Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Connecticut Book Award 2009 Finalists Announced

Connecticut Book Awards
Sunday, September 20, 2009, 2pm
Hartford Public Library
Awards program free and open to the public
Reception with book signings will be a ticketed event: nominated books will be for sale and all attending finalists will be available to sign their books. Tickets are $45.
Contact: by 14 September to reserve

The Freedom Business, Including a Narrative of the Life & Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa, illustrated by acclaimed painter and UConn professor Deborah Dancy, is a finalist for two book awards.

Jessica Helfand's Scrapbooks: An American History is a finalist for design.

Press Release:

This tribute to Connecticut’s vigorous and varied literary community recognizes and honors books with specific ties to our state: the author, illustrator, or designer must be native-born or have been a legal resident of Connecticut for at least three years, or the book must have a Connecticut setting in order to be considered. Eligible books are those first published in the previous calendar year. Katharine Weber, winner of the 2008 award for Fiction, said that the Awards, “remind us that our state not only possesses a magnificent literary heritage but also has a significant, thriving contemporary population of notable writers of all persuasions.”

Winners in each category will be announced for the first time during the program. Meriden-born children’s book author/illustrator Tomie dePaola will deliver the keynote. Published for 40 years and author/illustrator of more than 200 books, his work has been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award, and Smithsonian Institution's Smithson Medal. Matthew K. Poland, Interim Co-Director of Hartford Public Library, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Fran Keilty, proprietor of Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, will speak on behalf of the Connecticut Center for the Book Advisory Council, as its Chairperson. The Lifetime Achievement in Service to the Literary Community Award will be presented to Bessy Reyna during the ceremony.

Finalists for 2009:


Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism
Viking, Written by Kevin Phillips

Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation
Pantheon, Written by Charles Barber

Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003
Viking, Written by William N. Eskridge, Jr.

The Quest for Democracy in Iran: A Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule
Harvard University Press, Written by Fakhreddin Azimi

Thinking Beyond the Unthinkable: Harnessing Doom from the Cold War to the Age of Terror
Viking, Written by Jonathan Stevenson

Biography & Memoir

Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend
The University of Georgia Press, Written by Steve Courtney

The Prodigal Daughter: Reclaiming an Unfinished Childhood
University of Missouri Press, Written by Margaret Gibson

Children’s Author

Fly, Monarch, Fly!
Marshall Cavendish Children, Written by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

The Freedom Business, Including a Narrative of the Life & Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa
Wordsong: Boyds Mills Press, Written by Marilyn Nelson

Waiting for Normal
Katherine Tegen Books: HarperCollins Publishers, Written by Leslie Connor

Children’s Illustrator

Baseball Hour
Marshall Cavendish Children, Illustrated by Bill Thomson

The Freedom Business, Including a Narrative of the Life & Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa
Wordsong: Boyds Mills Press, Illustrated by Deborah Dancy

The Wolves Are Back
Dutton Children’s Books: Penguin Young Readers Group, Illustrated by Wendell Minor


Scrapbooks: An American History
Yale University Press, Designed by Jessica Helfand


Dinosaurs on the Roof
Simon & Schuster, Written by David Rabe

Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn
HarperCollins, Written by Alice Mattison

Songs for the Missing
Viking, Written by Stewart O’Nan


Let’s Not Call It Consequence
Shearsman Books (UK), Written by Richard Deming

The Odes of Horace
The Johns Hopkins University Press, Translated by Jeffrey H. Kaimowitz

Present Vanishing
Sarabande Books, Written by Dick Allen

This program is made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saturday night show and party at New Britain Artists Cooperative

New Britain Artists Cooperative
66 West Main St., New Britain
Summer Art Series #2
Opening reception: Sat., Aug. 29, 7-11 p.m.

Press release

This show will be the second and final installation in the SUMMER ART SERIES. (Not for us throwing them, just for summer) It is going to be a small works show featuring the up-and-coming artists of the Greater Hartford Area. We will be also throwing an Open-Mic situation with a few set acts. This includes Petite Mal and Split Frontier.

So come and enjoy the music, food, drinks, and of course the art.

