Irish Art Now

McMullen Exhibit Will Examine Cultural Shift

By Rosanne Lafiosca Pellegrini
Staff Writer

The McMullen Museum of Art will be the venue for the North American debut of "Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political" - a major traveling exhibition which begins its tour at BC from Oct. 1 through Dec. 12.

The exhibition, which comprises 40 works by 13 Irish artists - including paintings, installations, photography and video - is drawn primarily from the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. "Irish Art Now" is curated by Declan McGonagle, IMMA's founding director.

"This exhibition speaks to the cultural changes in Ireland which are studied so intensely and through so many disciplines in the world, including the renowned Irish Studies Program and Irish Institute at Boston College," according to McMullen Museum of Art Director Nancy Netzer.

The exhibition will open formally on Sunday, Oct. 3. Sean O'Huiginn, Ireland's ambassador to the United States, is expected to attend the 2 p.m. event.

This oil-on-canvas by Ciaran Lennon, titled "1/3/92B," is among the pieces featured in the upcoming McMullen Museum of Art exhibition "Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political." The exhibition will open Oct. 1.
Organized by Independent Curators International in collaboration with IMMA, "Irish Art Now" testifies to the profound political, social, economic and cultural changes Ireland has experienced during the 1990s. In response, Ireland's artists have begun to redefine traditional identities - raising questions about the relationships between male and female, urban and rural, North and South, history and the present. According to organizers, such struggle and debate over identities, which previously marginalized Ireland and societies like it, is now a topic of urgent cultural debate across the globe, which makes the exhibition exceptionally timely.

"Irish Art Now" presents new art from both emerging and internationally recognized artists, who use traditional and unconventional media. The artists, organizers note, focus on traumas of the past, such as the Great Famine, and on the present - the "Troubles," for example, and issues of religion, identity, and sexuality.

Among the artists featured in the exhibition are sculptor and photographer Dorothy Cross, painter Alice Maher, multi-media artist Kathy Prendergast, photographers Paul Seawright and Willie Doherty, video artist Caroline McCarthy and painter Mark Francis.

A number of events related to the McMullem Museum have been planned throughout the fall semester. "Carthaginians" by Frank McGuinness - one of Ireland's most important contemporary playwrights - will launch the 1999-2000 season at Robsham Theater Oct. 14-17. A musical performance featuring musicians from Sarajevo and Belfast will be held on Oct. 2, and an evening of traditional Irish music will be held on Nov. 17.

Lectures on Irish art are slated for Oct. 25 and Oct. 28; lectures on Irish drama will be offered on Sept. 21 and Oct. 7; and lectures on Irish politics will be held on Nov. 8 and 11. Each will be presented by an Irish academic.

In addition, a film series titled "Irish Fresh!" will include screenings of "Lamb" on Oct. 5, "Pigs" and "Korea" on Oct. 12, "The General" on Oct. 19, and "Divorcing Jack" on Oct. 26.

[Details on all events can be found in Calendar]

In addition, a forthcoming volume of the periodical Eire-Ireland: The Journal of the Irish-American Cultural Institute will include related essays by Irish and American scholars, particularly those from the Boston College Irish Studies Program.

Guided tours of the McMullen Museum are conducted every Friday at 12:30 p.m.

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