisse is still very much in evidence.

Also new to aeqai is Querulous, who finds in wandering around town, all sorts of puffery, overinflated language, art nigh on impossible to understand, artist’s talks that seem in Sanskrit, and the like, and will query those things, and keep our language down to earth (every field has its jargon, of course, but there are times when excess and pomposity need to be mentioned). Querulous will return regularly to keep us grounded.

Keith Banner’s review of the Matisse show at Indianapolis Museum of Art is a glorious piece of writing/critical analysis, and the way he builds his review to those very late cutouts Matisse made when old, infirm and nearly blind is just exceptional. The Matisses on display come from the collection of The Cone Sisters, now in the Baltimore Museum of Art; the sisters were friends of, and advised by, the legendary Gertrude Stein and brother Leo, in Paris. Aeqai’s peripitatic critic Kevin Ott went to Columbus to see the Bellows (mostly) paintings show at The Columbus Museum of Art, whose Howald Collection of American Art is one of the finest such collections in this country, and he finds those Depression-inspired Ashcan artworks very illuminating and descriptive of American sensibilities in the thirties–much of the “noir” look so favored today can be seen in Bellows’ work. And Cynthia Kukla reports from Chicago about the first of a series of little known, and often ethnically centered, Chicago museums: this first report is about The Ukrainian Museum in Chicago. Kukla’s brisk writing and superb analytical skills are in evidence, as always.

Karen Chambers reviews the complexly selected works of glass and painting, in particular, at Marta Hewett Gallery; Hewett took the topic “What is Contemporary Art”, which aeqai addressed last month and continues this month, as a curatorial theme to superb effect. And Hewett herself offers an erudite and beautiful discussion and descriptive analysis of Art Academy professor Gary Gaffney’s curated show, Angels, at The Carnegie. Gaffney, too, is represented this month with his own offerings about what contemporary art is or may be, and how we, the audience, might better approach it.

Chris Hoeting interviews new CAC Curator Steven Matijcio, who ‘s already had an impressive lineup of exhibitions and travels around the globe. We also asked Matijcio to address that topic “what is contemporary art” for this issue, which he does with aplomb and intelligence: his tent is an open one with lots of flaps.

Fran Watson, one of aeqai’s print specialists, looks at two new offerings of prints, one at Clay Street Press, and the other at 5th Street Gallery downtown, which is exhibiting new prints from Tiger Lily Press. It’s validating to see the print medium still alive and creating new hybrid forms. Sara Caswell-Pearce returns with a wonderful sense of the art museum’s new exhibiton, Fashion and Contemporary Craft: she sees the pairings that curators Cynthia Amneus and Amy Dehan have put together from those two fields with their usual creative aplomb. Dustin Pike, aeqai’s resident mystic, takes a look at the Daoism show at the museum, more as a personal essay than a critical analysis per se: it’s amazing what he intuits when he just looks at art and lets himself dream into it.

Marlene Steele returns with a highly condensed sense of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement exhibition at The Women’s Y downtown: an artist herself, she finds less to praise than might have been hoped for, but what she does single out she writes about with her razor-sharp observations. Shawn Daniell’s obvious enthusiasm for Rondle West’s almost stupa-like mixed-media sculptures at Gallery One One at the Brazee Street Studios is exhiliarating to read. We first saw West’s work some years back at the NKU Galleries; his work will now be represented by The Miller Gallery in Hyde Park.

Danelle Cheney has moved to Birmingham, Alabama, but her series on graphic design will continue;  her offering this month is a look at the excitement surrounding such fields at the beginning of the twentieth century, in Italy (Futurism) and in the new Soviet Union in particular. It’s a fascinating time in modernism, and Cheney reminds us that the speed of today’s communications isn’t necessarily creating more advances than what we found as the twentieth century began. Look for more such anaylsis from Cheney in the next issues of aeqai.

Cate Yellig does a two-fer for Saad Ghosn’s Artists as Activists show at the NKU Galleries (where Curator David Knight continues to give us some of the best shows in this region). Yellig both interviews Ghosn, who’s become very well known for his exhibitions about social activism, and looks at some of the more important works of art in this show. We think of Saad Ghosn as a community treasure.

Laura Hobson’s profile this month is on Alissa Sammarco Magenheim, a Cincinnati lawyer who has been curating some of the best shows in this region for about two years. Integrating these two seemingly disparate fields has enriched Magenheim’s sense of art and its purposes.

I offer three book reviews this month, on Rachel Kushner’s The Flame Throwers; Jenni Fagan’s Panopticon; and Paul Yoon’s Snow Hunters, all new or new in the past couple of months.

Jonathan Kamholtz’s review of “Telling Tales”, the Taft Museum’s splendid painting show of work from The New York Historical Society, will be posted on or about on Friday of this week; he’s had a family emergency, but we know that the review is in process: stay tuned for that, as Kamholtz’s reviews are always a highlight of every issue of aeqai.

Please remember that if you want to “subscribe”, meaning that you will be notified by these eblasts that a new issue is being posted, just click on to “subscribe” on the site, and that’s it; there’s no charge to receive aeqai, and our subscriber list can’t even be found by the NSA. We do not share that with anyone.

We hope that you find this issue as stimulating as it has been to put together. We always welcome your comments, and will be back at about this same time in November with another issue of the always-growing and the always-stimulating aeqai, your on-line visual arts journal.

———Daniel Brown
Editor, AEQAI

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