GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen joins Morning Edition to discuss arts and culture news in and around Boston. This week, a production at the newly renovated Huntington Theatre and artist Rosamond Purcell's innovative photography at the Addison Gallery of American Art.
“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
Now playing at the Huntington Theatre through Nov. 13
Newly renovated after more than 900 days of closures, The Huntington Theatre, known as one of the country's first civic playhouses, has reopened with “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Playwright August Wilson “considered the Huntington one of his artistic homes,” Bowen explains — the play actually opened the Huntington’s fifth season in 1986.
The play follows protagonist Herald Loomis as he looks for his lost wife while rediscovering his heritage. Arriving at a boardinghouse in 1911 with his daughter, Loomis is a sort of “hulking figure” who other characters describe as “a man who forgot his song.” James Ricardo Milord, who plays Loomis in the Huntington’s production, gives a performance that is “so captivating and really, really beautiful.” Even long after the curtain closes, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” is a production that lingers in audiences’ minds.
Rosamond Purcell: Nature Stands Aside
Now on view at the Addison Gallery of American Art through Dec. 31
Bowen calls this free art gallery in Andover “great in what they present and how they bring people to the fore” who have been otherwise overlooked by history. This latest exhibition features Cambridge-based artist Rosamond Purcell, who has worked as a photographer for more than 50 years after getting a camera from her husband in the 1960s. In the last half century as an artist, Purcell has innovated the field of photo manipulation, starting long before digital imaging simplified the process. Purcell’s work is so influential that she was commissioned by the Folger Library to create photographic renditions of Shakespearean sonnets; using mercury glass, Purcell “conjure[d] up these ethereal notions of Shakespeare” to completely reimagine the works in new ways.
Working with layering, negatives and reflection, Purcell also explores natural history museums and the specimens and figures they have in their collections. Through Purcell’s work, everyday elements of nature are transformed: moths are made to look like fish, crabs resemble Egyptian scarabs and even minerals look like bird wings. Bowen says that Purcell is “somebody who really lifts up and marvels in things that have lost life” in ways that make viewers “look at them through a different light,” creating an insightful body of work that museumgoers can now experience for themselves.