The images themselves are unassuming, small and faded. It can be like that at the birth of a new medium, a new technology. And thanks to the Yale Center for British Art’s absorbing special exhibit, “Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860,” we get a sense of what it was like to be present at the creation, to be there for photography’s first hesitant steps, and then, like a gifted child, its astonishingly quick spread across the globe — full of promise and already containing the seeds of the medium’s future. It connects to now in a flash.
In The Saddest Day, a man looking for his brother is helped and accosted by a man wearing a cheerleader’s outfit. In Steeping, a detective who keeps getting beaten up on the trail of an investigation doesn’t know how much he’s being played — until he does. In G.R.C.E., a space explorer runs into trouble on his mission. And in Friendly Advice in a Coffee Shop, a woman and a man try to renegotiate a relationship, but their cleverness keeps getting in the way.
They all have a few elements in common. They have characters named Grace Broha. They have cheerleaders. They have the line “let me tell you something.” And most of them were made in New Haven — all of them as part of New Haven’s chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project, now in its eighth year and going strong.
It’s an ocean of undulating plastic, crinkly blue waves rising and falling. From a distance it looks soft, almost like yarn. When you get closer you can tell it isn’t. And then you notice, up in the corner, our lonely planet, on the verge of drowning.
Lost at Sea is one of several works in “Remixed: A Kaleidoscope of Plastic,” on view at the gallery in the Ives branch of the New Haven Free Public Library on Elm Street now until Sept. 7. In the exhibit, artist Marsha Borden examines, with equal parts playfulness and pensiveness, the strange dynamic in the way we casually acquire and dispose of single-use plastic bags in our day-to-day lives, and the way they are accumulating at an alarming rate across the globe.
To commemorate the end of World War I a century ago, the New Haven Museum has added a second exhibit alongside the comic flash of “The Courier.” This exhibit, titled simply Gilbert, focuses on the experience of one pilot from New Haven in the Great War, and in doing so, makes this vast historical event utterly personal.
In an impossibly pastoral setting — fading classical architecture, a swooning, partly cloudy sky, distant mountains rising from the shores of a lake — a wealthy family is more interested in keeping up appearances than celebrating the day, while a few of its members fumble with lawn furniture. Elsewhere, possibly in another part of this vast estate, two men beat the living crap out of a third man under gathering clouds and circling birds.
Welcome to the works in John Goto’s “High Summer,” a collection of campy, funny, and sometimes menacing images that do a thorough job of tearing down the past and pointing us toward an uncertain future.
What do a Tyrannosaurus Rex carrying a Hobbit in its mouth, a lederhosen-wearing man and his pregnant wife standing outside their trailer with a three-legged dog, and a bunch of big eyed ducklings sliding down a rainbow emitting from a unicorn’s backside have in common?
Well, they actually have three things in common. First, they are all characters from New England Brewing Company’s beer labels. Second, they are all on display at an art show at Kehler Liddell Gallery that premieres this Saturday, July 14. And third, they were all birthed in the mind of artist Craig Gilbert.
Shadowy ciphers stand in a crowd, their relationships to each other unclear. Some of them are on their phones. Some are walking. Some are standing. Are they talking to one another or just passing by? Do they even notice one another?