Saturday, October 09, 2010

Artist Richard Hunt @ Th!nkART Salon

@ Courtesy of Th!nkART
On Friday evening I ventured south to Th!nkART Salon to catch the secaond of three openings (spreading the festivities out over several evenings is a great idea) of acclaimed artist Richard Hunt's (1935-) new exhibition of sculptures, drawings and lithographs, "A Force of Nature." Hunt holds a special place for me, because he was perhaps one of the first internationally renowned African-American artists I ever met in person, when, two decades ago at the invitation of the Dark Room Writers Collective to which I belonged, he, composer T. J. Anderson Jr., and my late predecessor at the university, the incomparable Leon Forrest, graciously agreed to participate in a program, which included a viewing of Hunt's work, a reading by Leon, and snippets of Anderson's operas, including, Soldier Boy, Soldier, for which Leon wrote the libretto, at the historic African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston.  It was a remarkable event, not least because we had no money whatsoever to host any of these already very distinguished artists. But they presented their work (Hunt was teaching that year at Harvard, while Anderson was teaching at Tufts University) and later broke bread with us, offering all us young writers and artists, yet again, an example to follow in our own lives and work.

I thus was really excited both to see Richard's work and to say hello to him, and fortunately he hadn't left, so we had the opportunity to chat for a bit. Among the things we talked about was Cuba, which he visited a decade back, during what would have been the end of worst years of the very difficult Special Period (of economic privation) and the changes that were underway, visible already when I was there a year back. We also talked about some of his new and current projects, and as the photos below demonstrate, his sculpture and visual abstractions on paper have only gained in sensuous power and expressiveness since I first encounted years back. At 75 he is also continuing to create the public projects for which he's gained worldwide recognition. If you are in Chicago, I recommend checking out the show before it ends, on December 10, 2010, and also visiting the downstairs exhibit, if it's open, which features Adam Clement's geometric abstractions, in colored pencil with acrylic finish, on paper. (And, let me also give Th!nkART another shout out, as it hosted the reading of Italian poets, organized by poet and scholar Jennifer Scappettone, in conjunction with the literary journal Aufgabe, that introduced me to Maria Attanasio and the other incredible contemporary poets....)

Some photos (enjoy)!:

The opening crowd
The opening's crowd
Richard Hunt's "Totem" (Cast bronze)
Hunt's "Totem," in cast bronze
Hunt's lithographs, on display
Some of Hunt's lithographs on display
The gallery owner & Hunt's daughter
The gallery owner chatting with Hunt's daughter
One of Richard's beautiful prints
One of Hunt's works on paper
One of Hunt's prints
Another of Hunt's works on paper
DJ'ing the event
Th!nkART's DJ
Larry (left) and Richard Hunt
Hunt (on right), chatting with Larry, a fan
Adam Clement's work at ThinkArt
In the downstairs gallery, Adam Clement's work
Downstairs @ ThinkArt
Downstairs gallery
Adam Clement's "Holes"
Clement's "Holes"
Adam Clement's "Untitled"
Clement's "Untitled"

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