|(Posted 9/27/2003) |
(By Josh Rabinowitz for SkateboardDirectory.com)
"Call me Ishmael".
A museum in the city best known for its role in the Herman Melville classic "Moby Dick" will put aside the harpoons and scrimshaw (metaphorically, probably) for a skateboard exhibit and "cultural celebration" displaying art by and about skateboarders and skateboarding. Tying in with show, the museum’s "Gallery X" is hosting a six-hour skateboard movie night from 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday, September 28.
As David B. Boyce, correspondent for the New Bedford Standard-Times observes, "today's skateboard culture has fostered a strong interest and practice in the visual and graphic arts that include every available genre and medium". Recognizing this pool of diverse and yet unified artists led John Cox and Hannah Haines to guest curate the coming show "From the Ground Up: Art of the Skateboard Culture" which opens Saturday, September 27, 2003 * with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m.
"As a graphic designer," says co-curator Hannah Haines, "I'm attracted to the style and energy of the culture, its regard for urban architecture, and the expansive and joyous ways skaters use and interpret their surroundings. ... while I was growing up, I noticed that skateboard videos and magazines had a unique graphic sensibility I didn't find elsewhere. Contemporary skateboarding is perpetuated largely through independently produced media, which reflects a certain intolerance for corporate and bureaucratic mentality and oppression."
Co-curator Cox explains his inspiration for the project in effusive tones: "I like the do-it-yourself quality, the handmade, improvisational feel in the work. ... I'm awed by the looseness and freedom in the way they skateboarders ride and move. It looks somehow immediate, instinctual, and untrained, though I know the've put in a lot of practice. The art I respond to most viscerally and emotionally has those qualities, too."
Boyce states that skateboard culture's "influence on urban avant-gardists of 1950s, the city street, its signs and symbols, its collections of discarded detritus, and the physical and visual energy of its milieu provided a visual vocabulary, as well as a source of actual material, for artists trying to break away from the interior emotionality of 1940s and early '50s Abstract Expressionism."
And here we begin to get to the heart of the matter, which underlies the mere existence of (yet another) art museum noting the work of skateboarders: there is no denying that there is a strange and intangible connection between art and skateboarding. As Boyce observes, "not all skateboarders regard their involvement strictly as a sport. For many, skateboarding is a form of art, and the city in which they skate becomes analogous to a painter's canvas."
Gallery X’s movie night from 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday, September 28 will feature the screening of such cult classics as "Dogtown and Z-Boys *" and "The Bones Brigade *". The evening will also offer "more contemporary, cutting-edge skateboard films". A suggested donation of $3 at the door will help defray the costs of the movies; snacks and beverages will also be available. Gallery X is located at 169 William St., just up the hill from NBAM.
"From the Ground Up: Art of the Skateboard Culture" opens this Saturday at the New Bedford Art Museum, 608 Pleasant St., New Bedford, and continues through Jan. 9, 2004 *. Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays (until 9 p.m. on Thursday AHA! Nights). Admission is $3 for adults, $2 seniors/students, children under 17 free. For further information, call (508) 961-3072, or see www.newbedfordartmuseum.org
This story was based on an article called "NBAM is all decked out for skateboard art exhibit", by By David B. Boyce which originally appeared on Page C12 of The Standard-Times on September 25, 2003, and was found at http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/09-03/09-25-03/c12co166.htm.
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