Arts This Week: 'Fog x FLO,' 'Yayoi Kusama,' 'Genius at Play' - Canadanewsmedia
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Arts This Week: 'Fog x FLO,' 'Yayoi Kusama,' 'Genius at Play'

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This week, Jared Bowen explores art in the great outdoors with “Fog x FLO” presented by Boston’s Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Yayoi Kusama’s “Where the Lights in My Heart Go” at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Then, it’s off to the Boston Ballet for “Genius at Play.”

“Fog x FLO,” on view at five locations across Boston’s Emerald Necklace parks through October 31, 2018

Fog rolls through the Arnold Arboretum in “Fog x Hill,” one of five fog sculptures across Boston’s Emerald Necklace parks
Melissa Ostrow, courtesy of the Emerald Neckalce Conservancy

To celebrate 20 years as stewards of the park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy presents “Fog x FLO,” a series of “fog sculptures” by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya. On view at five locations throughout the Emerald Necklace parks, “Fog x FLO” is the first series of simultaneous installations of fog sculptures in Nakaya’s 50-year career. “She thought for a while in the 1950s and 60s how she could create a work of art that is both composing and decomposing and appearing and disappearing at the same time,” says curator Jen Mergel, “and it occurred to her, that’s what a cloud does.” Using a patented nozzle and sprinkler system, the artist times each sculpture to appear and interact with the surrounding environment in what she calls “a conversation with nature.”

“Yayoi Kusama: Where the Lights in My Heart Go,” on view at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum through October 28 (off view October 1 through October 18, reopening on October 19)

Yayoi Kusama: Where the Lights in My Heart Go

The interior of Yayoi Kusama’s “Where the Lights in My Heart Go”
Clements Photography and Design, courtesy of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

For the first time in the greater Boston area, one of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirror Rooms” is on display at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. “Where the Lights in My Heart Go” is a 10’ x 10’ stainless steel, mirrored box perforated with a series of small holes that give those who enter the dazzling impression of stepping into an infinite void. Often described as the “Princess of Polka Dots,” Kusama has created works that focus on themes of eternity and the cosmos for almost 70 years. “It takes you outside of yourself,” says Executive Director of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum John Ravenal. “She calls it self-obliteration. Which is really both very personal and … philosophical.” Created in 2016, this is also the first “Infinity Mirror Room” to exclusively utilize natural light to create an experience of infinite dots.

“Genius at Play,” presented by Boston Ballet through September 16

Genius at Play

James Whiteside, Paul Craig, and Isaac Akiba in Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free”
Gene Schiavone, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet opens a new season with “Genius at Play.” Celebrating the centennial of choreographer and dancer Jerome Robbins’ birth, the program spans Robbins’ 61-year career. It begins with his second ever choreographed ballet, “Interplay,” set to the music of Morton Gould’s “American Concertette,” highlighting his youthful and energetic choreography from the 1940s. Following “Interplay” is Robbins’ first collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on “Fancy Free,” which inspired the musical “On The Town.” The evening concludes with the Boston Ballet premiere of “Glass Pieces,” one of the last ballets Robbins choreographed, featuring 42 dancers moving intricately to the repetitive structure of Philip Glass’ music.

What outdoor experiences are fueling your creative side? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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Norfolk Arts Centre has new curator

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Roberta Grosland


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The Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe has a new curator.

She’s Roberta Grosland, former curator of the collection at the Woodstock Art Gallery.

Grosland’s first day on the job is next Monday. She fills a position that became vacant in February when Deirdre Chisholm, former executive director of the arts centre, left Norfolk after nearly 10 years.

Norfolk’s heritage and culture division advertised for the position in August. Grosland was interested, in part, because she has family in Norfolk and is familiar with the county.

Grosland has worked in the art and heritage field for the past 35 years. Past postings include a student internship at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, home to one of the largest assortments of art by Canada’s Group of Seven.

“I’ve always been interested in the arts,” Grosland said Thursday. “My mother always took me to galleries and museums when I was little. I took a BA in art history at the University of Toronto and then did a master’s of art history.”

