Wednesday, December 11, 2013
With its latest exhibition, the Bates College Museum of Art is going places few museums have dared go before.
The Bates College Museum of Art is showing its ambitious new “Starstruck” exhibit through Dec. 15. It’s one of a number of major new shows ushering in summer across Maine.
Courtesy Bates College
"STARSTRUCK: THE FINE ART OF ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY"
WHEN: Through Dec. 15
WHERE: Bates College Museum of Art, Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St., Lewiston
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday
HOW MUCH: Free
INFO: 786-6158; bates.edu/museum
The Lewiston museum has just opened an ambitious new exhibition, "Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography." It's among the first major exhibitions examining the photography of astronomical objects and the night sky.
This show, on view through Dec. 15, features 106 images by 35 artists representing 11 countries across five continents, said curator Anthony Shostak.
"Their creations are nothing less than overwhelming, depicting humbling, glorious delights that are often invisible to both the naked eye and even the telescope, and are revealed only through photographic means," Shostak said.
The Bates show is among several major visual arts exhibitions opening across Maine and ushering in a summer of viewership opportunities for painting and photography. While most of the shows concentrate on traditional fine-art fair, the Bates show is way out there in literal and figurative ways.
Bates selected nine artists to participate in the show. The rest were chosen by a jury consisting of Weston Naef, curator emeritus of photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Dennis di Cicco, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine; and Jerry T. Bonnell, co-editor and author of NASA's web feature "Astronomy Picture of the Day."
Naef attended the opening at Bates earlier this month and delivered a lecture on the topic, which is hardly a phenomenon. The night sky, moon and stars have captivated man and driven much of our understanding of the universe since the beginning of time. Photographers have captured images since the earliest days of the medium. Indeed, one of the images in this show is an early black-and-white photograph by photography pioneer Alfred Stieglitz.
But with the advent of technology, the images have become more profound and inspiring. Witness Yuichi Takasaka's mind-blowing time-lapse image of star trails and the Northern Lights reflected on a water surface.
The topic is both timely and popular. Maine has seven astronomy societies, said Shostak, and "Starstruck" is unique among fine-art museums. There have been a few smaller shows examining the topic, but none on the scale of the Bates show, he said.
Throughout the run of the show, Bates will offer a variety of educational programming, including lectures, workshops, star parties, theatrical performances and films.
OTHER EXHIBITIONS opening this week and next at Maine art museums include:
• The Portland Museum of Art opens its major summer show, "The Draw of the Normandy Coast," today. It includes more than 40 paintings by some of the world's best-known and most celebrated painters, including Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, George Inness and Camille Pisassro.
The exhibition, on view through Labor Day, documents the draw of the Normandy coast of France. Painters flocked there to capture images of the cliffs, boats at port and the summer lifestyle along the beaches. It's a glamorous, spry show, with many feel-good paintings that make you want to rush off to the coast of Maine to experience similar scenes.
Many of the paintings in the exhibition came from the museum's permanent collection and the Scott M. Black Collection, which is on long-term loan to the PMA. But curator Margaret Burgess and museum director Mark Bessire also worked their connections to borrow many key paintings from other institutions across the United States and Canada.
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On Sunday, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland opens “Impressionist Summers: Frank W. Benson’s North Haven.”