Museums

Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran (Art New England)

The Fleming Museum, University of Vermont • Burlington, VT • www.uvm.edu/fleming • Through May 20, 2012

Ahmad Nateghi, Untitled, 1998

By turns abstract, edgy, and haunting, the photographs in Persian Visions: Contemporary Photographs from Iran fully transcend the geographic boundaries imposed by the exhibition title. These are not the images that have flashed across American television screens for the past ten years; they’re far subtler than that, muting everyday violence with digital multimedia, blurred focus, and the ever-present veil motif.

Subject matter simmers just beneath the surface, at times brought to a rolling boil by Fleming curator Aimee Marcereau DeGalan’s decision to juxtapose the contemporary prints of the traveling exhibition (toured by International Art & Artists, Washington, D.C.) with nineteenth-century photographs of the Middle East in a complementary show.

Digitizing a Treasury of Objects at the Fleming Museum (Seven Days)

Originally appeared in the print version of Seven Days on Dec. 14, 2011.

Nicola Astles, Margaret Tamulonis, Aimee Marcereau DeGalan

Janie Cohen walks through the stacks on the top floor of the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art, running a finger along the shelves and pointing out favorites. Ancient Native American pottery shares a shelf with pre-Columbian artifacts, which perch next to small-scale European sculpture. Cohen, the museum’s executive director, stops to point out a tattered-looking collection of maps created by Napoleon and his troops, then continues down to the end where the paintings hang. A nearby table displays smoking apparatuses, under consideration for a winter exhibition; a row of hunting spears hangs above a drawer full of Native American beadwork.

This area of the museum — where the Fleming keeps its treasures — is generally off limits to visitors. It’s one of three on-site storage vaults, and it’s crammed with objects dating from 3500 BC to the present day. Cohen knows them all. Visitors, even regular ones, probably haven’t seen a quarter of the collection.