Grosland was attached to the art gallery in Woodstock for 10 years before accepting the position in Simcoe.

After Chisholm departed last winter, Norfolk senior staff speculated that her replacement might be asked to perform double duty as manager of the Norfolk archives at the Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe.

Norfolk County assumed responsibility for the museum earlier this year after the Norfolk Historical Society asked for help following a period of financial distress.

As it happens, Grosland’s formal responsibilities will be restricted to the arts centre. However, Grosland notes that arts centre staff are part of a team that includes other heritage and culture employees at facilities across the county. She will help out in circumstances where her skills are needed.

“We all hope to work together and share skill sets,” Grosland said. “If they need arts expertise, I’ll definitely be there for them. There will be sharing amongst ourselves. Exciting, good things can come of that.”

Grosland lives in Kitchener. She and her husband haven’t decided whether to move to Norfolk. Grosland noted, however, that her daughter has been forwarding advertisements for attractive homes in the local area whenever they present themselves.

“I’ll be commuting to start,” Grosland said. “But who knows what will happen.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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Hockney painting breaks auction record for living artist

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A celebrated painting by British artist David Hockney has been sold at Christie’s in New York for just over $90m (£70m) – an auction record for a work by a living artist.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) had been forecast to fetch $80m.

It sold following a 10-minute battle between two rival bidders via telephone, after the price passed $70m.

The sale eclipsed the previous record held by US artist Jeff Koons.

His stainless steel Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58m in 2013.

The packed sales room in New York broke into applause when the hammer fell, with the buyer’s premium and commission taking the final price to $90.3m.

Christie’s did not name either the seller or the successful bidder.

The Hockney work was painted in 1972 and is one of the Yorkshire artist’s most recognisable works.

The composition of the two figures began as two separate photographs on the artist’s studio floor and was completed in time for an exhibition at New York’s André Emmerich Gallery in 1972.

Christie’s described it as “one of the great masterpieces of the modern era”.

Earlier this year, another of the 81-year-old’s paintings sold for $28.5m – a personal auction record for the artist.

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10 of the many trans artists you should be more than aware of any week of the year

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Queeries is a weekly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that queries LGBTQ art, culture and/or identity through a personal lens.

November is Transgender Awareness Month, with this specific week designated as Transgender Awareness Week. And frankly, in terms of support from cis folks in the Canadian queer art community, the week got off to a deeply discouraging start. Sky Gilbert — one of the founders of Toronto queer theatre company Buddies in Bad Times — decided to continue to devote space on his blog to attack trans author, filmmaker, musician and visual artist Vivek Shraya.

It's yet another reminder of the prejudices trans people face even within the LGBTQ community. I'll let these Twitter threads by Jake Pyne and Gwen Benaway articulate how remarkably problematic Gilbert's words are, and devote the rest of the space of this week's column to what we as true cisgender allies should be doing on Transgender Awareness Week, and every week for that matter: shutting up and letting trans people speak for themselves. So may I direct your attention to 10 artists who are among the wonderful trans voices we've had the privilege of featuring here at CBC Arts, including Ms. Shraya herself.

Enza Anderson (CBC Arts)

Part of CBC Arts' Queer (Self) Portraits series, Enza Anderson is a Toronto trailblazer whose column "The Hot Ticket by Enza Supermodel" ran in Metro Toronto, Canada's most widely circulated free newspaper from 2004-2010. Watch her talk openly about the barriers she's faced on this journey of both professional growth and self-discovery. She says: "If I'm going to live, I have to function daily like everyone else." Watch her Queer (Self) Portraits episode here.

