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'Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion' at the RISD Museum
What does it mean to be a man? That's the question at the heart of this smart, sumptuous exhibit — one of the best shows in the region this year.
The Bruce High Quality Foundation at Brown
Parked out front of Brown University's gray modernist Granoff Center on a recent sunny morning were one of those 15-foot-tall inflatable rats that unions install in front of businesses they're protesting and a limousine sloppily painted to resemble a yellow and black school bus.
Jacqueline Frole's 'Family Room' at AS220; J.A. Segal at Craftland
Among the handsome Washington Street storefronts of AS220's renovated Mercantile Block building, with their neo-old-timey signs, is the residents' entrance to the building. It is against AS220's religion to leave any space empty that can be filled with art. So the lobby is the AS220 Resident Gallery, which occupants of the building take turns filling with their stuff.
Neal Walsh and Scott Lapham at 186 Carpenter
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Providence art scene is how the city itself has been such a rich subject. A decade ago, the city became a galvanizing topic as artists fought to protect the old mills that served as their homes and studios from demolition — with mixed success. But lately, the community's industrial architecture itself has attracted artists' attention.
Wafaa Bilal and Daniel Heyman at Brown's Bell Gallery
From the ruins of the Iraq war emerges Wafaa Bilal's "The Ashes Series" and Daniel Heyman's "I Am Sorry It Is So Difficult To Start," on view at Brown University's Bell Gallery.
'Reverse Cowgirl' at Yellow Peril Gallery
If Batman's dark latex costume-armor actually indicated his dark sexual appetites, Curtis Aric's Fluffer might be the motorcycle he'd ride — or at least keep in the Batcave for quiet kinky nights in.
Corey Grayhorse's 'Artificial Memories' at Craftland
"It's like getting to run away into a photograph," Corey Grayhorse tells me of her photos. "If I built it I could go there."
Jessica Thurber, Sarah Beck, Thomas Morrissey at AS220
There are certain subjects like photos of gruesome death or cute puppies or disembodied vulvas where criticism struggles to keep up with the awesome force of the pictures.
Sometimes I think if Richard Goulis had lived in New York or Los Angeles he'd be in the art history books, instead of being a guy from Providence whom we cherish for making our town a bit more crazy and dangerous and wondrous.
There's no denying that Los Angeles painter Ed Ruscha is one of the preeminent artists of the past half-century. But do I have to like him?
A few years back, Lisa Nilsson was rummaging though a junk shop when she found a quilled crucifix.
The pleasure of patterns
At heart, "The Conditions Were Just Right" at World's Fair at Machines With Magnets (400 Main St, Pawtucket, through March 31) is about the subtle pleasures of geometry.
Everything is happy in Frank Casazza's murals and graphics.
The Soundsuits by Chicagoan Nick Cave (not the rock star) are the dazzling mutant offspring of disco, Bigfoot, Teletubbies, African and Caribbean carnival costumes, troll dolls, flea markets, Wookiees, and cheerleader pompons.
A wondrous window
Giant moths hover over the beacon atop the art deco Superman Building (okay, the Bank of America Building) in Chris Buzelli's dreamy painting for a poster advertising the national ICON Illustration Conference that was held in Providence last June.
A curious blend
"2013 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition," the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts' annual roundup of winners of the agency's $5000 and $1000 grants, is a curious experience.
In Barry McGee's art, you'll find traces of influences lifted from thrift stores, tramp art, skating, punk, surfing, and Bay Area murals and psychedelia.
"You could do a comic about it," a friend tells Gabrielle Bell in one of her comics.
"There are so many interesting things in the world, and you think, 'How am I ever going to compete with that?' " Amalia Pica said at an opening-night talk for her exhibition at MIT's List Visual Art Center.
Objects of desire
The ink drawings and watercolors of Jen Corace, a Providence artist and illustrator as well as one of the folks behind Craftland, often depict worlds of fairy tale adventure.
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