SALEM, Mass.—The Peabody Essex Museum’s record-breaking exhibition, Painting Summer in New England, has been named “Best Thematic Museum Show” by the New England chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA/USA). The AICA/USA announced the award in a ceremony this week at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Painting Summer in New England was a testament to the power of curator Trevor Fairbrother’s exceptionally keen and informed eye and an outstanding team of museum staff who helped bring this truly memorable exhibition and publication to life,” said Dan Monroe, executive director and CEO of the Peabody Essex Museum.

The exhibition, which was accompanied by a popular catalogue, now in its second printing, attracted more than 150,000 people to the museum during its run from April 22 to Sept. 4, 2006.

Painting Summer in New England was not just an exhibition. It was an experience--of the dynamic conversation between art and culture, of painting as a powerful voice for communication, and of the relationship between the past and present. The show embodies so much of what the Peabody Essex Museum strives to achieve in its exhibitions and programs--advocating for the power of creativity in people's lives,” said PEM Chief Curator Lynda Hartigan.

Organized by PEM and curated by Trevor Fairbrother, the exhibition featured more than 100 paintings, ranging from the 1850s to the present. New England’s enduring capacity to attract artists to the region in the summer months was a key focus of the show. Paintings were dynamically presented in themes of sea and shore, coastal light, plant life, architecture, urban life, individuals, and New England nudes. Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Andrew Wyeth, Stuart Davis, George Bellows, Marguerite Zorach, Edward Hopper, Lois Dodd, and Alex Katz, are just some of the more than 80 artists represented in Painting Summer.

"I am honored by this award and thank everyone at the Peabody Essex Museum for their part in the project. It is never easy to secure loans for big thematic exhibitions, and it is hard to make the pictures come together in an engaging and unusual way. This award reflects on everyone's effort to turn a very open-ended theme into a special experience," said Trevor Fairbrother.

Painting Summer in New England also served as the centerpiece of Escapes North, a cultural tourism initiative that attracted visitors from around the world to the north of Boston region. Escapes North was founded by the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Peabody Essex Museum, and Essex National Heritage Commission, and funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

The complete 2005/2006 AICA awards:

Best Thematic Museum Show New England
First Place: Painting Summer in New England; organized by the Peabody Essex Museum of Art; curator, Trevor Fairbrother

Second Place: Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History; organized by Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; curator, Nato Thompson

Best Monographic Museum Show New England
First Place:  Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration; organized by the Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston and the Addison Gallery of American Art; curator, Terrie Sultan

Second Place: Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey 1969-2005; organized by the Danforth Museum of Art; curator, Katherine French

Best Monographic Museum Show Boston

First Place: America Starts Here – Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler 1985-1995; organized by Skidmore College and MIT List Visual Arts Center; curators, Ian Berry and Bill Arning

Second Place: David Hockney Portraits; organized by Boston Museum of Fine Arts; curators, Sarah Howgate and Barbara Stern Shapiro

Best Thematic Museum Show Boston-area
First Place: On the Edge: Contemporary Chinese Artists Encounter the West; organized by the Iris and Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College; curator, Britta Erickson

Second Place: Choreographic Turn: Daria Martin, Peter Welz in Collaboration with William Forsythe; organized by MIT List Visual Arts Center; curator, Bill Arning

Best Installation or Single Work of Art in a Museum New England
First Place: Xu Bing: Any Opinions?; organized by the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College; curator, Anja Chavez

Second Place: Carsten Holler: Amusement Park; organized by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; curators, Joe Thompson, Nato Thompson, and Larry Smallwood

Best Installation or Single Work of Art in a Museum Boston-area
First Place: Jessica Stockholder: Rawhide Harangue of Aching Indices as Told by Light; organized by Barbara and Steven Grossman Gallery, School of the Museum of Fine Arts; curator, Joanna Soltan

