NORTH ADAMS, Massachusetts — Everything is bigger in Texas: the roads, the suburbs, the T-bone steaks, the ten-gallon hats, and certainly the sky. The Texas sky seems to go on and on, an uncanny hue of blue, pierced only by the white-hot nexus of the unrelenting sun. Indeed, waxing poetic with reflections of the human gaze upon the heavens is, in some ways, what James Turrell’s work is all about. His Skyspace series in particular gives the viewer a chance at intimacy with a clear view of the celestial canvas.
I teach drawing, and I often have people tell me that they can’t draw, that they couldn’t even draw a stick figure. And so I ask them how they know that. And they say, “Yeah, I tried it and it looked like crap.” The truth of the matter is that art is not so much the way things look, but a way of looking at things.
At what point does a paying customer become a collaborator? Whether it’s a down-home Fish Fry Truck or a levitating dinner table staffed by mythological creatures, viewers play an integral role in Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw’s lavish performances.
After living through two wars and emigrating from his native Iraq, Ahmed Alsoudani began his study of art in the U.S. shortly before the events of 9/11. Talk about timing. To say this history has influenced his work would be an understatement — it may well be its defining characteristic.
NORTH ADAMS, Massachusetts — Framed on the faux-log-cabin wall of Kent Monkman’s piece “Two Kindred Spirits” (which depicts the American western characters of Tonto and the Lone Ranger as lovers in a sort of Horatio/Hamlet life-sized diorama death scene) is a hand-embroidered phrase: “The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name.” This Oscar Wildean quotation also encapsulates the ever-nuanced Canada/U.S. relationship, and may give us a clue as to what’s really up with our neighbor to the north.