Walk around the Montserrat College of Art campus in downtown Beverly, and you’ll encounter art in all sorts of galleries. And in hallways, offices, bathrooms and stairwells. Art is everywhere.
A small show, Stephen LaPierre’s “Clowns with Cell Phones,” runs through May 17 in the President’s Gallery. That would be Montserrat’s president Kurt T. Steinberg, whose office and anteroom are just another place to hang work. Six large oil paintings, with accompanying jaunty texts by LaPierre, depict a montage of clowns (surprise: it’s us) who do distracted things with our omnipresent cell mates.
LaPierre’s “Clowns with Cell Phones” series shows only one aspect of the artist. His web site (www.paintpaintpaint.org) documents his prolific work, with many sets of dayscapes and nightscapes, all painted plein air. He’s painted the vernacular architecture of Key West (lots of road houses and theaters), of Rocky Neck (where the artist currently lives and works), Chicago, Vegas, Europe—LaPierre has traveled and worked everywhere, it seems. He even documented much of the Big Dig. His oils on board or canvas are classically composed and balanced, executed expeditiously but with craft.
LaPierre’s “Cell Phones with Clowns” makes a simple comic statement—anything we all do to excess makes us looks like clowns. It’s fun and direct. Jarrett J. Krosoczka writes and draws for young readers—a trickier audience. A small set of his work, arranged by series, is on view in the Schlosberg Alumni Gallery through June 8.
Krosoczka’s best-known series are his popular “Lunch Lady” graphic novels. Examples from “Monkey Boy,” “Max for President” and others are also on view. His “Hey, Kiddo” series—investigating his own tough childhood—is also represented.
A gallery exhibition of his illustrations shows only part of Krosoczka’s craft, but it does offer the chance to see his straightforward drawings. Matching relevant ideas with compelling images, for a challenging group of readers, is not easy. Krosoczka, who gives the Montserrat commencement speech later this month, lectures about his work at the Cabot Theater on May 16 (www.thecabot.org).
A brief installation during May, in another unusual location, should not be missed. Salem’s Punto Art Museum (www.puntourbanartmuseum.org), an open-air space with real energy, hosts Stephanie Benenson’s latest Harbor Voices installation, “Immigration,” from May 11–19.
Overlapping recorded voices, with accompanying laser artwork, tell another version of the immigrant story. Visitors to Gloucester City Hall in 2017, or the Irish Potato Famine Memorial in Boston last November, will want to experience this latest iteration.
Stephen LaPierre’s “Clowns with Cell Phones” runs through May 17 in the Montserrat College President’s Gallery, 248 Cabot St., Beverly. Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s illustrations are on view through June 8 in the Schlosberg Alumni Gallery. LaPierre’s paintings are shown by appointment: call 978-921-4242, x. 1157 or visit www.montserrat.edu.