Gwen Benaway. (Gwen Benaway)

Gwen Benaway is a trans Annishinabe/Mètis poet and writer who has written numerous wonderful essays and articles for CBC Arts, including this piece on the importance of finding trans joy just earlier this week. "The most dangerous part of living with transphobia is not just its potential to kill me — either from violent attack or less direct forms such as homelessness, unemployment or a lack of access to healthcare — but its ability to limit my joy," she writes in the piece. "I believe in joy as a fundamental part of what it means to be human. In our pleasures and happiness, we find freedom from the everyday oppressions of our lives." You can read more of Gwen's words here and here and here

Cassils. (Cassils)

In 2016, CBC Arts published a short documentary on Canadian performance artist, body builder and personal trainer Cassils, who underwent intense training and fight choreography to develop a graphic and disturbing show about socio-political issues. We follow them as they bring the show to The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and you can learn more about what they're up to now here.

Chase Joynt. (David Hawe)

Filmmaker and writer Chase Joynt penned this essay for CBC Arts, reflecting on his journey to publish his first book, You Only Live Twice. "The project began as a private correspondence with my friend Mike Hoolboom, a prolific experimental filmmaker," he says. "For years, we exchanged stories about transitions: mine from female to male and Mike's from near-dead to alive. For us, the project was never a task of linear, exhaustive truth-telling but rather an aesthetic engagement with the limits and potentials of personal memory." Learn more about Joynt's work here.

Chanty Marostica. (Ryan Dillon)

In 2018, trans comedian Chanty Marostica's career has skyrocketed. They became the first trans comedian to have a solo show at Just For Laughs Toronto and won Sirius XM's Canada's Top Comic competition, all well in the midst of transitioning. All the more, this rise has happened in part because of how Marostica decided to take matters into their own hands and reinvent the LGBTQ comedy landscape in Toronto so that they and other queer and trans folks could get the opportunities they deserve. Read all about their remarkably inspiring story here.

Casey Plett. (James L/Zero Heat Photography)

Award-winning writer Casey Plett has blessed CBC Arts readers with her words a few times, including this essay about how to write a transgender character and this piece calling for more intimacy in works from marginalized writers. Both are must reads, as is this "artist's guide" to the city of Windsor, Ont. she wrote for us this past summer.  Learn about Casey and her latest book Little Fishhere

Heath V. Salazar in drag as Gay Jesus. (CBC Arts)

Dora Award-winning trans Latinx writer and performer Heath V. Salazar was fabulously the focus of an episode of the CBC Arts docuseries Canada's a Drag as their drag king alter ego Gay Jesus. "A lot of my pieces are very political," Salazar told us in that episode. "So what I really want to do with it is share with people that if this person, theoretically, lived and was able to do all this good and spread all this love, that we are each made of that same matter." That work extends well beyond Gay Jesus, including most recently performing in the "gloriously frank" Toronto staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Wolves. Watch their Canada's a Drag episode here.

Vivek Shraya. (Tanja-Tiziana/vivekshraya.com)

"Getting to take up space as a brown, bi, trans person feels like an amazing and wonderful gift," Vivek Shraya told us in this 2016 short documentary CBC Arts produced in honour of her being one of that year's Grand Marshals of Pride Toronto. And it was the first of many occasions we'd showcase Shraya's multi-faceted artistry, including this piece a year later in which Shraya talked about "I want to kill myself," a short film she released on her 36th birthday to shed a vital light on mental health. Learn all about the many, many ways to explore Shraya's work on her website.

Rowan Sky. (Courtesy)

Multidisciplinary artist, activist and educator Rowan Sky wrote a piece for CBC Arts last summer reflecting on how poetry about Indigenous connection to our land gave them strength through their gender transition. "Wherever I am in the world and on my gender journey, my connections to land, water and community give me strength and are a continual source of reflection," Sky writes. "I pour out these reflections in my writing." Read the whole piece here.

Syrus Marcus Ware. (Jalani Morgan/Black Lives Matter TO)

Also included in our Queer (Self) Portraits series was visual artist, activist and scholar Syrus Marcus Ware. "In addition to pulling down walls, we also have to be planting the seeds," Ware says in the video. "All of my work has been about watering the seeds." Learn all about that work by both watching that video, reading his essay on madness and Blackness and exploring his website, which details the extraordinary breath of his work across so many different platforms.

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