Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Submissions to 2016 Fringe open Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 4:00 AM

The process to submit a show to the 2016 Rochester Fringe Festival will open Wednesday, March 16, beginning 9 a.m., online only at rochesterfringe.com. The submission window will close at midnight on Saturday, April 30.

Producers, artists, and arts organizations can submit a show of any genre for consideration at any of the Fringe's venues. Those venues will then book their own lineups for the Fringe -- the Fringe itself only curates headliners and free entertainment. There is no fee to apply. But once a show is accepted and a contract is finalized with the venue, there is a registration fee: For venues with 99 seats or less, the fee is $50 for a single performance or series of free shows, and $75 for multiple, ticketed performances. For venues with more than 99 seats, registration fees are $100 (for a single performance) or $150 (for multiple performances).

The Fringe will host a submission launch party Wednesday, March 16, at Black Button Distilling (85 Railroad Street), from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those interested in applying a show for the Fringe can learn more.

The 2016 Rochester Fringe Festival will take place Thursday, September 15, through Saturday, September 24. For more information, check out rochesterfringe.com.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

First Friday preview: March 4

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 11:31 AM

Cure your cabin fever with a dose of culture. Here are just a sampling of the art openings and receptions taking place tonight; for more art related events, check out our calendar or visit firstfridayrochester.org.

If you've always wanted to participate in Rochester Contemporary's annual 6x6 show and sale, but never seem to dedicate the time to make an artwork, come to the First Friday 6x6 Party Month Kickoff. The event will be held tonight at RoCo (137 East Avenue) from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring art-making workshops with The Large Artist and the Print Club of Rochester, a special appearance of The Drawing Booth, a cash bar and live music. Make 6x6 artworks and submit them on the spot (the deadline is April 17). The annual 6x6 opening party event will be held on June 4. Admission to RoCo is $2 and free to members. For more information, call 461-2222 or visit rochestercontemporary.org.

While you're there, check out "Makers & Mentors," which is on view through March 13. This iteration of RoCo's annual series, which features the work of artist-educator Sheldon Berlyn and a small group of artists who benefitted from his tutelage. Berlyn is a celebrated abstract painter, and his featured former students include Russell Floersch, Juan Perdiguero, Kathleen Sherin, and Gerado Tan.

Don't forget RoCo's LAB Space, which is currently showing "One Cubic Foot: The Genesee River" by award-winning photographer David Liittschwager. Through more than 60 images, Liittschwager illustrates the biodiversity of the Genesee River. The exhibit is the result of Liittschwager's tenure in Rochester, in partnership with the Seneca Park Zoo. Read more about his project here.

The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley recently moved to a new location at 100 College Avenue, in the spot that formerly housed Lumiere Photo. The new spot features an exhibition space, Gallery Q, which is currently showing "together/apart," a showcase of five artists who each consider themes of companionship, loss, and the search for meaning within our relationships. Participating artists are Gretchen Arnold, Randall Cook, Meredith Davenport, Dan Larkin, and Scott McCarney. The show will remain up through March. See the show tonight, 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. For regular hours and more information, call 244-8640 or visit gayalliance.org.

Writers & Books (740 University Avenue) will host a Choose Your Own Adventure themed event from 4 to 6 p.m. Start in the bookstore and let your intuition guide you through a series of passages taken from real Choose Your Own Adventure books. Enjoy snacks and A Wide Open Mic that begins at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 473-2590 or visit wab.org.

Shane Durgee's MFA Thesis Show, "Snakes in the Nest," is part of a wider exhibition of graduate work at RIT's Bevier Gallery. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Shane Durgee's MFA Thesis Show, "Snakes in the Nest," is part of a wider exhibition of graduate work at RIT's Bevier Gallery.

Check out the work of a set of talented emerging artists at the 2016 Grad Thesis Exhibit for the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. An opening reception will be held tonight, 4 to 7 p.m., at RIT's Bevier Gallery (73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Henrietta). The show of Emily Bellinger, Shane Durgee, Sarah Jean Taavola, Abiose Spriggs, Matt Mroz, Mike Strobert, and others. Admission to Bevier Gallery is free and hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m; Monday through Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4:40 p.m. Visitor parking is available in lots E and F. For more information, call 475-2646 or visit cias.rit.edu/bevier-gallery.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

RIT Industrial Design students to collaborate with Poppin

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 9:41 AM

RIT's School of Design announced Wednesday that office furniture and supply firm Poppin is the industry partner that participating students will collaborate with for this year's Metaproject. The class of 22 senior ID students gathered in University Gallery for the reveal, buzzing nervously and making guesses at what type of product they would be asked to create.

