Arts This Week: ICA exhibit spotlights how a lack of affordable studio space in Boston hurts artists – wgbh.org

Posted: November 19, 2021 at 6:20 pm

This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen recommends an exhibit that supported artists through the pandemic, a look at two New England artist colonies and a comedy that takes on race in Boston.

Eben Haines, born and raised in Boston, made a splash over the last year, winning the prestigious ICA Foster Prize in recognition of his Shelter In Place gallery. The tiny space allowed artists to make miniature versions of work to share with audiences during the pandemic. As Bowen explained, the gallery, made of found materials, is a commentary on how artists are losing work space due to the lack of affordable housing and studio space in the city.

Im trying to show these illusions that we already believe in the way housing is supposed to work, Haines told Bowen. But then you can see as it breaks down the way that this furniture kind of gets sucked into the walls and things like that, and its trying to break up this common idea.

Courtesy of Cape Ann Museum

Around the rustic harbors of Rockport and Gloucester in Cape Ann and, 100 miles up the Maine coast, on Monhegan Island, communities of artists gathered to exchange ideas. Together, they formed a picture of stony isolation in the wake of the Civil War, Bowen says. The Cape Ann Museum exhibit looks at 20th-century artists who made their way back and forth between the two communities.

Cape Ann Museum Director Oliver Barker says the locations inspired artists in a period when artists were searching for their own unique American voice. And I think its perhaps why they were drawn to these two rugged landscapes to try and encapsulate that that new sense of American identity.

Nile Scott Studios

Aziza Barnes comedy is a really riotous, raucous show, about three Black women in a personal crisis of some kind a cancer scare, a cheating boyfriend and grief from losing a parent. To put it behind them, they come together for a night out on the town. But as the night unfolds, they are faced with the realities of being Black women in Boston, experiencing microaggressions, violence and not being seen. Bowen praised the incredible, visceral themes that play out during the journey, that is filled with raw emotions.

Have you visited Cape Ann or Monhegan Island? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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Arts This Week: ICA exhibit spotlights how a lack of affordable studio space in Boston hurts artists - wgbh.org

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