Body Partsâ€”A Self-Portrait by John Coplans. 'For weeks [after 9/11], when the wind blew in my direction, I could smell fumes in my studio and in my bedroom. The fumes constantly seeped in; the smell reminded me of the burning of a body at a Hindu funeral pyre'. Cerith Wyn Evans: Thoughts unsaid, now forgotten... Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans' new site-specific projects explore the complex relationships between image and word, poetry and science, divination and earthly communication, and spoken and written language. Yael Bartana: Three Works. This solo exhibition by Israeli artist includes 3 short works, When Adar Enters (2004), Kings of the Hill (2003), and Ad De'lo Yoda (2003).
Body Partsâ€”A Self-Portrait by John Coplans
For weeks [after 9/11], when the wind blew in my direction, I could smell fumes in my studio and in my bedroom. The fumes constantly seeped in; the smell reminded me of the burning of a body at a Hindu funeral pyre. A vast number of bodies were being roasted in the heart of the burning debris. Without consciously connecting the disaster to what I was photographing, I had started making images of my arms and legs and then collaging a pair of them together to make one image. After I had made four such images, I realized the connection when it was announced in the news that workmen were digging up debris and constantly finding human body parts.
I found myself quite intuitively making some photos that I recognized with considerable excitement as reflecting the grotesque. However, no sooner had I made four of them than, to my consternation, I suffered a severe attack of macular degeneration in my one good eye and could no longer see properly. Perhaps with the aid of a magnifying glass, I could see any Polaroids we could shoot and I could continue the series, which is what happened, and I was able to continue workingâ€¦. Of course, we do not see with our eyes, but with our minds.
The MIT List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Body Partsâ€”A Self-Portrait by John Coplans, which will be on view from October 7 through December 31, 2004. The exhibition, organized by Charles Stainback, former director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, and Jane Farver, Director of the LVAC, consists of powerful black-and-white images taken by John Coplans of his own aging body. This exhibition showcases the final series of 26 large photographs completed before the artistâ€™s death in August 2003. The opening reception will be on Thursday, October 7 from 5:30 to 7:30PM.
An accompanying catalogue, Body Partsâ€”A Self-Portrait by John Coplans, includes â€œPrologueâ€ by John Coplans, â€œA Conversationâ€ between Jeanâ€“FranÃ§ois ChÃ©vrier, professor, AcadÃ©mie des Beaux-Arts, Paris and Coplans, and black-and-white photographs in the exhibition. Published by Powerhouse Books, the catalogue is available at the LVAC for $25.
A noted art critic and curator for most of his career, Coplans abandoned his criticism and curatorial work in 1980 to become, at age 60, a much-exhibited and almost immediately successful photographer. Intent on an unusual process of self-investigation and cultural reflection, he told Art Journal in a 1990 interview that â€œthe principal thing is the question of how our culture views age: that old is ugly.â€
Coplansâ€™s work reveals the relentless tectonics of physical aging: the wrinkles and sags, hairlessness, and varicose veins. But the result is an eerily beautiful, touching, and monumental landscape made up of calves, arms, torso, hips, and hands, dramatically lit and emotionally larger than life. â€œI donâ€™t really deal with old age per se,â€ Coplans said. â€œItâ€™s only a condition Iâ€™m in that I have to make use of the best I can.â€
About the artist
Born in London, England, in 1920, John Coplans grew up in South Africa and lived an adventurous life. As Mussolini and Hitler rose to power in Europe, Coplans dropped out of high school and spent eight years in the military. He trained as a Royal Air Force fighter pilot in 1938, then joined the British army for service in Kenya, Burma, and Ethiopia, where he learned Swahili and saw combat. After the war, as a painter and admirer of American abstract expressionist and abstract styles, he migrated to the United States, traded some paintings for a used car, and drove cross-country to San Francisco. There he co-founded Artforum in 1962, and during the mid-sixties, organized exhibitions at the University of California, Irvine, and the Pasadena Art Museum (now the Norton Simon Museum), where he showed work by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, and others on the outer edges of new art. During a late 1970â€™s stint at the Akron Art Museum, he started the art magazine Dialogue. He authored books on CÃ©zanneâ€™s watercolors, the New York photographer Weegee, and American artists Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.
When he returned to making art in 1980, Coplans settled in New York and developed a career not in painting but in photography, making what one critic called â€œmercilessly beautiful photographs of his self-effaced self.â€ He had his first solo show within a year, followed by solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee de la Veille Charite, Marseille; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Museum Boymans-van Beuningan, Rotterdam; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York.
