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When you're standing in front of a work of art and looking at it, you're looking at the mind of another human being

When you're standing in front of a work of art and looking at it, you’re looking at the mind of another human being.

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When you’re standing in front of a work of art and looking at it, you’re looking at the mind of another human being.

Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Case Study
© 2016 theFinch.net & Richard Benari

Cover: Alex Katz, Small Paintings, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Bruce Brown Gallery, June 26 – August 17, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence

Twenty-sixteen was a sea change year for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Founded in 1952 as an artists’ collaborative (then called Maine Coast Artists), CMCA was nomadic. Future heavyweights like Alex Katz, Louise Nevelson, Lois Dodd and Fairfield Porter showed work in spaces that sat, conceptually, as far from the Chelsea “white cube” as you can get: a town office, a barn, and a potato barrel storage loft.

By 1967, CMCA found a permanent home in a former firehouse and livery stable in Rockport. The exhibition program grew, education programs were launched — and so was a biennial, which since 1978 has maybe been the riskiest move, asking the one and only full-time curator (today, there are two) to install works picked by jurors that are under no obligation to consider the space in which it is shown. And as programs and attendance grew, so did the need for a more forgiving and expansive space. So in June 2016, CMCA opened new doors on a new space in Rockland. Designed by architect Toshiko Mori to maximize the Maine coast’s legendary light, and with an eye toward balancing traditional and new, electronic mediums, CMCA’s new galleries and courtyard provide a kind of laboratory for exhibitions of contemporary art. We sat down with CMCA Executive Director and Chief Curator Suzette McAvoy to talk about the design of the galleries, then with artists Don Voisine and Lauren Henkin, whose 2016 exhibitions were part of CMCA’s inaugural cycle, to discuss how their work engaged the space.

© 2016 theFinch.net & Richard Benari
Suzette McAvoy

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Builds in Rockland, Maine
Suzette CMCA 1
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME. Toshiko Mori, Architect; Cold Mountain Builders, Construction. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Main Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Suzette CMCA 2
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Main Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Main Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Suzette CMCA 3
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Main Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Main Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Suzette CMCA 4
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Lobby. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Lobby. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Suzette CMCA 5
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Bruce Brown Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Bruce Brown Gallery. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Suzette CMCA 5a
Alex Katz, Small Paintings, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Bruce Brown Gallery, June 26 – August 17, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Alex Katz, Small Paintings, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Bruce Brown Gallery, June 26, 2016 – August 17, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence

Suzette McAvoy is Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. She previously served as chief curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.

© 2016 theFinch.net & Richard Benari
Don Voisine: X/V

Center for Maine Contemporary Art
September 2, 2016 – October 30, 2016
DV CMCA Install 1
Don Voisine, X/V, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Don Voisine, X/V. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Don Voisine, X/VInstallation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
DV CMCA Install 3
Don Voisine, X/V, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Don Voisine, X/V. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Don Voisine, X/VInstallation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
DV CMCA Install 2
Don Voisine, X/V, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Don Voisine, X/V. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Don Voisine, X/VInstallation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
DV CMCA Install 4
Don Voisine, X/V, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Don Voisine, X/V. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Don Voisine, X/VInstallation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: Jonathan Laurence
Voisine Crossway (CMCA)
Don Voisine, Crossway, 2015, 32 x 32 in, oil on wood panel. © & courtesy of the artist
Voisine Crossway 2015
Don Voisine, Crossway, 2015, 32 x 32 in, oil on wood panel. © & courtesy of the artist
Voisine Elvis (CMCA)
Don Voisine, Double Elvis, 2013 46 x 88 in, oil on wood panel. © & courtesy of the artist
Voisine Double Elvis 2013
Don Voisine, Double Elvis, 2013 46 x 88 in, oil on wood panel. © & courtesy of the artist

Don Voisine’s most recent exhibitions include Abstraction: Stephen Westfall, Don Voisine, Kate Petley, Marcelyn McNeil, Jason Karolak, Wendi Harford, Lloyd Martin, Robischon Gallery, Denver (Jan 12 – Mar 4, 2017) and the pattern reveals itself: 30 artists from Europe and the United States, Claudia Weil Galerie, Friedberg-Rinnenthal, Germany (through Jan 29, 2017).

© 2016 theFinch.net & Richard Benari
Lauren Henkin: Second Nature

Center for Maine Contemporary Art
August 28, 2016 – October 23, 2016
LH CMCA Install 1
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: theFinch.net
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: theFinch.net
LH CMCA Install 2
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: theFinch.net
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: theFinch.net
LH CMCA Install 3
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: theFinch.net
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: theFinch.net
LH CMCA Install 4
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: theFinch.net
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: theFinch.net
LH CMCA Install 5
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature, 2016. Installation, Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Photo: theFinch.net
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016
Lauren Henkin, Second Nature. Installation, Maine Center for Contemporary Art, 2016. Photo: theFinch.net
LH Poppies (CMCA)
Lauren Henkin, Poppies, 2014, 32 x 40 in, pigment on rag. © & courtesy of the artist
Lauren Henkin Poppies 2014
Lauren Henkin, Poppies, 2014, 32 x 40 in, pigment on rag. © & courtesy of the artist

Lauren Henkin’s What’s Lost is Found, the Birmingham Museum of Art, runs through June 11, 2017. She co-edits theFinch.net.

© 2016 theFinch.net & Richard Benari
Elsewhere on the Finch

We can imagine space as a clocking, timekeeping paradigm. Something tangible emerges from its continuous unfolding —

Read: Architect Steven Holl on his design for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

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