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Beyond Boston: 6 Summer Exhibits Around New England

Summer is the moment to take off for distant regions that are a little less appealing when 3 feet of snow blanket the ground.

This summer, if you’re planning a jaunt to New York, Maine, Cape Cod or Vermont, why not include an artistic detour to museums and art unknown?

What makes each of our suggested destinations worth consideration is the promise of adventure along the way. Not only will you enjoy art once you arrive, but you may find the journey a pleasure, too.

Here are six summer exhibits that are worth the drive:

Renato Leotta
The Magazzino Italian Art Foundation, New York

Through June 12

Located in Cold Spring, Magazzino is the coolest new museum you’ve probably never heard of. Opened in 2017, and devoted to Italian postwar and contemporary art, Magazzino (whose name means warehouse in Italian) offers 20,000 square feet of cutting edge exhibits under the direction of Vittorio Calabrese. This summer, the museum presents new site-specific work by Renato Leotta. The two-part exhibition — part of the work is being shown at Casa Italiana in New York City — draws inspiration from the coastlines of Long Island, Sicily and Portugal, as well as the landscapes of Cold Spring and the Hudson River. Working across media, including sculpture, photography, textile and film, Leotta focuses on how the sea, sky and land bring together actual physical environments and those landscapes that exist only in our imaginations.

Exhibition view of "Renato Leotta" at NYU's Casa Italiana Zerilli - Marimò. (Courtesy Alexa Hoyer/Magazzino Italian Art)
Exhibition view of "Renato Leotta" at NYU's Casa Italiana Zerilli - Marimò. (Courtesy Alexa Hoyer/Magazzino Italian Art)

Harmony Hammond
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut

Through Sept. 15

Harmony Hammond is an artist, feminist and lesbian scholar, curator and author who has walked her own path in art, uniting minimalism and post-minimalism while exploring marginalized craft traditions. She combines scavenged textiles, fabric, burlap, rope, straw and other found materials with traditional oil and acrylic paint, graphite and watercolor. Now, a career’s worth of her work is on view in “Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art.” Spanning 1971 to 2018, the exhibition includes not only her earliest painted sculptures but her mixed-media and monumental “installational” paintings of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as her encrusted “near monochromes.” The exhibit also includes works on paper and ephemera, as well as some of her writing. Her punctured, strapped and patched paintings exude a socially-aware, muscular energy.

An installation view of Harmony Hammond's exhibit at the Aldrich. (Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates/Jason Mandella)
An installation view of Harmony Hammond's exhibit at the Aldrich. (Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates/Jason Mandella)

'Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives'
Southern Vermont Arts Center, Vermont

Aug. 17 - Oct. 20

Monoprints of yarn balls, lush fantastical landscapes and colorful abstracts are what’s on offer in this exhibition, curated by artist and writer Ric Kasini Kadour. Kadour has been writing about Vermont art for two decades, and is the editor of Vermont Art Guide, and is curator of Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. For “Contemporary American Regionalism,” he uses the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s permanent collection to take a regional perspective. Also at the Center, nestled in the Green Mountain National Forest, is “Unusual Threads: Stitching Together the Future of Fashion” on view through June 23 and “Everything is Still,” featuring photographers working in motion picture film, on view June 29-Aug. 11.


'To Survive on This Shore'
Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Cape Cod

Through June 30

Photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled across the United States for more than five years, looking for those living at the complex intersection of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class and geographic location. They found a largely underrepresented group of older transgender adults who had struggled and conquered in a country that had often spurned them. “To Survive on This Shore” presents their stories as a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite what can seem to be insurmountable odds.

"Caprice, 55, Chicago, IL, 2015" from the exhibition "To Survive on This Shore," by Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre. (Courtesy Provincetown Art Association and Museum)
"Caprice, 55, Chicago, IL, 2015" from the exhibition "To Survive on This Shore," by Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre. (Courtesy Provincetown Art Association and Museum)

'In the Vanguard: Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1950-1969'
Portland Museum of Art, Maine

Through Sept. 8

Founded in 1950, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts played a central role in American art and craft. “In the Vanguard” explores how the experimental school in rural Maine transformed art, craft, and design in the 20th century, helping to define the aesthetics of the nation’s counterculture. Artists who formed part of the school — including Anni Albers, Dale Chihuly, Jack Lenor Larsen and Toshiko Takaezu — broke new ground in textiles, glassblowing, furniture making and pottery. This exhibits is one of the first major museum shows focusing solely on this school, recharacterizing the narrative of midcentury art and craft in America.

Marcianne Mapel in the original main building of the Liberty campus with assorted wares, 1954. (Courtesy Haystack Mountain School of Crafts)
Marcianne Mapel in the original main building of the Liberty campus with assorted wares, 1954. (Courtesy Haystack Mountain School of Crafts)

'Raid the Icebox Now'
RISD Museum, Rhode Island

Aug. 23 - Dec. 27, 2020

Fifty years ago, there was the landmark “Raid the Icebox I with Andy Warhol” (1970). The show presented entire sections of objects as they appeared in storage, with little or no connoisseurial regard for their condition, authenticity, or art historical status. It remains one of the most celebrated and subversive exhibitions in contemporary art history. Now, the Rhode Island School of Design celebrates the 50th anniversary of that show with “Raid the Icebox Now,” asking contemporary artists and designers to create new bodies of work using the museum as a site for critical, creative production and presentation. Employing museum galleries as well as digital platforms and spaces beyond museum walls, artists Pablo Bronstein, Nicole Eisenman, Pablo Helguera, Beth Katleman, Simone Leigh, Adam Pendleton, Sebastian Ruth, Paul Scott and Triple Canopy question dominant narratives and highlight the strengths and idiosyncrasies of the museum’s collection.

"Raid the Icebox I with Andy Warhol," 1970. (Courtesy RISD Museum)
"Raid the Icebox I with Andy Warhol," 1970. (Courtesy RISD Museum)

Related:

Pamela Reynolds Twitter Visual Arts Writer
Pamela Reynolds is a writer and a visual artist. She was a feature writer and editor at The Boston Globe for more than a decade.

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