Latest Articles


Alejandro Diaz’s funny money problems at RISD

Outside the entrance to the RISD Museum, a sign — the sort of blinking arrow sign typical of used car dealerships — promises a "Naked artist inside."
‘Business’ as unusual
By GREG COOK  |  January 11, 2013

RISD carves up history’s silent witnesses

Dale Broholm was touring the Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg a few years ago when his friend, a former historian with the National Parks Service, described a landscape project that involved clearing trees.
Wood Shop
By PHILIP EIL  |  September 07, 2012

Review: Plum Pt. Bistro

Plum Pt., the new eatery in Saunderstown, is definitely designed as a bistro, as was emphasized by our server, who noted that such places are intended to be noisy to provide the kind of bustling "energy" that attracts hip, young diners.
The Contes do it well again
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 07, 2012

The ‘2012 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition’

The star, literally, of the "2012 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition," the school's annual showcase of its graduating graduate student talent at the Rhode Island Convention Center is James Franco.
Stars on parade
By GREG COOK  |  May 25, 2012

Making the RISD Museum sizzle

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is one of New England's — and America's — most underappreciated and underperforming cultural treasures.
Can new director John W. Smith polish Providence's hidden gem?
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 04, 2012

Cirque de Ville will go over the top at the Dorrance

It doesn't take a particularly agile imagination to step back in time at the Dorrance, the restaurant and bar that opened in the old Union Trust bank building downtown last fall. The marble floors, the high ceilings, the stained-glass windows — they all
Three-Ring Dept.
By PHILIP EIL  |  February 24, 2012


Andre returns to College Hill

If you found yourself on Benefit Street this past Monday, you could have been forgiven for wondering if Providence's own rascal king had made a stunning return to politics: there, behind the First Baptist Church, was a large "Re-Elect Cianci" billboard.
Propaganda Dept.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  February 17, 2012

RISD’s hockey team turns the dick joke into high art — OK, low art

The third period has just begun and the Nads, the Rhode Island School of Design's club hockey team, is losing 2-0 to a squad from Emerson College.
Go Nads!
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  February 17, 2012

‘Taoist Gods’ and ‘Immortals’ at Brown and RISD

As China marked the beginning of the Year of the Dragon with lion and dragon dances and fireworks last week, Brown University's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology was debuting "Taoist Gods from China: Ceremonial Paintings from the Mien".
The language of aesthetics
By GREG COOK  |  February 03, 2012

Britannia rules at RISD’s “Made In the UK”

"Made In the UK: Contemporary Art from the Richard Brown Baker Collection," a survey of post-World War II British art at the RISD Museum (224 Benefit Street, Providence, through January 8), arrives as British artists are the top of the pops.
Top of the pops
By GREG COOK  |  October 07, 2011

A British invasion and the local hall of fame

The art season follows the school year.
Autumn offerings
By GREG COOK  |  September 16, 2011

Tips for young artists

This region of the country is, and always has been, a magnet for artists. If I spent some time thinking about why this is the case, I could probably conjure up a few convincing theories. But that's not my purpose today.
Express your self; bus fumes; bands behind bars
By RUDY CHEEKS  |  July 15, 2011

Review: ''Remember the Ladies'' at the Newport Art Museum

Rhode Island is one of the preeminent places for art-making in America, thanks in great part to the Rhode Island School of Design, but what would it be without its pioneering women?
Women's work
By GREG COOK  |  July 08, 2011

Review: ''Among the Breakage'' scratches the surface at Bell Gallery

Over the past dec-ade, Providence art has been known for its visionary printmaking and graphics, crafty constructions, and funhouse installations, but local painting has tended to operate out of the limelight.
An incomplete picture
By GREG COOK  |  July 01, 2011

Do the funky pot roast! The triumphant (three-night only) return of the Young Adults

The shorter gent was balding, hirsute, and on the plump side. While bellowing lyrics about Broderick Crawford's machismo and the joys of being a carnivore, he occasionally wore a "brain hat" and was dolled up in a form-fitting muumuu.
Still complex after all these years
By JIM MACNIE  |  May 27, 2011

