Art exhibitions: The Seven Deadly Sins

The Fairfield/Westchester Museum Alliance (FWMA), a group of art institutions in Connecticut and New York, is running an exhibition series this summer and fall on the Seven Deadly Sins. Each of the member institutions is presenting one of the sins. According to the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, “The seven exhibitions will spark discourse on the nature of sin, penitence and, conversely, virtue and goodness. The featured artists will prompt visitors to consider what it means to be a human capable of sin and to live in a global community where sin is prevalent.”

Below is the list of exhibitions, sorted by opening date.

Lust | Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art | April 19–July 26, 2015

The HVCCA is using its “lust” assignment to explore contemporary sexual relations. A true-to-the-theme exhibition would comment on the potentially harmful effects of lust rather than use the topic as a pretext for images that merely titillate, so I’m giving the HVCCA the benefit of a doubt, even though the lineup—which includes the erotic fetish art of Gilles Berquet and Betty Tomkins’s photorealistic paintings of hetero- and homosexual sex acts in extreme close-up—makes me skeptical. I don’t think I’ll be attending this one, though I am curious to see how the topic is presented.

Envy (fairy tale)

Adrien Broom, Envy and Temptation, 2015. Digital print.

Envy | Hudson River Museum | June 6–September 27, 2015

This one-woman show features the beautifully bizarre photographs of Adrien Broom. Life-size scenes from fairy tales—some familiar, some not so familiar—show us what envy looks like and what it can drive us to. The Evil Queen from Snow White is given special prominence. 

Wrath | Wave Hill | June 7–September 7, 2015

Rather than address human wrath, the Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill has chosen to curate an exhibition on the wrath of nature. Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and forest fires feature here, evoking the power and precariousness of our environment.

Proud as a peacock

Gabriel Schachinger, Sweet Reflections, 1886. Oil on canvas, 51 x 31 in. Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia.

Pride | Bruce Museum | June 27October 18, 2015

The Bruce Museum has taken the most traditional approach, bringing together art of various media from the Renaissance through today centered on this theme of pride. Explore the heights of mankind’s vanity and the depths of the resultant falls.

Gluttony | Katonah Museum of Art | July 12–September 16, 2015

Titled “The Delicacy of Decomposition,” this exhibition comprises installations by artist Emilie Clark, who uses her family’s preserved food waste to create pieces that retain the quality of old-world still life paintings but that also comment on society’s self-indulgence and overconsumption.

Greed | Neuberger Museum of Art | July 12–October 11, 2015

Previously on view at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, “GOLD” showcases the use of this most precious of metals in contemporary art. Some artists use gold to elevate mundane objects, like a trash can (Sylvie Fleury) or a McDonald’s cup (Dario Escobar), while others use it to condemn unjust practices (Robin Rhode’s Spade) or to memorialize an event (Glenn Kaino’s 19.83). What new meanings might these gilded artworks take on when viewed in the context of greed?

Sloth | Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum | July 19–October 18, 2015

Artist Mats Bigert and Cabinet magazine editor in chief Sina Najafi have organized a piece of performance art to illustrate sloth—casting you as one of the performers! The first floor and porch of the Aldrich will be outfitted with Bob-O-Pedic recliners and television monitors that transmit video footage of the other six exhibitions in the series so that you don’t have to travel to any of the other venues to benefit from the work of those curators and artists.

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