Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Scene One, Take Two

Sticky Memo Ball
RIT CITY Art Space
part of  "Current Seen"

By design, I think about how things look, what they mean, and how they work.  Recently, I read about all of the tons of plastic that have ended up in the world's oceans, and how that plastic gets pulverized - turning into nearly microscopic chunks that become part of the seafood we eat.  If we are what we eat, than how are we to deal with what we may become - given this plastic scenario..?  I don't know why I have to think about these things now, but here I am in RIT's new CITY Art Space looking at wonderful design work on exhibition here and hoping that some of our students at R.I.T. will start to deal with this plastics crisis!

"Blockitecture" by James Paulius

"Blockitecture"  takes a children's toy and revitalizes the concept of urban planning by treating it as a strategy, recognizing the need to reconfigure our cities - one "block" at a time.   These painted wooden blocks can be stacked and easily set up to represent new ideas, dealing with the changing needs of towns and cities.  This is just one part of a large exhibition space along with "Best Foot Forward" curated by Cecily Culver that you will find opposite the Liberty Pole in the center of Rochester, New York.

Now it is getting dark and I am walking towards East Avenue and I passed another exhibit that is part of "Current Seen" at 245 East Main.  This interactive video display is from W. Michele Harris and she calls it: " In Their Wake" - drawing attention to African-Americans, some of whom worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, and then made their way up to Rochester.  Generations later we are still dealing with racial division and inequality that this exhibition highlights.

Installation "Observation Towers" by Heather Swenson
just east of RoCo

A sculptural installation from Heather Swenson is just outside of Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  I am used to seeing Heather Swenson as a printmaker, so this is a bit of a departure that allows her to bring her art out into a public space.  When I look at these "towers"  they have a surreal presence and I think of some science fiction fantasy, as well as some of Nick Ruth's recent art that we featured in the "Process & Purpose show that I curated.  How do these constructions relate to Ms. Swenson's work as a printmaker?  I can't wait to ask her that question..

Rochester Contemporary 
137 East Avenue, Rochester, NY
"Current Seen"

Inside RoCo, the joint is jumping!  I turn to look and see this set of pictograms developed by Michael Goldman.  I get into a conversation with him and about his art - because years ago ( before I came to Rochester ) I actually designed some of these same signs with my brother Paul Singer - and now you see our pictograms all across the country!  I had something in common with Michael Goldman, and I enjoyed seeing how he dealt with some of our surroundings here, how he digests things we see and know ( like the Garbage Plate ) and then come up with a memorable image.

Michael Goldman at RoCo
"State of the City"

In Rochester we have to develop strategies that can bring people together - and the visual arts can do that without being heavy handed.  We could hope that the people who are portrayed by Richmond Futch Jr. in his drawings on view at RoCo, can come and see their portraits and stay a while to see other aspects of "State of the City".  That there are many folks in our midst who are disadvantaged should not come as a surprise, but what are we doing about it?  The portraits along the wall leave you with the impression that there are many voices of the dispossessed longing to be seen and heard, and they have stories to tell...Thanks for these many portraits and the hopeful feelings that they bestow.

Portrait artist: Richmond Futch Jr. 
at RoCo

I have only scratched the surface of "Current Seen" , so in my next post I will continue on around and see what's up....