Welcome to ArtsGazing

Looking at Art in Real Life Edition

Brian Clarke, Flowers for Zaha, 2016. Photo by Jenna Bascom

As it probably is for most people, picking up where we left off in March is going slower than we like, mostly due to assessing our own comfort level when it comes to travelling around town and being in crowds, socially distant or not. We’ve had to check our spontaneity at the door; reserving entry times for galleries and museums, follow signage in exhibits for traffic and crowd control, and even think twice about using the restrooms (although they’re so clean now, we don’t worry about it as much as we did in the past). The care and protocols in place are comprehensive, followed by staff and patrons without too much fuss, which makes it easier to be there. Every arts institution and business in New York City is working so hard to make people feel safe, and visitors appreciate it.

Our first stop on our return to the arts was Poster House to see their two shows The Sleeping Giant: Posters & The Chinese Economy and The Swiss Grid. As always, the images were displayed with style and the history engagingly explained. Both exhibits are on until February 14, 2021 and we highly recommend a visit to this newest of NYC’s museums.

Next on our list was the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibit American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection on now through January 3, 2021. This multi-room extravaganza of cultural backgrounds, materials, styles, and techniques is a joy to wander through, with each piece’s story carefully described. Looking at the creativity of America is the perfect pick-me-up after months of shutdown and one we desperately needed.

And just last week we were at the Museum of Arts and Design to see their newly opened show Brian Clarke: The Art of Light. Although known primarily for innovative stained-glass techniques and designs in buildings around the world, Clarke is also a noted artist who works in media ranging from painting to textile. The exhibit at MAD is just a small selection of the last twenty years of Clarke’s output, but it’s fascinating to see his drawings on paper and lead slabs, and the amazing variety of stained glass panels displayed in a folding screen format – a way to make an old craft relevant for today’s tastes. Read our review to learn more about this artist and his work.

In our Gallery Shows section, we highlight the Garth Green Gallery’s show James Luna: Take a Picture with a Real Indian. This exhibit was supposed to open in early spring but was pushed to the fall season. Luna’s practice was a mix of performance art and other media, documenting and subtly confronting American’s subtle and overt racist behaviors towards Native peoples. Created over a span of nearly thirty years, these works continue to push against the injustices that are still present today.