Now in its sixth year, Metaproject is an elective design studio course offered to seniors in RIT's Industrial Design program, which sees students work in collaboration with a different industry partner each year. The students are asked to design a product that solves a specific problem or works within a set of parameters, and work toward this goal throughout the semester.

Professor Josh Owen introduces design firm Poppin as this year's Metaproject industry partner. - PHOTO COURTESY A. SUE WEISLER/RIT
  • Professor Josh Owen introduces design firm Poppin as this year's Metaproject industry partner.

The course offers the students a taste of real-world experience, connections with design professionals, and the possibility of having their design put into production.

This year, the design topic is "Work Happy," which is also Poppin's slogan. The students are tasked with designing "innovative accessories for Poppin's furniture that accent, improve, or add to their use," says professor Josh Owen, who developed Metaproject and leads the course.

Suggested areas of exploration include -- but are not limited to -- storage, organization, desktop real estate, cable management, power accessibility, comfort, privacy, and sound isolation.

While designing, students must take into account certain trends in modern offices that present challenges. These include shrinking or shared work spaces as companies grow in number of workers but not square footage, the need for privacy (for meetings or phone calls) in open-plan offices, and the increasing popularity of standing at elevated desks rather than sitting.

The materials, technologies, and processes that students will use to create their finished products are part of the plan they'll have to come up with, Owen says, and they will have to match the manufacturer's abilities and goals.

In addition to the industry partner and project reveal, the students watched a presentation by Poppin professionals that introduced them to the company's philosophy and aesthetics.

Poppin creates simple, elegant, and elemental products that "eschew unnecessary details," says Jeff Miller, Poppin's VP of product design. The company is also known for offering nearly every product, from stapler to filing cabinet, in every hue from its bright, cheerful color palette.

Students then got a hands-on look at select Poppin products that will remain on hand throughout the semester for reference. These include the company's Series A Double Desks formed into a long conference table, Max Task office chairs, and Limber LED Task Lamps.

Poppin's VP of product design, Jeff Miller, explains the company's philosophy and aesthetics to RIT Industrial Design students. - PHOTO COURTESY A. SUE WEISLER/RIT
  • Poppin's VP of product design, Jeff Miller, explains the company's philosophy and aesthetics to RIT Industrial Design students.

Past Metaprojects had students partner with Wilsonart, The Corning Museum of Glass, Areaware, Herman Miller, and last year, with both Kikkerland and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Through Metaproject, students make contacts in some of the most prestigious design-based companies in the world, and have the opportunity to exhibit their products each May during Design Week in New York City.

Metaproject is an interdisciplinary assignment -- as part of this project, Industrial Design students will team up with professor Adam Smith's New Media Design students to develop an experience around the ID projects that will be part of the product showcase in New York City.

Past students have designed products some companies have taken into production. For example: James Paulius's 2013 design for Metaproject 03 (in collaboration with world-renowned avant-garde accessories manufacturer, Areaware). Paulius's "Blockitecture" subsequently went into mass production, and is available at the MoMA gift shop. He has since created a second iteration, Blockitecture Garden City.

"James' career has really been kickstarted by this Metaproject," Owen says.

Some of Poppin's office furniture is on hand for Industrial Design students to explore and consider. - PHOTO COURTESY A. SUE WEISLER/RIT
  • Some of Poppin's office furniture is on hand for Industrial Design students to explore and consider.

About 14 weeks remain in the semester, and students will work on projects for about 12 of those weeks. The last couple of weeks will be spent on judging the products to determine which ideas will be polished up and brought to New York City.

"Winning design concepts will be chosen for their ingenuity, usefulness, aesthetic refinement, and coherence within the rest of Poppin's product assortment." Owen says.

The kick-off of Metaproject 06 follows on the tails of the third annual T-minus, a one-week project challenge the ID department undertook last week. Learn more about T-minus here.

