Summer Issue of Aeqai Online

August 14th, 2016  |  Published in Announcements

Aeqai’s one combined summer issue, July/August, has just posted, and we think it gives an exceptional overview of the visual arts throughout our region, including both Dayton and Lexington. And with the 2016 FotoFocus biennial just around the corner, we’re including some extra reviews and articles about photography in this issue, as a kind of warm up for the extensive coverage we’re planning for FotoFocus; look for coverage in September and October, in particular.

Please welcome new Aeqai critic Tony Huffman, who’s seeking an advanced degree in art history and related museum studies in Cleveland: his review of the opening show at the brand new 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington is a truly exemplary piece of postmodern criticism of a fine show examining race, gender, class, and power arrangements in a post-colonial world, curated by Alice Gray Stites. The Lexington hotel/museum is the newest in the chain of museum/hotels by 21c. Chelsea Borgman is writing a series of essays/interviews on the subject of performance art: we’re convinced that performance is growing in importance, and we want our readers to understand both its origins, its purposes, and its (mainly autobiographical) intentions. Part I appears this month, and includes an interview with Pam Kravetz, whose performances are so well liked and admired within our region. Karen Chambers looks at the current Bookworks exhibition at The Public Library downtown, always one of our favorite annual shows. Susan Byrnes reviews the current show at The Dayton Art Institute, which has water as its theme and continues a remarkable series of shows in Dayton mainly about the elements. And Fran Watson reviews both shows about “Cats” at The Cincinnati Art Museum, the one containing a lot of Egyptian art from the holdings of The Brooklyn Museum, along with the more modern/contemporary show; she finds both shows delightful and edifying.

Marlene Steele returns with a review of a show featuring work by Cincinnatians Susan Byrnes and Kate Kern and The Dayton Visual Arts Center, an exciting exhibition venue in Dayton. And Jennifer Perusek offers her lively and astute critique of the Downton Abbey costume show at The Taft Museum of Art, another wonderful and popular show at Cincinnati’s jewel of a museum downtown. Tim Karoleff, Aeqai’s design critic, offers a fascinating interview with fashion designer Mandy Kordel, known for her knitwear; the designer’s expectations of fashion’s obligations to the environment are particularly engaging. Jane Durrell profiles Cincinnati painter/teacher Kim Krause, one of America’s finest abstractionists/formalists and long a mainstay of The Art Academy of Cincinnati. And Laura Hobson profiles The Civic Garden Center of Cincinnati, located in Avondale, and originally the property of The Hauck family here.

We begin our coverage of photography with a review by William Messer, who curates the photography shows at Iris BookCafe, and who’s one of America’s leading writers/critics about photography; it’s a double review, of shows both at The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts and The Toledo Museum of Art; his review raises fascinating questions about whether or not the “on the road” types of photography are or aren’t an actual genre. Aeqai’s now receiving review copies from The Aperture Foundation, and Zack Hatfield reviews one of their new books, about photographs made by the late New Orleans photographer (and draughtsman/painter) George Dureau, who was one of Mapplethorpe’s primary influences. Jonathan Kamholtz looks at Aperture’s new book of Joel Meyerowitz’s photographs; the book is meant for children, and Kamholtz addresses is broader appeal and analyzes Meyerowitz’s work with great insight. And Kent Krugh, Aeqai’s photo editor, offers photographs by Carol Isaac as the summer’s photofolio essay.

Lexington photographer, poet, essayist, conceptual artist and archivist Louis Zoellar Bickett has been stricken with ALS, and Aeqai, in collaboration with the Lexington online journal of the arts UnderMain, offers a variety of tributes to and about Bickett in this issue: Christine Huskisson, co-founder of UnderMain, offers a beautiful essay in honor of Bickett, and links us to already published articles and podcasts based on long interviews with Bickett, recently, in and from UnderMain. We also offer a large number of poems by Bickett, which we’ve been doing for months, now; he’s our contemporary Baudelaire, a flaneur of the ordinary, of the ephemeral; a collector of ephemera, mainly from his own life and times/culture, make up what he calls his “Archive”, one of the most fascinating “collections” of contemporary art in America. We’ve published numerous series of Bickett’s photographs, too, conceptual in nature, over the past three years, and continue with more of his new and old poems this month. Bickett’s one of the most astute critics of contemporary life and culture, which he’s doing through archiving and curating his own life and times, and his “collection” may well be one of the most fascinating of our lives and times anywhere in America: he has the keenest eye for ephemera of anyone I’ve met, and he makes each piece of ephemera have exaggerated importance as each represents aspects of his own life, so that they have a powerful emotional resonance for all of us. We both thanks and celebrate the work of Bickett in this issue, and will continue to do so in future issues, in conjunction with UnderMain. Just about every important visual arts venue in Lexington will be exhibiting work by Bickett in the late summer and early fall.

Some of the strongest reviews come this month from our out of town critics. Anise Stevens’ essay on LA artist Erica Rawlings is a powerful piece of writing about this emerging artist; we encourage you to read it back-to-back with Jack-Arthur Wood’s intensely emotional review of work by emerging Texas artist Lisette Chavez, showing in San Antonio. Both women address some similar topics in their artwork, which is raw and fresh and intensely personal, representative of a different kind of feminist work by younger American women artists. Wood also reviews collage work by the superb practitioner of that medium, Oscar Guerra, also in San Antonio. Joelle Jameson returns with an often hilarious double review of two shows in Houston, one a juried almost Salon type of show, the other, the Refuses, and her conclusions are often witty and sharp-eyed, and make for excellent cultural criticism. We always look forward to the sly humor often manifested in Jameson’s criticism. And we welcome new LA critic Annabel Osberg to Aeqai; she’s written a brilliant essay on a show of work by and about filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, “At Home with Monsters”, at LACMA in LA. Osberg raises fascinating issues about the kinds of documentation sneaking in excess into contemporary art shows/installations and she questions the relevance of such material and who’s actually doing the curating of shows like the one she discusses. It’s a very fresh look at new issues in contemporary art, and we look forward to future writings by Osberg in Aeqai.

Katie Dreyer’s review of a show about family at Brazee Street Gallery will be in tonight, right before we post, and we know from other reviews by Dreyer that it will be smart and critically relevant; the show’s curated by Chelsea Borgman, who also writes for Aeqai.

We hope that you find this issue of Aeqai smart and full of columns examining all kinds of issues in contemporary art. We’ll be back in September with another issue, including our interview by Jon Kamholtz with FotoFocus Curator Kevin Moore.

We also hope that you’ll be able to attend Aeqai’s one annual benefit party/art auction, which will take place on Thursday, September 8, at The Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. The entry fee’s only $45, can be bought on Eventbrite or paid at the door; we will have spectacular art donated by regional artists up for silent auction that evening; this benefit helps raise 1/3 of our annual budget, so we hope you’ll be feeling generous that night and come and say hello, buy some great art, have some nibbles and some wine with us. The event’s being chaired by Aeqai board members Cedric Cox and Matt Metzger.

Enjoy the issue.

Daniel Brown,


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