We've all been to exhibitions that didn't live up to their hype. For instance, the Herb Ritts solo exhibition at the Boston MFA in 1996 (touted by the museum as one of its most popular) comes to mind as a major debacle to this photographer. Way too much hype with way too little substance. Much more fulfilling is the show that's a "sleeper", when the location isn't particularly prestigious or when there isn't so much built up about it, but when the work transcends the venue. Especially if you discover it, when if you go you realize this is the real deal, that the work hanging on the walls is exceptional and that the show is far more than the exhibition's composite parts, when there is a curatorial whole and that you finish provoked, stimulated, maybe a little awed and wishing there was more.
[Photo]gogues: New England, a show that opened this week downtown in Boston at Lafayette Center along a hallway connecting Macy's to a hotel, is just that. This is a show that takes your breath away with its richness, diversity and sheer beauty. The show is the third time curators Paula Tognarelli and Frances Jakubek from the Griffin Museum have pulled together works by regional teachers of photography and it is a stunning testimony to the vibrancy of the discipline. They have done a commendable job in the face of a wealth of riches.
I wish I had room here to highlight each artist but perhaps I can provide you with enough to convince you to go see this show. Disclaimer: I have three pieces in the show. My modest contribution are aerial photographs taken above Martha's Vineyard in 2012. It is an honor to have my work alongside such wonderful art.
The artists whose works are represented in [Photo]gogues are:
Lindsay Beal, RI College:
Jesseca Ferguson, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Bill Franson, NE School of Photography:
Daniel Mosher Long, Manchester Community College
Sarah Malakoff, U. of Massachuesetts, Dartmouth:
S. Billie Mandle, Hampshire College
Neal Rantoul, Northeastern University
Thad Russell, RI School of Art and Design
Matthew Swarts, Communit College of RI:
Mara Trachtenberg, Community College of RI
The exhibition is part of this year's Flash Forward Festival.
Descriptive terms for the work in the show?
Diverse, moving, eclectic, elegiac, abstract, forceful, tender, iconic, strong, straight, figurative, disturbing, etc. I wish I was better with language as this list could go on and on.
I also loved the catalog. I assume you can track it down through the Griffin Museum. It is $20 and worth it.
The way to do this is to head for the downtown Macy's. There is a parking garage underneath but watch out as it is expensive. Once in Macy's head for men's shoes (when was the last time you got directions to a show and it involved going to men's shoes in a department store?) and look for the ramp. Go up it and you are at the show.
The exhibition is up through May 15 so go soon as, before you know it, it will be gone.
It may a take little more effort to get to [Photo]gogues than some other shows but I promise it'll be worth it.