Because I had no idea that chainsaw artists were a legitimate demographic. 

The Big Buzz Chainsaw Carving Festival. Chainsaw artists from around the country will convene in Chester, VT from today until October 8 to carve new work together, culminating the festival with an auction next Monday. Not recommended for the delicate of ear. More information here.

Because gallery openings are always the best. 

“Drive by Love” by Eric Eickmann opening reception. Speaking Volumes gallery in Burlington will celebrate the installation of Eickmann’s work – large-scale acrylic paintings of women juxtaposed with unexpected backgrounds – with an opening reception from 7 to 9 pm on October 5 featuring music by local blues artist Dwight Richter. For more info click here.

Because I can’t resist a good portmanteau. 

“Frog Halloween” exhibit opening. The group show at Frog Hollow gallery in Burlingon features work inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales. The opening event will run from 5 to 8 pm October 5. Confirm it here.

Because I’m slowly learning to see the upside of technology. 

Manhattan Short Film Festival. The collection of ten exemplary short films will be shown simultaneously in theaters (including Town Hall Theater at 7:30 pm on October 6) across the world (6 continents!) for viewers to vote upon a winner. If no other reason than to marvel at the coordination of time-zones, this looks fascinating. More info and tickets can be found here.

Because the posters are lovely and enigmatic.

“The Stronger,” a fifteen-minute play. Christina Fox and Izzy Schill star in Strindberg’s one-act play, which is apparently comprised of a single dramatic monologue. It will be performed at 8 and 9:30 pm on October 6 in CFA 232. I’m so intrigued.

Because apocalyptic fears are way too relatable. 

Take Shelter screening. This week’s Hirschfield film “revolves around a man, haunted by apocalyptic visions, who resolves to build an elaborate storm shelter – a decision that threatens the fabric of his family and his sanity.” It will be screened at 8 and 10:30 on Saturday in Dana. Full details here.



10800 Seconds is a round-up of arts events within three hours driving distance of Middlebury. The events are chosen with the utmost arbitrariness and thus represent a not-at-all comprehensive list.

September 25:

Because outsider art is in. Thorton Dial, Sr.: Thoughts on Paper and Outcasts and Rebels: Prints by William Blake and Leonard Baskin opens at the Fleming Museum. Thoughts on Paper features some of outsider and folk artist Thorton Dial, Sr’s earliest works, which feature “Dial’s characteristic and broadly coherent iconography of women, fish, birds, roosters, and tigers, rendered in a variety of media” and deal with themes of gender and human relationships. Outcasts and Rebels serves as a complementary exhibit to Dial’s work. Both exhibits will run through December 14. For more information visit the Fleming Museum’s website.

September 26:

Because I can’t resist recycled art. Make Stuff! Night at Bike Recycle Vermont. Every Wednesday volunteers gather at BRV to make art and jewelry out of discarded bike parts. Proceeds from the sale of the creations goes to supporting BRV, an insanely cool charity that refurbishes donated bikes and provides them to low-income Vermonters. Find out more here.

September 27:

Because the Johnson poster sale hasn’t happened yet. 5 and Dime exhibit and art sale at The Backspace Gallery. With prices ranging from $5 -100, you’d be hard pressed to find a more student-friendly venue for purchasing art. The Backspace Gallery is located in the same space (The Soda Plant Building) as The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery, which has a really cool looking mixed media show running right now. Both the sale and the show end Saturday, so hurry out! Check out their website here.

Because I have a supercrush on Philippe Petit. wire2 is a “short, original show integrating music, dance, circus, and theatricality.” It’s free and in the CFA, so there’s really no reason not to go. Plus, it was created by brother-sister duo Ben and Rachel Schiffer (’10 and ‘6.5) and features wirewalking, so there’s every reason to go.  Full deets here.

Because I was busy when Young Man in America was released. Anais Mitchell’s barnstorming tour hits Bristol, Bellows Falls, and Burlington. The  singer-songwriter will be in Bristol on Thursday, Bellows Falls on Friday, and Burlington on Sunday. Hopefully, one of those location-time combos will work for you. They’re also a convenient way to give being a folk groupie a trial run.

Please let me know if you know of any upcoming art events that other people should know about. Also, please let me know if you think any grievous omissions have been made from this week’s calendar. I can edit it.

