204/7 Next, The Next Generation IV
Emerson Art Exhibit Draws a Crowd
By Brian Collins
BOSTON - Clad in a fitted Boston Red Sox hat, Emerson College senior and first-time art show attendee Adler Fedestin observed a painting of two male baseball fans kissing passionately in the stands and said, "now I know I'm at an art show."
Indeed, on December 9, art connoisseurs and novices alike rubbed elbows during an opening reception at the Huret and Spector Gallery on the sixth floor of Emerson's Tufte building to observe the work of ten student artists from Boston Univeristy, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
The artists - all graduate students, ages ranging from 24 to 31 - were chosen for "Next Generation," an Emerson-sponsored art exhibition now in its fourth annual installment. The stated goal of the exhibit is to "explore the creative evolution of contemporary artists." Joseph Ketner - an Emerson professor and the school's "Distinguished Curator-in-residence - has put together the show since its inception, however he has never actually curated it. Instead, all pieces seen in the gallery are selected by students of his undergraduate class, "What is Contemporary Art?" As in the past, this year Ketner brought his class to the three schools' studios to see the pieces submitted for consideration, discussed them in class, and reached final decisions by majority vote.
Julia Cseko, Jodie Goodnough, Jamaal Sheats, Emilio Coyra, Julie Kang, and Ivette Salom, all students of The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, were joined by Boston University's Zach Horn and Kyle Larson as well as Catilin Nesbit and Helena Gladysheva of Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Shay Swindlehurst, a Massachusetts native, Emerson freshman and self-proclaimed "rabid art connoisseur" called the show, "the new wave of Boston art and artists...they're all very good and I'm surprised by how diverse the work is." The exhibition features paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, drawings and a video projection.
Nesbit's sculpture in particular garnered praise and attention from many in attendance. One student called it "the best student piece I've ever seen." For the piece, titled "Refreshing Natural Water," Nesbit purchased a functioning commercial vending machine - with a "Got Milk?" advertisement still pasted on its sides - and replaced its contents with clear plastic bottles filled with noticeably discolored samples of Boston-area bodies of water with such labels as "FENSWATER" and "CHARLES RIVER." Gladysheva's also showed a sculpture while Coyra, Salom, Larson, Horn, Sheats and Cesko contributed paintings, Kang offered drawings, Goodnough added photographs and a video projection.
Attendance, food, and beverage were free of charge to the viewing public, which drew some patrons to the reception only at the behest of gastronomical impulse. Fedestin, a member of Ketner's class, said he was pleased with the quantity of people in attendance but added, "It's a little depressing when you put months of thought into choosing pieces of contemporary art you feel are important and worth seeing, and 90 percent of the people here are outside eating and drinking and talking."
"I really had no idea what this was until I got here," said Greg Tango, an Emerson sophomore. "My friend just told me there was free food...I'd be lying if I said I was here for anything else," who later added that he did not plan on walking through the gallery.
"Now I know I'm leaving an art show," said Fedestin as he picked up and cracked open one of the last available beverages. "For my first show, it was okay..." He walked to the exit, took a drink from the can and added, "at least now I don't have to go to a vending machine."
"Next Generation IV" will be available through February 12, 2011.
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