The students will continue work on Metaproject 06 through the end of the semester. City will follow up on this story and their projects a bit down the line. Watch RIT's video about the Metaproject 06 reveal here. To learn more about Metaproject, visit metaproject.rit.edu.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Geva names new executive director

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 4:58 PM

Geva Theatre Center today announced Christopher Mannelli will be the next Executive Director and co-CEO with Artistic Director Mark Cuddy. Following Geva's national search, Mannelli comes to Geva from Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago -- a 41-year-old, Tony Award-winning institution dedicated to new plays and playwrights, where he served as managing director for five years.

Mannelli will start full-time at Geva Theatre Center at the end of February.

During his tenure, Mannelli led the reorganization of the Chicago institution and was responsible for the strategic planning, fundraising, and audience development initiatives that created the theater's new business model. Under his leadership, Victory Gardens has seen numerous award-winning productions, increased contributed income, and launched innovative membership and audience engagement initiatives.

Prior to his work with Victory Gardens, Mannelli served as deputy director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, one of the largest nonprofit theaters in Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, he was the managing director for HotCity Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up on Long Island and began his career as an actor and a musician, touring nationally and internationally. He holds a B.A. in opera performance from the SUNY Geneseo School of Performing Arts, an M.F.A. in Arts Leadership from DePaul University.

Manelli has more than 20 years of experience in the theatre industry, says Joanna Grosodonia, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Geva Theatre Center. "He has a proven track record of strategic thinking, leadership, and marketing that will benefit and promote Geva as this area's premier regional theatre."

"I am thrilled to be joining the team at Geva Theatre Center and honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director," Mannelli says. "When I began my career as a performer, it was at Geva where I had my first professional role. It's incredibly special to come back, nearly 20 years later, and have the privilege to partner with an inspiring leader such as Mark Cuddy."

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Airigami announces 'Journey on the Genesee' build

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Airigami announced today the theme of its first "Airigami Balloon Adventure" build as well as details about events surrounding the installation. Around 60 artists and volunteers will help construct "Journey on the Genesee," a five-story, 50-foot sculpture made from more than 40,000 compostable balloons, inside the Sibley Building atrium.

"Journey on the Genesee" will be Airigami's seventh local installation (formerly titled "Balloon Manor") and its third in the Sibley Building (250 East Main Street). Construction will begin Monday, January 25, and will open at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 29. The sculpture will remain on display through Sunday, February 7, when everything will be deflated during a popping party.

Both the build and the installation will be on display for free, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.

"We are incredibly excited to recreate nature with balloons -- the river, waterfalls, animals, plants -- inside, in the middle of winter," says Larry Moss, Airigami artistic director and founder. "And we're doing it all in an environmentally sound way, generating almost no waste, and composting the remains." For more information about Airigami, this year's installation, and some of the events that will be surrounding the build, visit airigamiadventure.com.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Star-crossed artists

"Marcel Dzama: Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester's Dance)"

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Art history nerds: gather 'round! Through January 24, a beautiful, surreal film currently screening in Memorial Art Gallery's Lockhart Gallery (500 University Avenue) provides a great opportunity to play a little game of art "I Spy." Canadian artist Marcel Dzama's 2013 "Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester's Dance)" is chock-full of references to the work of Marcel Duchamp, Francisco Goya, Francis Picabia, Joseph Beuys, and others, as well as allusions to Duchamp's life.

This exhibition is atypical for The MAG's Lockhart Gallery, which is usually utilized for great shows of works on paper. It's nice to see it transformed into an open, darkened space for the screening of a contemporary film.

The 30-minute, continuously looping, 2013 work is a fictionalized account of the ill-fated affair between Dada artist Duchamp and Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins. A tale told twice, back-to-back and with subtle variations, the strange and exciting Dadaist love story is conveyed through a collision of themes, including death and rebirth, multiple identities and doppelgängers, false prophets, lost love, the corruption of power, and the fragility of truth.

Using a recreation of Marcel Duchamp's sculptural installation, "ÉtantDonnés," a trickster figure summons the character of Maria Martins (played by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Hannelore Knuts) from the sculpture. Maria discovers her lover (a captive Marcel Duchamp, played by Jason Grisell) bound and at the mercy of a group of tormentors.