Seeing the “How Did You Get Here?”promotional materials around campus always sends me into a bit of an existential tailspin. Suddenly, I’m not sure how I got here, what I’m doing here, or even where exactly here is. Luckily for all of us, we go to school with some really cool people who know how to respond to that question much more interestingly and eloquently.

Produced by the Narrative Journalism Fellows (including M Gal Hannah!) and advised by media queen Sue Halpern, How Did You Get Here? consists of sixteen digital portraits of current Midd students. At the opening event (Today! From 3-5!), these stories will be looped on projectors around the gallery. Naturally, there will also be awesome snacks and even more awesome company.

Yeah.  Read that title again.  People, the M Gallery is proud to present, for one night only, the musical stylings of Aubrey Dube, Ava Kerr, and Dane Verret.  The talented Ava (of NYC) will be on cello and the stellar duo, Aubrey (originally of Botswana) and Dane (of New Orleans) will be spitting rhymes that are for the most part, as far as I’m informed, on-the-spot improv.  Ava is known for her incredible versatility and ingenuity with her classical stringed instrument–a couple weekends ago, I heard she gave a killer performance as part of a band covering Nirvana in the Voter suites.  So, like, better get in the marriage proposal line rill rill quick, my friends.  Aubrey is one of the first people I met at Middlebury, and is not only one of the sweetest cats around, but he also taught me some words in Setswana (Dumêla!  I think that means “Good day?”), also the language in which he raps many of his verses.  This show is actually Aubrey’s senior work (most fun Midd senior work to-date?).  And Dane is already a renown spoken word poet at Middlebury and will surely bring his game.

Are you as stoked as me?! Do you not yet see the marvelous juxtaposition of this group?!  Cello.  And rap.  THAT IS CRAY.  AND TOTALLY GREAT.  Also, these three superstars are graduating in like, a week, so come bid them a rousing farewell!

Show starts at 10pm Thursday (5/10) in the M Gallery.  Perks-you’ll get to see the film photography exhibit, “35,” still gracing the gallery walls, you’ll get to see me, Ava might sign your forehead, Aubrey might teach you a swear word in Setswana…

A few weeks back, I admitted to you that I spent many (many, many) hours drilling over accent marks and hyphen placement as a member of my high school’s spelling and vocabulary team. The truth is, my obsession with nomenclatural precision extends back far further than that. As a wee one, I memorized Crayola color names with a borderline religious zeal. Poring over the paper wrappers, I learned to define my world and myself in Crayola’s terms. My cat was Timberwolf with Silver stripes. My hair was Macaroni and Cheese. My skin was Apricot. On several occasions, I came across difficulties communicating with peers, teachers, and relatives who failed understand that Carnation Pink would not work as well as Salmon, and that Purple Mountains’ Majesty was absolutely not light purple. I looked upon people who refused to recognize Crayola’s obvious authority in the world of color names with a precocious mixture of pity and disdain.

As I’ve gotten older (hipper! cooler!), I’ve realized how misguided I was. Crayola color names are obviously arbitrarily created by marketing executives, subject to consumer trends and political forces (Flesh, anyone?). Pantone, on the other hand…well, there’s some real authority. One needs only to dip their toe into the design world to become aware of this. Pantone, with its Pantone Matching System (PMS? Really?), can be used to codify and categorize absolutely everything; from mugs to matryoshkas, from flash drives to food, Pantone makes everything more legitimate, more reliable. ….Right?

Honestly, while it may be tantamount to heresy to suggest it, I have to say no. I don’t think that I connected the color Purple Mountains’ Majesty with the song lyric once in my elementary school career. Tangerine Tango or PANTONE 17-1463 is no less abstract and no more relevant.

All of this is a very rambling (and possibly ranting) way of introducing a fantastic piece by needlepoint artist and poet Stephen Beal. The piece, The Periodic Table of Artist’s Colors, is based off of set of poems that he wrote based on his associations with and relationships to the various colors of embroidery floss that he used in his needlepoint work. Meta, right?

