At The Gardner Museum, Rachel Perry Asks, “What Do You Really Want?”

What Do You Really Want

Image Credit: Artist Rendering, Photo (c) Clements, 2015.

Need a New Oxygen Concentrator.

That was the subject line of a spam email I received earlier this week. The spam annoyed me more than it usually does because it appeared in my inbox, bypassing my junk email folder altogether. Currently on view at the Gardner Museum in Boston is an installation by Rachel Perry based on—wait for it—a spam email. Unveiled this week on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick facade of the Gardner’s Renzo Piano addition, the artwork is not only one of the more memorable works to have been installed on the museum’s facade, but also the most poignant to date.

Ms. Perry, a conceptual artist based in the North Shore, has been exploring among many other things, the meaning of language and how we communicate as individuals and with one another. In Ms. Perry’s oeuvre, one finds works that continue to draw upon this interest, works like the twenty-three drawings she made based on the manual transcription of her son’s 645-page medical records or her best known work to date: “Karaoke Wrong Number (2005-2009),” a video performance where the artist lip syncs wrong number messages left in her answering machine in the span of four years.

Ms. Perry’s installation at the Gardner consists of a single sentence sculpted out of aluminum foil, which she then photographed against a Bardini blue background (apparently a favorite color of Isabella Stewart Gardner). “What Do You Really Want?” is a simple yet profound question/statement that touches on many issues consuming our culture today. As humans, we’re never satisfied with what we have, do or say and whether you approach the installation in a serious or playful manner, Ms. Perry poses a question that allow us to look at ourselves and our place in the world.

Rachel Perry’s What Do You Really Want? is on view through June 2016.

Berklee College of Music and The Museum School to Merge with Other institutions in the Boston Area

This past summer the world-renowned Berklee College of Music announced that it was exploring the possibility of merging with the Boston Conservatory—the oldest performing music conservatory in the United States, founded in 1867. Boston Business Journal reports that the two institutions have agreed to merge, with a closing date of June 1, 2016.

On a related note, The Boston Globe reports that The School of the Museum of Fine Arts has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tufts University to transfer the school to Tufts. The agreement, effective on June 30, 2016 was based on several factors that will hopefully secure a better future for the cash strapped Museum School. The Museum School, which was founded in 1876 as the educational division of the Museum of Fine Arts, has been operating in partnership with Tufts University since 1944. Students at the Museum School will now have a much more rounded education in the liberal arts.

Both the merger of Berklee College with the Boston Conservatory and the transfer of the Museum School to Tufts University are great news in Boston, as these institutions will create more cross pollination within the arts in the city.

Header Image via Wikimedia Commons User: Eevensen

New Project: An Exhibit on Printmaking at the Cambridge Center

Vinicius de Aguiar Sanchez, A Blackhole, 2015 (1)

Vinicius Sanchez, “A Black Hole, 2015” Image Courtesy of the Artist

Months before I left my position at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education, I agreed to organize a small show of works by the Center’s printmaking faculty. The show, Push/Pull: Recent Work from Printmaking Faculty will be on view January 11 – March 11, 2016 at 42 Brattle Street in Harvard Square The exhibit features six artists who live and work in the Greater Boston-area and teach printmaking at the Center. The exhibit will highlight recent work made by artists Jason Asselin, Selma Bromberg, Janet Campbell, Susan Paladino, Susan Rice and Vinicius Sanchez

The Center’s faculty has been exploring many printmaking techniques not only through their teaching at the Center, but also through their own personal practice. On view will be the faculty’s most recent work which include drawings, silkscreens, woodcuts, encaustic collagraphs, monotypes and etchings.

An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday January 28, from 5:30-7:30pm and an artist talk is scheduled for Wednesday February 03, at 11:00AM.

As you’ve seen, I have conducted interviews for The Evolving Critic with all participating artists, in an effort to document the exhibition and bring attention to the excellent work CCAE’s printmaking faculty has been making.