7-11 p.m. is the official time for the big shots, but we will be partying until we can't anymore. We have also combined with the girls down the hall (Abby Jensen). They will also be featuring artists from Central Connecticut State University, as well as their own work. The rest of the studios will be displaying their work on the walls of the remaining floors: 3-5.

We will definitely have returning artists and more new artists!

"As an artist you're looking for universal triggers. You want it both ways. You want it to have an immediate impact, and you want it to have deep meanings as well. I'm striving for both. But I hate it when people write things that sound like they've swallowed a fucking dictionary."- Damien Hirst


At the newly formed artist cooperative in New Britain, there is an eclectic group of young artists gathering. From painters to sculptors to video artists, the up-and-comers of the Hartford area are displaying their work. The New Britain Artist Cooperative has been kind enough to host a series of Do-It-Yourself art show/parties-a chance for the young artists to display their work in an art scene that isn't very accepting of new artists.

In Connecticut, it's all about who you know and what connections you have. In order to get a show at any of the "prestigious" institutions in the Hartford or New Haven area, it comes down to one's connections. The New Britain Artist Cooperative, along with Steve Rand, have taken it upon themselves to help these artists display their work and create a reason for them to continue working. In the vein of Warholesque factory parties, these shows become a venue for people to see cutting-edge art/music and have some fun at the same time-breaking down the associated pretentious stereotypes that are conjured up when one thinks of the art world. This is a declaration against the system. This is a rebirth. This is a testament by true artists.

These shows will be happening every two months. The next one is set to occur on August 29th, Saturday 7-11 p.m. as the conclusion of the Summer Art Series.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Clash by NIght: Gelah Penn at Real Art Ways

Gelah Penn, "The Naked Kiss," 2009. Site specific installation at McKenzie Fine Art, New York, NY.

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Gelah Penn
Clash by Night
August 20–October 11, 2009.
Opening: Thursday, August 20, 6-8 PM
Artist Talk: Thursday, September 24, 6 pm

Press release

Gelah Penn’s work is both sparse and substantial. Her site-specific installation presents jagged, three dimensional lines, shapes, and colors set against stark white walls. The unconventional materials used in her work include vinyl lanyard, monofilament, plastic mesh, rubber & vinyl tubing, plastic & Styrofoam balls, and upholstery needles. “In my recent work I explore the linear language of drawing in three-dimensional space using the lexicon of gestural abstraction," Penn explains. "By manipulating colored monofilament and other tendril-like materials, I mean to construct a kind of substantive ephemerality, an accretion of marks and their shadows delineating maelstroms of visual noise; a luminous expanse in suspended animation, conjuring microscopic activity, arterial systems, dust, and weather.”

Gelah Penn was born in Beaver Falls, PA, and attended the San Francisco Art Institute and Brandeis University. Exhibition history includes solo and group exhibitions at the Kentler International Drawing Space, Smack Mellon, and the Sculpture Center.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Drunken Boat at the Hygienic on Saturday Night

Hygienic Art
83 Bank St., New London, (860) 443-8001
August 15, 2009, 7—10 p.m.

Drunken Boat Founding Editor Ravi Shankar with friends.

International online arts journal Drunken Boat celebrates its tenth anniversary with a multimedia blowout on Saturday night at the Hygienic Arts Park. DB Founding Editor Ravi Shankar promises an evening of literary alchemy and intermedia performance featuring Mat Bevel, from the Surrealistic Pop Science Theatre in Tucson, AZ and the maestero of “a gizmotronic fanfare of spunk, funk and kinetic junk,” as well as rare video footage of Charles Olson, father of the Maximus Poems and the Black Mountain School, Harlem native and vocal deconstructor Latasha Natasha Diggs, a short film from Guggenheim Fellow and stereoscopic projectionist Zoe Beloff, and literary stylings from the translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Adam Golaski, Larissa Shmailo the 2009 New Century Music Award Winner for spoken word with jazz, electronica, and rock, web artist Steve Ersinghaus, PEN/Faulkner award winner and screenplay writer Sabina Murray and New London’s own native son, novelist and frequent contributor the New York Times, Rand Richards Cooper.