I love the way that the intensely personal nature of The Periodic Table builds gradually as you look at it. Oxford ochre, Istanbul twilight, Schiaparelli! – all of those could probably be found amongst the paint chips at your local hardware store. The thrill comes from finding the stories hidden in the jargon – Charlie’s car that stays at home, Half of Haydee’s wardrobe (on both red and black), Daddy’s memory – and then maybe realizing that the jargon isn’t jargon after all, but rather more stories. Stories that are just as poetic and idyllic sounding as the ones that Crayola crafts, only real.

Like Hannah and her dead technologies, I’m very wary of being cast as the girl crying petulantly for authenticity in everything. If you’d prefer, I could frame this as a brilliant subversion of capitalistic hegemony or as an ironic juxtaposition of art and science or something else SOAN-y. Or I could just tell you to look at it and find your own words.

I think that’s what I’ll do.

For a better look at The Periodic Table of Artist’s Colors, click on the link below to download the pdf. It’s worth it, really.  PeriodicTable

Update (5/14/12): I just ran across this post on Krulwich Wonders, one of my favorite NPR Blogs. It has some super interesting information on Crayola colors and even talks a bit about artist Christian Faur, whose piece “True Color Series Boy 2” starts off this post.

Summer is coming! Which not only means driving around  with the windows down, barbecues, catching fireflies and summer festivals, it also means awesome art exhibits. Nerdy? Absolutely. But for those of you in, around or traveling to any metropolitan areas this summer there is bound to be an exhibit around the corner.

Here is a round up of what I have decided are the coolest exhibits to check out. Now all I need is a car, some good tunes and an art-museum road trip buddy…

Keith Haring: 1978-1982
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Through July 8th

This highly anticipated exhibit is the largest retrospective of Keith Haring’s work. Including his sketchbooks, journals, photos, experimental videos, works on paper, and even some of his subway drawings, it is filled with many works that have never been displayed publicly. Haring’s influence on contemporary art, street art and social issues make this a do-not-miss show.

Can’t get to Brooklyn? In conjunction with the exhibit, the Keith Haring Foundation is publishing his journals, one page a day, to a tumblr account! It’s a really neat way to get a look at his creative process.

Weegee: Murder is My Business
International Center of Photography, New York
Through Sept. 2

This exhibit brings together Weegee’s earlier and formative photographs. This exhibit traces his early years in the 1940s as a full-time photographer while he developed his tabloid photojournalist style. Known for his sharp, gritty, often gruesome, but always captivating images, Weegee often photographed New York City crimes. Although he worked for tabloid magazines, his photographs transcended these confines and are considered art in and of themselves.

PARRA Weirded Out
Through July 29th

Parra, the dutch graphic artist with a cult like following is featured in his first U.S. museum exhibit. His work bridges the gap between design and art. Although his work is similar to contemporary street art, it also references the pop art and psychedelia of the 1960s. His work is bold, bright and playful and this is sure to be a cool exhibit.

Bonus: As part of the the exhibit, he created a giant mural in the museum. Watch this cool time-lapse video of him working on the the mural.

Spectacle: The Music Video
Cincinnatti Contemporary Art Center
Through Sept. 3rd

We all know music videos are awesome, so why wouldn’t you want to go to a museum to see them? This exhibit traces the music video as an artistic tool and its rise of importance within the music industry. From A-Ha’s classic “Take on Me” video to Ok Go’s never ending awesomeness the exhibit spans decades of innovation. Obviously included are the videos themselves, but the exhibit is also filled with props and costumes, photography and “immersive environments.” That all sounds pretty awesome to me.

Hola lolas.

On behalf of the OSM board, we’d love to invite you all down to see the what the rest of the residents of our big, stone, creekside home works on during the year.  It’s the Old Stone Mill Tenant Showcase of Spring 2012!  Come for the live music!  The food!  To see the final pieces from all the creatives who have honeycombed the studios of this building with their arts and smarts!

The Old Stone Mill is like the mother of the M Gallery, so come hang with our family.  I can tell ya, there is no better way to spend a Friday afternoon.  The good times will be rolling from 3 to 5pm, so I’m giving you an hour to don your party hats and get down here!

Now, I don’t want to become pigeonholed as the M Gal who’s really into dead technologies, as Eliza labeled me in the latest Microfiche post, so let me just throw this out there: I’m not a techophobe or a romantic. I sleep with my laptop and my smart phone bedside, throwing radiation-related caution to the wind.  I’m the mayor of 7 campus hotspots on FourSquare, and according to Klout, my social media influence scores a 40 out of 100 (for reference: that’s the same as middtwitt!, Oprah is an 86, the 12-year-old from Mad Men is a 54).

