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Gallery’s Closed—But Still Exhibiting

by Allan Appel | Aug 30, 2013 2:09 pm

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Posted to: Arts & Culture, Visual Arts

Allan Appel Photo I’d be careful tearing into this pasta unless you like your spaghetti made of yarn with bits of metallic costume jewelry studding the meatballs.

The eye-, if not tastebud-appealing, dish, is currently sitting in the window of City Gallery on upper State Street.

The window art display was left there by the cooperative artists at a venue that has closed until after Labor Day.

The works that surround the spaghetti plate are ball or globular shaped and made from papier mache or metal that, taken together, make that yarn spaghetti seem tastier than ever.

In the window, the exhibition is called Ball, although on the gallery’s website it is called Play Ball.  That perhaps inadvertent discrepancy has disappointed one art appreciator who expected at least to see, among the circular shapes,  an autographed 1956 Yankee hardball.

Ah, summertime for the arts in New Haven.

City Gallery’s anonymous window display for August, when the gallery is closed, is not the only tack galleries have taken to deal with a month of being closed.

Creative Arts Workshop has an annual competition to use the two-story high brightly lit window space to mount a full scale exhibition or installation during CAW’s month-long vacation. Click here for a story about “Inside Out Inside,” the current exhibition in the spacious window and lobby on Audubon Street.

It also stays there until the new season begins.

Meanwhile over in Westville, the folks at Kehler Liddell have chosen not use their window to make current art but to announce the exhibitions of Sven Martson and Hank Paper that will inaugurate the gallery season this September.

Back over at City Gallery, after I stopped obsessing about the pasta, I noticed that the right-side window also has globe-like shapes and is also part of the exhibition, although here too the artist or artists are not named.

. But City Gallery is a cooperative enterprise. So let’s call this just a group effort.

“Anyone can participate, very informal, about half the gallery members did,” said paper artist Jennifer Davies, who said the window exhibition has been going for about four Augusts.

And as to the name, “the theme is something to do with a ball, and the ‘play’ is whatever the artist wanted to do. Playing with the theme. People can do whatever they want, and they did,” she added.

Here, on the right side, the globes or balls seem to be less certain of their globular identity. The nearest the viewer peering in from the sidewalk is a globe-ish shape made of old wire whose tentacles can’t seem to decide to form a circumference or not.

Another is a circular bunch of heavy nautical rope that seems to unravel itself down from a pedestal onto the flat inside the window.

Taken as a whole, and viewed through the globalized lenses of our era, an apocalyptic view particularly appropriate for the dog days of summer, our good old globular planet appears very much in crisis.

Is this window display, made for meditation of such issues by passers-by, suggesting that art can make some contribution to solving or at least dwelling on our long list of global crises?

Or does the window display have nothing to do with global warming?

Should we also, or instead, view it as an acknowledgement that art is also commerce that has to compete with Planet Apizza and Rani’s Wine and Liquor, whose window displays adjacent to the City Gallery very much make statements of their own?

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