To paraphrase a popular commercial for Chevrolet cars: The new Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum isn’t your father’s museum. With the recently opened Renzo Piano wing, the Gardner is a new Boston destination.
And, emphasizing its new identity, this summer the museum is featuring “Magic Moments: The Screen and The Eye,” nine unique films by nine experimental artists who over the years have been in the museum’s artist-in-residence program. The films explore complex themes, including historical, political, social, and conceptual subjects. The artists’ visions, documentary and artistic, reflect a thoughtful consideration of technique and challenging topics. A different projection is featured every week. Tickets for the films include museum admission.
July 25-30 – Empyrean, by Cliff Evans, is a seven minute film “creates a loose but provocative narrative around power and population control,” often with a humorous subtext. Made in 2007, the film reflects on what Evans considers absurd traditions and disturbing pathologies, including wellness tourism, missionary practices, and militaristic domination. Evans, a multi-media artist concerned with political and contemporary culture, has exhibited widely in the United States and honored with awards.
August 1-6 – File Room Slideshow by Dayanita Singh presents 41 black-and-white photographs from the File Room series shown as part of Illuminations at the 2010 Venice Biennale that depicts paper archives from across India. Represented in international collections, she is best known for her images of interior spaces, architecture, and working people in India. Her books, some without words, are an experiment with different ways of producing and viewing photographs.
August 8-13 – Travels with Isabella, Luisa Rabbia’s 2008 film, is a video composite of archival photographs of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s 1883 trip to China, augmented by Rabbia’s drawing and digital art. In cutting, reframing, combining and pasting images and drawings, the artist has created a fantastic journey and two personal experiences. Rabbia is a surreal story teller and this 27 minute film displays her personal style. Her works are part of the permanent installations at galleries and museums in the U.S. and abroad.
August 15-20 – No Show, a 2004 film by Melvin Moti, is about an historical event during World War II at a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hermitage. The film reflects on an exhibition, which only appears to the eye through a conscious act of imagination. Typically, Moti is interested in giving form to a forgotten incident, historical moment, or scientific fact, which he researches and studies intensively. He slows the interplay between sound and action, giving his films an almost hypnotic effect, so that viewers will actively participate by listening and observing. His films are exhibited internationally. This week, he is launching a special edition magazine.
For information about the films, artist talks, live music, and to experience Gardner After Hours, the new wing at night, call 617-566-1401.