But with all that being said, I have to admit that I spent a fairly large portion of my high school years in a darkroom. My school’s substantial photography program was entirely film-based, and nostalgic as that may be, there was something fundamentally incredible about the tangibility of that mode of photographic education. I learned to coax even the most stubborn roll of Kodak 400 Tri-X onto a plastic reel, my forearms sweating inside a lightproof rubber changing bag. Romances bloomed from using side-by-side enlargers day after day (“Can you dodge over there while I burn over here?”), gossip spread in the processing room, and and we wore our fixer stains like a badge.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about M Gallery’s newest exhibition: a black and white photography show with an emphasis on darkroom technique, featuring the work of Silvano DeMonte ’12 and Tim O’Grady ’12, who currently manages the student darkroom. Their show, called “35,” will highlight the versatility of film photography. Each print in the exhibition will showcase a specific technique and will be accompanied by an enlightening explanation. As they write in their artistic statement:

In a cultural age when digital cameras have become ubiquitous, dominating the formation of the visual image, the subtle and simple art of black and white photography has been pushed to the margins of common appreciation and artistic expression. Despite such depreciation, the 35-millimeter print remains a resounding resource, capable of countless manipulations to reveal images as diverse as their captured subjects themselves.

The show opens this weekend and will run through the end of the year. Stop by the gallery on Saturday from 8:30-10:30 p.m. for an opening event that promises to be as illuminating as the show itself!

The forecast for the rest of the week in this little corner of the world calls for rain — rain, every day! –even though it’s May and finals season, and nothing impedes productivity like waking up to a damp, overcast sky. Still, no one seems to be saying uncle — neither the weather nor my professors — so I guess we’re just supposed to power through, to close our eyes, and to pretend that what lies outside of our windows is not staying-in-bed weather, but some sort of idyllic, vague, magical weather that neither begs us to be outside, nor forces us to snuggle deeper into our twin XLs.

Remember when water was a good thing? Squirt guns that weren’t nearly as threatening? Lapping tides and waterpark lazy rivers? Running through sprinklers? In 1970, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin had a similar instinct: he built a fountain in an urban park in southwest Portland, Oreg., that responded to the frustrating signs on fountains in plazas and parks across the country that expressly prohibit wading (that’s it, picture above). Halprin’s Ira Keller Fountain was meant to climbed on, crawled under, played with — yet it shares none of the jejune aesthetic characteristics often relegated to more less formal public spaces. I’ve never actually been, but fellow M Gal Eliza says it’s one of her favorite spots, despite what I’ve heard about sharp edges and scraped knees.

(image via

If the Keller Fountain boasts water abound, unconstrained, brash, and anarchic, then Roni Horn’s Library of Water in Stykkishólmur, Iceland, is more or less the opposite: the artist took water extracted from glaciers around the country, bottled it up in floor-to-ceiling clear tubes, and placed them in a community center just outside Reykjavik. By creating an archive, so to speak, of Iceland’s water, the project seeks to impose some sort of control and longevity to the world’s turbulent and dynamic natural resource. What’s more, looking through the water columns force us to re-examine what we see:

The Library of Water project, unlike many other public art projects, was not made by a local artist (Horn is New York-based), did not involve locals in the creating process, yet because of water’s very fluid and transparent nature, Horn’s “controlled” public art seems somehow less intrusive than it could have been. The artist reinforced her community-based hopes for the piece in an interview with ArtNews Magazine in 2007:

The title of the project is Library of Water and it is literally a collection of water, but it also and perhaps primarily a community center.

I pretty much hand it over to a group of locals from the community that will be determining the use of the building over time. So I actually have no intention controlling it on a daily basis or even a montly basis. My wish really is that the community will take it on – that they find it to be a meaningful presence in their town and use it accordingly. That’s what the point is, really.

If you want to hear more about the Library of Water, our own Lilah Leopold wrote her senior art history thesis on it (hi Lilah, if you’re out there — sorry I didn’t talk to you first!). You can read about what she wrote here.