Fans of this genre can traverse across exurban Rhode Island this weekend and hit up both openings. The “Nothing To See Here” show at OneWay Gallery on Boon Street in Narragansett opens on Saturday night, from 5 to 8 pm. The “RESIST” show at the Van Vessem Gallery at Sandywoods in Tiverton opens on Sunday, from 2 to 5pm.
Boon Street, one block removed from the Narragansett sea wall, and Sandywoods, an urban planning approach to intentional community, are both ideal destinations for the first spring weekend in Rhode Island. Both shows will have snacks and drinks and lots of good people talking about art and politics.
“RESIST is an exhibition of responses to the political climate of the United States,” reads an announcement for the month-long show at the Van Vessem Gallery at Sandywoods in Tiverton. “We invited artists to show work that deals with the viscerality of politics. Work that eschews pithy or sophomoric commentary for subtlety and depth. Work that acknowledges history and its inextricable relation to the present. Work that recognizes emotion as a valid genesis for politics.”
There are more than 30 artists expected to show their work, including Sally Mendzela, often featured in RI Future for her political activism.
“In conjunction with the gallery opening, there will be an opportunity for people to mingle, listen to poetry, music, meditate etc. This event will happen in the Sandywoods Center for the Arts, next door to the gallery.” Performing artists include: Len Cabral, Christopher Johnson, Jon Campbell, and Quahog Quire.
Even the announcement for the Sandywoods show, which is really worth a read, is itself a work of art:
“We wanted work that seeks and advocates for political solutions heartier and more potent than the ever-nebulous entity of ‘love,'” it reads. “Work with bark and bite. Work that celebrates bodies on the periphery, bodies in danger, bodies that might be deemed insufficiently human in a culture saturated with rightism.
We wanted work that questions art as a politically useful mode of production. Work that encourages the viewer to go beyond aesthetics and toward activism. Work that questions itself, work that implicates the viewer, work that unsettles the pristine space of art and brings us into the violence and fear of material reality.”
The Van Vassem Gallery is donating half of its profits from the show to the ACLU, and artists are encouraged to donate to a political cause, as well.
“If the punditry’s utter failure to predict or understand the mainstream acceptance of Trump is any indication, talk is exceedingly cheap,” says the announcement. “In the interest of putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak, we asked that all participating artists donate a portion of any work sold to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or any other organization of their choice.”