The Current: Name Changed, Art Continues
Formerly the Helen Day Art Center
The former Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont has changed its name to The Current after it was revealed, according to the Center, that Day, an early founder and benefactor, “espoused deeply held anti-Semitic and racist beliefs.” The new name now greets the viewer on the stairway (photo, above) and may be particularly appropriate for a center devoted to contemporary art.
Just above the library and a block from Stowe’s main street, the exhibitions, not to mention the spirit of the place, have survived the name change. A principal exhibition is Meleko Mokgosi: Scripto-visual. Mokgosi is Botswana-born and resides in Brooklyn NY; his art combines visual, often representational, work with text. The textual pieces in this exhibition are from the works of African-American or African authors. Sometimes a text stands alone, sometimes it is paired with an image, and in some pieces the text itself is annotated with the artist’s notes in script. The images are visually arresting. Time is required to absorb and reflect on the textual content. Better perhaps to concentrate on a single work or two and take it in slowly.
Pieces of You, an exhibition by central Vermont artist Crystal Stokes, occupies a smaller viewing space/library called the Art Lounge. What seem like photographic images are actually paintings. Stokes uses black and white acrylic paints to render faces, often in shadow and pushing out from dark negative space, each a portrait of one of her own family members. In addition to being beautifully done, the subject matter is a welcome reintroduction—in these days, still, of masks—to the intricacies of the human face. And the exhibition provides an opportunity to study faces rather than making do with a mere and occasional glimpse.
A rescheduled conversation between artist Mokgosi and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (formerly curator of African Art at the closer-to-home Hood Museum at Dartmouth College in Hanover NH), will take place at The Current on August 28, 2021 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
For more information about The Current: A Center for Contemporary Art, click here.
(Photo, top, by Susan B. Apel)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.