Review: ''The 2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition''

Walking into the "2011 RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition" at the Rhode Island Convention Center (1 Sabin Street, Providence, through June 4), you can't miss Laura Swanson's Homemade Bull .
Hello, we must be going
By GREG COOK  |  May 27, 2011


Firehouse 13 gets a facelift

The walls of the Firehouse 13 cultural center are a deep red now, split by a long, white stripe on the northeast wall, with a bit of black below.
Rock Dept.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 22, 2011

Review: ''Tradition, Trauma, Transformation'' at Bell Gallery

One of the medieval legends of India is the tale of the star-crossed lovers Sohni, the daughter of a potter, and Mahiwal, a traveling trader.
Images of India
By GREG COOK  |  April 15, 2011

Using art to transform the Harvard Museum of Natural History — for one night

While visiting Berlin's Museum Für Naturkunde, Boston architect Lisa Haber-Thomson felt a pang for a simpler era.
Animal house
By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  April 01, 2011

At RISD: Art, science, and what's wrong with ATMs

Among the most prominent solutions offered up for our present economic malaise and the broader decline of the republic: a robust investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  January 21, 2011

Angel Taveras on design, technology — and his theme song

With the New Year rapidly approaching, Providence's mayor-elect Angel Taveras has been busy assembling a ginormous transition team and fending off a small army of job-seekers.
Urban Affairs
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  December 03, 2010


Review: Umberto Crenca's introspective retrospective at AS220

If you've been around the Providence art scene very long, you've surely heard the story. In the early 1980s, Umberto Crenca exhibited at the Antonio Dattorro Studio Gallery and the Providence Journal panned his art as shallow and simplistic.
Trying to make sense of it all
By GREG COOK  |  November 19, 2010

Celebration of sensation

The Rhode Island School of Design’s “Annual Graduate Thesis Exhibition” typically has too many people doing too many different things for any common themes to emerge. But prominent installations in this year’s showcase at the Rhode Island Convention Cen
RISD’s ‘2010 Annual Graduate Thesis Exhibition’  
By GREG COOK  |  May 28, 2010

Nature studies

“A bird feeder,” Hamilton writes in her artist statement, “creates an intensified microcosm of the trials and hardships of avian existence.”
New works by Catherine Hamilton and Susan Twaddell
By GREG COOK  |  May 07, 2010

Now playing — RISD: The Musical!

We all know RISD students like to paint and draw, but can they hoof it? Or belt out a show tune and carry a giant pencil at the same time? Well, yes, it turns out.
By ELIZABETH RAU  |  February 19, 2010

‘Wonderful Wickenden Street’ crumbles

At the end of Wickenden Street, just off the roadway, construction equipment stood guard over piles of steel and rubble: remnants of an old Route 195 overpass taken down over the last month or so as part of a larger effort to shift the highway.
Art Dept.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  February 12, 2010


Sexy and saucy

It's just before 9 pm on a frigid Saturday, and the basement-turned-green room of the Perishable Theatre in Providence is positively swarming.
Glitter, body paint, and the burlesque revival
By ELLEN CUSHING  |  January 15, 2010

More closings and a question: Can galleries survive here?

More closings and a question: Can galleries survive here?
The Arts
By GREG COOK  |  December 18, 2009

Wild about Harry

What I want to do — what most photographers want to do — is write Harry Callahan a love letter. At the very least, he deserves an elaborate thank-you note for innovating or validating 80 percent of the successful photographs we ever took.
Trailblazing along a narrow path
By CLIF GARBODEN  |  December 11, 2009

A ’stache grows in Providence

Beards are easy. Almost any guy can grow some scruff, and in some circles, it's almost de rigueur. But a mustache — that takes work, and it takes guts. A mustache is bold.
Sex Confident Dept.
By MARION DAVIS  |  November 20, 2009