Her efforts to rescue her love are reminiscent of Alice's bewildering trip down the rabbit hole to a dark and mad wonderland populated by a monstrous assortment of beings. Decked with bizarre paint, costumes, hoods, and masks, the various players are forced to perform on a television program for a truly menacing-looking judge (also played by Grisell).

At times, the scenes and tone read a bit like Bosch's "Musician's Hell" come to life; at other moments, the sabre-wielding, masked terrorists trigger associations with current events. The production -- a silent work, save an engaging musical score by Will Butler, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury, and Dzama -- is full of eerie and intense theatrics. Here, buffoonery is an entertainment, and cruelty a performance.

The MAG will be closed New Year's Day. Regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday until 9 p.m. Admission is $5-$14 (free to members and kids age 5 and under; half-price admission on Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.). For more information, call 276-8900 or visit mag.rochester.edu.

Fair warning: this exhibition contains nudity and suggested violence.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Shoppertunity at "Wintercraft"

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 4:28 PM

Only a few more days remain of "Wintercraft," the annual holiday show and sale of handmade items made by local artists, held at Genesee Center for the Arts & Education (713 Monroe Avenue).

The show features decorative and utilitarian ceramic vessels and Rochester-pride ornaments, colorful aprons, and a variety of letterpress goods. This latter group includes holiday and other occasion cards, pretty posters, as well as the popular annual letterpress calendar, with each month designed by a different local artist. There's truly something for everyone on your (last minute) list.

The exhibit and sale continues through Saturday, December 19. Wintercraft hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

While you're in the building, check out "Farm to Table: Migrant and Seasonal Workers" (a group photo show lead by Arleen Thaler and presented in the Community Darkroom through January 30).

For more information, call 244-1730 or visit rochesterarts.org.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Rochester Fringe Festival announces 2016 dates

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 4:00 AM

The Rochester Fringe Festival today announced the dates for its 2016 event. The 10-day Fringe will take place Thursday, September 15, through Saturday, September 24 -- a similar time frame as the 2014 and 2015 Fringes.

The Fringe also announced that it has also been recommended for a $20,000 Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts. According to Fringe Board Chair Justin L. Vigdor, the award will aid in supporting the annual Friday on the Fringe event, which drew out around 13,000 people to Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square last year.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Three to see

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 12:42 PM

A solo show featuring the paintings, drawings, and sculpture of Jacquie Alberga Germanow opened at Geisel Gallery (1 Bausch & Lomb Place) on First Friday. The overarching theme in Germanow's work is water, whether expressed in figurative work, portraits, or symbol-heavy sculpture.

"Clearly the glass forms I have created are for me translations of water energy, and their fluid transparency a metaphor for truth and clarity," she says. But the portraits she paints also have an aquatic element as well, sometimes in unpredictable ways.

In "Transition," a painting of a reclining man, Germanow has given her subject a yellow shirt that is seemingly made of waves of light. The bright, undulating material is as kinetic and chaotic as the sea, while its translucence reveals the powerful form and warm skin underneath.

"The human form is the most complex organization of water than I have drawn into focus," she says. She also links human expression and gesture to flowing water. "Water and spirit are metaphorically inseparable in this works."

Though some of Germanow's art seems to have religious undertones -- such as three crucifix-looking, mixed-media sculptures in the rear space of the gallery -- the artist says this is not intentional. The concepts she's working with are much more universal. One of these, a staff-shaped work, "Forgiveness," can be interpreted as a body distorted by the weight of hate, but striving toward a state of grace. Finger and talon-shaped protrusions sprout from the carved and painted oak form, but as the eye follows upward, the acidic colors calm.

See the show through November 30. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, email jeangeisel@gmail.com, or visit thegeiselgallery.com.

Richard Harvey and Nancy Valle both have work showing in the Little Theatre Café (140 East Avenue) through November 30. The exhibition, "Reveal," includes Harvey's figurative paintings, collages, and sculptures, and Valle's ceramic sculpture.

"As a figurative artist, I explore the psychological and emotive potential of the human face and figure in a contemporary expressionistic style," Harvey says.

His subjects are less people than they are embodiments of emotions and states of mind, and each confronts the viewer with pared-down countenances of vortex eyes and weatherworn hides. Moon-shaped faces preside in atmospheric skies, features sketched out expressively and conveying a sense of calm unease.