About the Artists:

Jason Asselin:
Jason Asselin holds a BFA in printmaking from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA and a MFA in Print Media from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI. His works has been exhibited at many venues, including Chandler Gallery in Cambridge, Seven Gates Gallery, Traina Center for the Arts at Clark University, artSpace in New Haven, CT and most recently at the Wifinsky Gallery at Salem State University. “You Are Here” Asselin’s public art work can be seen in the mezzanine of the World Trade Center Silver Line stop of the MBTA. Jason teaches at Salem State University and has taught silkscreen for beginners class since 2014. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Jason Asselin here:

Selma Bromberg:
Selma Bromberg has been teaching printmaking at the Cambridge Center since 1969. Selma attended Smith College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bromberg’s work is found in many collections, including the Harvard Art Museums (Fogg Museum), Worcester Art Museum, Boston Public Library, Smith College Library and in other numerous public and private art collections throughout the country. Selma has exhibited both nationally and internationally including at the Boston Public Library, Bromfield Gallery, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Danforth Museum, Fuller Art Museum, the New York Society of Etchers. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Selma Bromberg here:

 Janet Burns Campbell:
Janet Burns Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and a master’s degree in English Literature from Tufts University. Janet has exhibited her work at many venues, including the Somerville Public Library, The Hills School in Belmont, MA, the Cambridge Art Association and at Somerville Open Studios. Janet teaches the gelatin monotype class at the Cambridge Center. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Janet Campbell here:

Susan Paladino:
Susan Paladino studied at the Art Students League of New York, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Susan has exhibited her work nationally at many venues including at the Fitchburg Art Museum, Provincetown Art Association, the Drawing Room in Portland, Maine and the Cambridge Art Association. Susan teaches encaustic collagraph and experimental monoprint and monotype at the Cambridge Center. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Susan Paladino here:

Susan Rice:
Susan Rice is an illustrator and printmaker and holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has served on the board of the Somerville Arts Council and oversaw Somerville Art Beat—an outdoor arts festival in Davis Square as well as the Windows Art Project, one of the largest public art projects in the Boston-area. Susan has exhibited her work at many venues, including the Somerville Arts Council, Arlington Center for the Arts and the Nave Gallery. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Susan Rice here:

Vinicius Sanchez:
Vinicius Sanchez is a 2011 graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work has been exhibited in many venues and most recently showed his short film “After Kepler” in the SciEx: Extreme Science Film Festival at the MIT Museum in Cambridge. Vinicius Sanchez teaches the silkscreen as well as woodblock classes at the Center. For more information, please see Anulfo’s interview with Vinicius Sanchez here:

A nonprofit organization founded as the Cambridge Social Union in 1870—then in 1938—the organization officially became the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. The Cambridge Center has consistently offered the most diverse menu of courses to adults in Cambridge and surrounding areas. Nestled in two historic buildings – the William Brattle House (1727) and the Blacksmith House (1808), both houses are being preserved by the Center as living museums and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit:

The Peabody Essex Museum Announces A New Exhibition Co-Organized with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam


Plaque. Delft, The Netherlands, 1670–1690. Tin-glazed earthenware (faience). 25 × 36 1/4 inches (63.5 × 92 cm). Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Purchased with the support of the Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het Rijksmuseum, BK-1971-117 Courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Following in the footsteps of its critically acclaimed 2011 exhibit Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection, the Peabody Essex Museum announced on December 1 its new exhibit, Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age, a collaboration with the Rijksmuseum. On view starting February 27, 2016, the exhibit will feature 200 works ranging from paintings, textiles, ceramics, silver, furniture, books and many other objects that illustrate the influence of Asia on Dutch culture in the 17th century. The Peabody Essex Museum will be the only North American venue for this exhibit, highlighting among its many objects from their world-renowned collection of Asian Export Art, masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum as well as from private collections throughout the Netherlands, Europe and the United States.

Asia in Amsterdam follows what seems to be a trend of exhibits seeking to investigate the influence of Asia on western cultures. For example, currently on view until February 15, 2016 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, an exhibit that traces that impact of Asia through objects produced in the colonial Americas. At the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Looking East: How Japan Inspired  Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists looks at the burst of creativity that emerged as a result of the international trade among Japan and other nations in the 1850s.

If past Dutch and Flemish art exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum are any indication of how exquisite and beautifully installed this exhibit promises to be, Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age is most definitely not to be missed.