Friday, December 13, 2013

Contemporary Art Center

23rd Annual Members Exhibition
  at Rochester Contemporary Art Center
  137 East Avenue, thru January 12, 2014

Tis the season, so after you go out and see all the art shows you can handle - slow down and find a comfortable place to read a book.  Since I write about art I recommend that you catch up with some favorite writers who make a living doing just that and here are two paperbacks just published  that might be a nice holiday gift to get.  The books are "Pirates and Farmers" by Dave Hickey ( Essays on Taste) and "Words for Art" by Barry Schwabsky.

Dave Hickey is out there, in print with his Henry Miller style lists, and his mea culpas - do we really need to know the kinds and quantities of the drugs he has taken?  When he wants to be, he is a sharp wit, and also sometimes hits the nail on the head as far as the real art goes.  These essays on taste take on the Las Vegas scene, the New York City conundrum of the artist's life,  interesting views of the West-Coast art world, all with aplomb, and zesty zingers on each page.  Dave is entertaining - a jazz artist always with a ready riff from this one time editor of Art in America.

Barry Schwabsky's book "Words for Art" is a series of thoughtful essays on how other writers and thinkers approach contemporary art theory and practice.  Barry is the art critic for The Nation, and a
friend who in this new book has many insights which may require a second reading because they are so finely textured ( especially compared to Dave Hickey ).  One of the most interesting essays in his book "Words for Art" is all about what it means to have a truly American art ( in the piece titled: " Under the Flag" ).  Dave Hickey also tries to concern himself with American art and comes to some interesting conclusions about how you can determine whether the art you are looking at has staying quality.

Robert Marx at RoCo
  23rd Annual Members Exhibition

When we put this into practice, it is really up to the observer of the artwork to make the judgement.

Try this out when you are standing in the Rochester Contemporary Art Center on East Avenue - the 23rd Annual Members Exhibition has opened - go into the gallery and survey the new works that artist members have on view.  Ask yourself about the art you see: "How long will I remember this work?, and if you love a work, how long do you think you would love this art?  Whether or not other people would agree with you is not the point, it is more about feeling and maintaining an open mind to the art experience.

"Bee Hive" by Susan Doran
  at RoCo Members Show

At RoCo you can see a dramatic figurative sculpture from Bill Stewart standing in the corner of the lab room toward the back of the gallery.  My pick for most interesting new work on view is a grey paper tutu titled: "Bee Hive" by Susan Doran which won an Arena Art Group Award.  I also enjoyed seeing Robert Marx's portrait and I like one of our R.I.T. grad students Brad Butler's atmospheric paintings that also  won an award.

Go see this show, there is always a lot to think about and let me know if you enjoyed reading the books I recommend, and happy holidays!