Valle's hand-built work is even more pared down, her figurative forms often composed of head and bust shapes but covered in patterns and textures also representative of human conditions.

"Since beginning in sculpture with clay, a broad theme has been central to my work: the relationship between the physical cycles of the natural world and our place within it," she says. "My new work is informed by observations, memories and ideas about who we are as individuals and how we reveal ourselves within nature, community, and culture. These ceramic figural forms are reactions to traditional portraiture: people represented at milestones in their lives from birth to the obituary photo."

See "Reveal" when the Little Theatre Café is open: Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. For more information, email zanne@thelittle.org.

A small exhibit of stencil and spray paint work by Rochester street artist Ax opened at Surface Salon (658 South Avenue) on Friday night to celebrate Surface's 7th anniversary. "Lost Axiom" features eight large paintings on wood panels, each with a not-so-subtle poke at humanity.

In "It's okay, I don't want to admit we are related either" a chimp covers his eyes in shame while holding a sign that with the title on it. Another piece features a beaming graduate in cap and gown, presenting her diploma with the words "Crippling Debt" in austere calligraphy. A painting of an iPhone locked screen shows a line of "Ax News" headlines, all topical tragedies, with the opportunity to "slide to ignore."

It's cool to see Ax pull together work for a gallery show -- you can usually spot his art painted on walls around Rochester on cardboard that he leaves zip tied to fences and posts for people to find and take home. Ax's work will remain on the walls at least through the end of the month. For hours and more information, call 360-4446 or visit surfaceonsouth.com.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Eastman Museum saves collection of Indian cinema

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 5:07 PM

The George Eastman Museum announced this week it had acquired more than 700 Bollywood, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu films, a wide array of related audio recordings, as well as 6,000 film posters. This announcement came shortly after Eastman's announcement of the exciting acquisition of South African artist William Kentridge's oeuvre. The donation of the Bollywood collection makes Eastman Museum the owner and caretaker of the world's largest collection of contemporary Indian cinema held by any museum or film archive.

The collection consists of 775 prints representing 597 film titles, all in 35mm format and made between 1999 and 2013, and about 6,000 film posters. The collection's films come from the Hindi-language film industry commonly known as "Bollywood," as well as Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu productions. Many of the titles are from acclaimed masters of Indian cinema, such as Mani Ratnam, Ashutosh Gowariker, Anurag Kashyap, Nagesh Kukunoor, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

In addition to exposing Rochester audiences to the magical and melodramatic Bollywood aesthetic, the collection contains a wide array of diverse languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

This major collection was discovered in late 2014 in an abandoned California multiplex. The prints had been shipped from India for release in specialized theaters in the United States, but since the multiplex was unable to convert to digital projection, it closed in August 2013. All of the release prints, posters, and projection equipment were left behind.

Dino Everett, archivist of the Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, knew the collection would find an appreciative home in Rochester. Everett alerted the Eastman Museum to the existence of the films and posters, and with financial assistance from the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, Eastman Museum rescued the collection.

If the Eastman Museum had not taken ownership of the material and provided an appropriate environment for preserving the collection, it would have been destroyed when the multiplex was razed earlier this year.

"The Eastman Museum has a longstanding interest in South Asian cinema, dating back to the founding curator of our film collection, James Card, and his determined efforts to obtain major works of Indian cinema," said Paolo Cherchi Usai, senior curator of the Museum's Moving Image Department.

"As part of our museum's collection, they will be an invaluable resource for exhibition and scholarly research in Indian cinema," he said.

Eastman Museum's dedication to preservation plays a key role here, as Indian film studios do not actively preserve their prints after theatrical and home video release, meaning that many titles are lost after their initial premiere. Though the Indian motion picture industry is an important center of cinematic creativity in the world, underfunded collecting institutions in India are unable to offer preservation at the level that Eastman Museum can.

"Having rescued all those prints from destruction is not only a heroic feat," said Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder and director of the Film Heritage Foundation in Mumbai. "It is a strong commitment to preserve and celebrate the beauty of Indian cinema as part of the world's cultural patrimony. We look forward to working with the Eastman Museum towards a broader and deeper knowledge of the creative energy displayed by contemporary Indian filmmakers through their work."

For more information, visit eastman.org.

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