Outspoken and possessed of a colorful personality, Coplans was â€œfired from more than one job,â€ noted Art in America. â€œJohn Coplans never made the art world an easier place, but in the end, he made it a better one.â€
Body Partsâ€”A Self-Portrait by John Coplans was organized in collaboration with the artist, by Charles Stainback, director of SITE Santa Fe, and Jane Farver, director of the List Visual Arts Center at MIT. This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Council for Arts at MIT, British Consulate General, Boston, and the Hotel@MIT.
Body Parts-A Self Portrait (2002)
Courtesy John Coplans Estate
Lecture, Bartos Theatre, MIT E15
Tuesday, October 26 at 6PM
Peter Plagens, Newsweek art critic and painter
Special Gallery Tours, LVAC Galleries
Friday, October 29 at 6PM
Deborah Martin Kao, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard University Art Museums
Friday, November 12 at 6PM
Howard Yezerski, of the Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston
Gallery Talks, LVAC Galleries
Wednesday, November 10 at 12PM and Friday, December 17 at 6PM
Wednesday, November 17 at 12PM
Sundays: October 17 and 31, November 14, and December 12 at 2PM
Cerith Wyn Evans:
Thoughts unsaid, now forgottenâ€¦
The MIT List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Cerith Wyn Evans: Thoughts unsaid, now forgottenâ€¦ which will be on view from October 7 through December 31, 2004. Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans' new site-specific projects explore the complex relationships between image and word, poetry and science, divination and earthly communication, and spoken and written language. The exhibition is to be presented simultaneously with a selection of Wyn Evans' works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Together, the two exhibitions make up Wyn Evansâ€™ first comprehensive museum exhibitions in North America. The opening reception will be on Thursday, October 7 from 5:30 to 7:30PM.
The exhibition consists of several installation components. Upon entering the gallery, the viewer will be greeted by her or his own image in Wyn Evansâ€™ signature convex mirror sculpture, Perverse, Inverse, Reverse (1996). An alternative version of this work will also be on view at the MFA. The space will be shared by The Slide Rule Man, a MIT audio recording from the sixties of a man who traveled between the science-based schools inscribing studentsâ€™ names on their slide rules. Three Asian scholarâ€™s rocks, borrowed from the MFA, will be displayed in proximity to the audio piece. These hybrids of nature and culture exist today between the realms of nature and art, and are displayed as sculpture continuing Wyn Evansâ€™ investigation into the aesthetics common to scientific and artistic vision.
The next installation component will include Thoughts unsaid, now forgottenâ€¦ (2004), a reversed-text neon work commissioned by the LVAC for this exhibition. The work will face a large plate glass window onto a well-traveled courtyard. The sharp, bright neon image will reflect off the glass even in daylight, so that from the inside the reflected text will appear readable, like a caption for the view outdoors or subtitles in a film. IMAGE (Rabbit's Moon) by Raymond Williams (2004), a black Venetian-glass chandelier, spells out in Morse Code a text by Raymond Williams defining the word "image" from his seminal text "Keywords - A Vocabulary of Culture and Society," and connects to a computer monitor that translates the Morse Code back into the texts. The sky is thin as paper here... (2004), a new slide-projection piece using a special dissolve unit, casts layers of black and white astronomical images with historical pictures of exuberant traditional celebrations from Japanese festivals.
Finally, WMBR Radio Station is the actual wood-paneled studio from MIT's student-run radio station. Wyn Evans has taken the original 1960â€™s wood-paneled broadcast studio from WMBR, MIT's radio station, and installed it in a corner of the gallery. The five elements of the station pay respect to past technologies and the time before the Internet when radio was an important tool for communication. MIT's radio station was, and continues to be, famously inventive using the latest technology to foster free expression. On this equipment the station explored disco and reggae in 1974 and punk in 1976. The major themes of Wyn Evansâ€™ workâ€“information, poetry, art, science, and communicationâ€“are all incorporated in these exquisite relics.
About the artist
Born in South Wales in 1958, Cerith Wyn Evans graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1984. He began his career as a video and filmmaker and worked as an assistant to filmmaker Derek Jarman. During the 1980s, Wyn Evans made short experimental films that have been screened in Britain and abroad. He also collaborated with choreographer Michael Clark and taught at the Architectural Association in London for six years.
In the early 1990s, Wyn Evans began making sculptures and installations. He employs a variety of media such as neon, orchids, fireworks, film, photography, and sculpture to explore his ideas on perception and conceptual limits. His work deals with the phenomenology of time, language, and perception. Wyn Evansâ€™ first solo exhibition as a visual artist was held at White Cube, London, in 1996, for which he created an installation entitled Inverse, Reverse, Perverse consisting of a large concave mirror that inverted and radically distorted the viewer's reflection, producing a disturbing self-portrait.
