Rochester Art Collectors agrees. We think Western New York needs deeper and more frequent public conversations about the art that is exhibited in our midst.
Last fall in conjunction with Current Scene, the Small Venue Biennial developed by Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo), Rochester Art Collectors co-sponsored a panel discussion titled "The State of Art Writing In Rochester" with panelists Rebecca Rafferty of City Newspaper; Colin Dabkowski, former arts critic for The Buffalo News; noted author, Robin L. Flanigan; Karen vanMeenen, former editor of the media arts journal Afterimage (currently at Writers & Books); and panel moderator, Sarah Webb, active in the Rochester art community over twenty-five years as an independent curator, educator, writer and artist. The panel discussed the need for more coverage of the arts as well as more critical conversations about art itself. Audience participation at the end of the presentation clearly indicated strong support for both.
It so happened that just a few weeks before Current Scene opened Cornelia Magazine, produced by The Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art, published it's inaugural issue and launched it's website in August. The timing of Cornelia’s first issue was an ideal backdrop for the panel discussion. The founders and editors, Emily Ebba Reynolds and Nando Alvarez-Perez (who also happen to be married), came to the discussion at RoCo and offered their views on the topic at hand.
Cornelia sets out to achieve the following goals:
We read the first issue of Cornelia cover-to-cover as soon as we got our hands on a hard copy the night of the panel at RoCo and loved it! The second issue was published in December. We read all of Issue #2 online and it didn’t disappoint. We picked up a hard copy just recently at RoCo. Why bother with the hard copy? Because we’re collectors, dammit!
As you might expect, Cornelia focuses mostly on art exhibitions in the Greater Buffalo area and looks longingly northward towards the metropolis of Toronto. Why not? Buffalo and Toronto are the dominant artistic powerhouses in our region. And it must be said we love Buffalo's and Toronto's art scenes. Bringing solid information about those scenes to a Rochester audience is a huge benefit.
While Rochester isn't a focus Reynolds and Alvarez-Perez have gone out of their way to include writers and exhibitions from our area. In their second issue they devote quite a lot of ink to Current Scene, for example. They’re writer, Dana Tyrrel, not only offered a summary and description of that ambitious program he also offered observations on how to improve next time around. I'm not sure we agree with his assessment but we sure appreciated his point of view and the fact he had a forum to offer his point of view. That's what this is all about: a healthy, respectful conversation. We look forward to reading issue #3!
Header image © Roy Sowers 1999
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