Second Place: Paul Chan: 1st Light, Momentum 5; organized by the ICA Boston; curator, Bennett Simpson

Best Show in a Commercial Gallery Boston-area
First Place: Taylor Davis; Samson Projects

Second place: Neeta Madahar: Nature Studies; Howard Yezerski Gallery

Best Show in a Commercial Gallery New England
First Place: Neal T. Walsh; Gallery Agniel, Providence, RI; curator, Sara Agniel

Second Place: New Visions: Mike Berg, Paul Chojnowski, and Ray Charles White; Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA; curator, Jo Ellen Harrison

Best Show of an Emerging Artist Boston-area

First Place: Joe Zane: Personality; Allston Skirt Gallery

Second Place: Gary Duehr: Car Obscura; Gallery Kayafas

Best Show in an Alternative Space Boston-area
First Place: Joe Wardwell: Solo; The Green Street Gallery; curator: James Hull

Second Place: Liz Nofziger: Grate (Black Gold); Second Gallery; curator, Rebecca Gordon

Best Monographic Show in Institutional/University Gallery Boston-area
First Place: Shintaro Miyake: The Beaver Project; organized by the Sara and David Bakalar Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art; curator, Lisa Tung

Second Place: Penelope Jencks; organized by Boston University School of the Visual Arts, 808 Gallery; curator, Lynne Cooney

Best Group Show in Institutional/University Gallery Boston-area
First Place: Pattern Language: Clothing as Communicator; organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery; curator, Judith Fox

Second Place: Four Artists in Search of the Intangible; organized by Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College; curator, Bob Oppenheim

Best Group Show in Institutional/University Gallery or Non-Profit Space, New England
First Place: From Baja to Bar Harbor: Transnational Contemporary Art; organized by The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Portland, Maine; curator, Toby Kamps

Second Place: Voice: Women in Contemporary Art; organized by the Providence Art Club. Providence, RI; curator, Kara Walker

Best Group Show in a Commercial Gallery Boston-area
First Place: Don't Abandon the Ship; Allston Skirt Gallery; curator, Eddie Martinez

Second Place: Katherine Jackson, Pamela Harris, Eva Lee, William Weiss: New Works on Paper; O.H +T Gallery

Best Project in a Public Space Boston-area

First Place: Michael Dowling, Medicine Wheel; Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts

Second Place: Ellen Driscoll, Filament/Firmament; Cambridge Arts Council; curator, Hafthor Yngvason

Best Architecture or Design Show
First Place: A Chain of Events: Modernist Architecture on the Outer Cape: Marcel Breuer to Charles Jencks; organized by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum; curators, Bob Bailey and Peter McMahon

Second Place: Light My Fire: Rock Posters from the Summer of Love; organized by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; curator, Patrick Murphy

Best Historical Show Boston-area
First Place: Gentile Bellini and the East; organized by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; curators, Alan Chong and Caroline Campbell

Second Place: Frank Stella 1958; organized by Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum; curators, Harry Cooper and Megan R. Luke

Best Exhibition of Time Based Art Boston-area (Film, Video, and Performance)
First Place: Brian Knep: Deep Wounds; Memorial Hall, Harvard University; organized by the Office of the Arts at Harvard and Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School

Second Place: ArtRages Festival; organized by Mobius

Second Annual AICA/ New England Special Recognition Award

Jill Medvedow, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston


The New England chapter of AICA/USA is the first chapter outside New York City to initiate regional awards in visual arts selected by the area’s member art critics. AICA, the only organization to award excellence in museum and gallery exhibitions, was founded in 1949 as a non-governmental affiliate of UNESCO. The Paris-based Association Internationale des Critiques d”Art (AICA) comprises 4,000 members in 74 national sections around the world. The organization aims to further and protect the field of art criticism, to facilitate international communications among critics, and to act on behalf of the physical preservation and moral defense of works of art. AICA/USA is the largest national section of the international organization with some 300 members.



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