Wyn Evans has exhibited extensively in Europe, including the Hayward Gallery, London, and The British School at Rome, and to a lesser extent in the United States, at such venues as Deitch Projects in New York. More recently, Evans has had solo shows at the Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland, and Georg Kargl, Vienna. He presented his acclaimed work Cleave 00 for the first time as part of the Art Now series at Tate Britain in 2000. Cleave 03 (Transmission: Visions of the Sleeping Bard, Ellis Wynne) was presented at the 50th Venice Biennale last summer. Evans beamed a light into the night sky that signaled a Morse Code translation of a text by Ellis Wynne, a founder of Walesâ€™ high literature tradition. A computer in the inaugural Welsh Pavilion displayed the text. A second work by Wyn Evans was included in Utopia Station, one of the major group exhibitions organized for the Biennale.
This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Council for Arts at MIT, the Nimoy Foundation, and British Consulate General, Boston.
Artist Talk by Cerith Wyn Evans, LVAC Galleries
Saturday, October 9, at 12PM
Special Gallery Tours, LVAC Galleries
Friday, November 19 at 6PM
William Stover, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and curator for the MFAâ€™s Cerith Wyn Evans exhibition
Friday October 29 at 7PM
Bill Arning, LVAC Curator
Friday, December 10, 6PM
MIT History Night
An evening of anecdotes on the "Slide Rule Man" and experimental radio at MIT with Martin Klein, Bill Arning, and Ken Arvey
Martin Klein, MIT â€™62, is the former president and founder of Klein Associates, Inc. of Salem, NH. Kleinâ€™s audio recording about â€œthe Slide Rule Manâ€ is included in the Cerith Wyn Evans exhibition. Ken Arvey, General Manager of WMBR is a PhD candidate in MITâ€™s Material Science and Engineering Department.
Film Nights, Bartos Theatre MIT E15
Organized by John Gianvito. Gianvito is a filmmaker, teacher, and curator based in Boston.
Thursday, November 4 at 7PM
An evening of films by Derek Jarman
Thursday, December 2 at 7PM
Guy Debord: His Art and His Life (France/1994/60 min.)
Directed by Brigitte Cornand and Guy Debord
Yael Bartana: Three Works
The MIT List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Yael Bartana: Three Works, which will be on view from October 7 through December 31, 2004. This solo exhibition by Israeli artist Yael Bartana includes 3 short works, When Adar Enters (2004), Kings of the Hill (2003), and Ad De'lo Yoda (2003). Bartana often focuses on the activities and rituals of everyday life in Israel. She is particularly interested in rituals that may be unfamiliar to an international audience, and in uncovering the underlying themes within them. The exhibition is organized by Jane Farver, Director of the List Visual Arts Center. The opening reception will be on Thursday, October 7 from 5:30 to 7:30PM.
Bartana shot When Adar Enters in March 2003 in the orthodox district of Israel's Jerusalem and Bnei-Brak during the holiday of Purim, an annual celebration during the month of Adar (around the month of March). The Festival of Purim commemorates a victory over oppression as recounted in the Megillah, the scroll of the story of Esther; and people celebrate Purim with prizes, noisemakers, costumes, and treats. Here children dress in a variety costumes from Biblical and contemporary history that reveal the story of Israel's national self-understanding. Bartana's Kings of the Hill is a single-screen video installation based on a time-honored children's game of the same name. Men in four-wheel drive conveyances converge on the dusty coastal hills outside Tel Aviv, and in a show of macho prowess attempt to scale the most precipitous slopes in their monster sports utility vehicles. Not overtly political, Kings of the Hill does resonate with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her Ad De'lo Yoda (2003) depicts a solitary young man watching as others celebrate Purim.
About the artist
Yael Bartana was born in 1970 in Afula, Israel; she currently lives and works in Israel and the Netherlands. She received a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and she participated in Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Bartana has had solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Oxford, BÃ¼roFriedrich in Berlin, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, and many other venues. Her work has also been exhibited in such venues as the Tate Modern, De Appel Foundation, the 2004 Liverpool Biennial, Kunstwerke-Berlin, the 2002 Manifesta 4 European Biennial, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center. She has also participated in numerous film/video festivals, including Transmediale 2003, an international media art festival in Berlin.
Yael Bartana: Three Works is made possible by the generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Council for Arts at MIT.
Media Sponsor: Phoenix Media Communications Group
October 7 â€“ December 31, 2004
Reception: Thursday, October 7, 5:30â€“7:30PM
Tuesdayâ€“Thursday: 12â€“6PM; Friday: 12â€“8PM; Saturday and Sunday: 12â€“6PM
Closed Mondays; Nov. 25; Dec. 24 and 25. Closing at 4PM on Dec. 31
All exhibitions at the List Visual Arts Center are free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. Accommodations are provided by request. Please call Hiroko Kikuchi at 617.452.3586 for inquiries.
The List Visual Arts Center
20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139